Thursday, April 21, 2016

Dorothy's war

With ANZAC Day approaching I thought I'd write about my grandmother, Dorothy Wyllie.

Dorothy was a teenager, a young woman, at the start of World War 1. She lived with her parents in rural Victoria at South Ecklin near Cobden and she had a lot of relatives in Western Victoria as well, her mother's siblings and their families.

In 1916 Dorothy married Allan Wyllie and moved to the Wimmera area of Victoria where Allan was a farmer.

Dorothy Wyllie nee Taylor
So how is this relevant to ANZAC Day? Dorothy didn't go to war but a lot of her relatives did. Some came home, some came home injured, some didn't come home. She, and many other women like her, waited at home, worried, wrote letters, joined the Red Cross and organised packages to send overseas and ran a home and raised her family on the farm.

This is a long list of Dorothy's close relatives who served in World War 1 and World War 2.

World War 1

Brother: James William (Bill) Taylor. Bill served in 2nd Australian Machine Gun Battalion in France and returned to Australia 1919.

Brother: David Edgar Taylor. David served on Gallipoli and France and was killed in action at Pozieres, France 5 Aug 1916.

Brother-in-law: William Angus Wyllie. Angus served in the Middle East then France with the 58th Battalion. He was wounded in action and sent to England for treatment to a gunshot wound in his shoulder. He rejoined his unit in France, was wounded a second time and again sent to England. He returned to Australia 1919.

Cousin: Francis George Brown was a private in the 9th Light Horse. Served in Gallipoli, France (wounded in action) and the Middle East. Returned to Australia 1919 an invalid. Two half-brothers (Jack and Gordon) also served.

Cousin: John Henry (Jack) Brown. Jack was a private in the 60th Battalion and served at Gallipoli and in France. He was killed in action at Fleurbaix, France on 19 July 1916.

Cousin: Lindsay Gordon (Gordon) Brown, Jack's brother. Gordon enlisted under a false name using his mother's surname, Cooper. He was a private in the 29th Battalion and served in France. He died in France of influenza on 27 November 1918, just after the war ended.

Cousin: William Herbert Maskell. A private in the 14th Battalion. He enlisted in 1914, served in Gallipoli and the Middle before being transferred to France. He was sent to England suffering from shell shock and was sent home to Australia in 1917 an invalid. He was Mentioned is Despatches for bravery at Pozieres, France in August 1916.

Cousin: Stanley Gordon Maskell, William's brother. Stan was a private in the 58th Battalion. He served in France and was wounded in action (gassed), wounded a second time (gunshot wound to a knee). After being transferred to a hospital in England he was invalided home to Australia in 1918.

Cousin: John James (Jack) Brown. Jack was a private in the 38th Battalion and served in France. He suffered from trench feet and was eventually sent back to England to recuperate and take furlough before returning to France. He was shot in the arm and was sent back to hospital in England. He was sent back to Australia as an invalid.

World War 2

Brother: Leonard Allen (Allen) Taylor. Allen was a sapper in the 2/16 Army Field Company and served in the Middle East and Asia.

Son: James William Wyllie. Jim served in the Middle East and South-east Asia with the 2/1st Battalion in northern Africa and the south-west Pacific.

Son: Angus John Wyllie. Angus served as a Corporal in the 101st Motor Regiment before volunteering to transfer to the 'Z' Special Force for covert operations in New Guinea and the Indonesian islands. He specialised in communication. Invalided to Australia with tropical dermatitis.

Brother-in-law: Charles William Fraser. He was a Corporal in the RAAF, a motor cycle driver. He served in Darwin.

Cousin: David Edgar Brown

Cousin: Geoffrey William Brown. Geoffrey was a Private in the 2/21st Infantry Battalion, captured and held as a Prisoner of War on Ambon. He was executed (beheaded) there in 1942.

Cousin's husband: William Harry Tasman (Bill) WHITBREAD. Bill was a Corporal  in the 2/29th Aust. Inf. Batt. POW on Burma-Siam Railway.

Cousin's husband: Albert William Hampson

Cousin's husband: David Llewellyn Roberts. In the 2/3rd Infantry Battalion. Served in Greece. Captured in Crete. Prisoner of war at Stalag Hammelburg 13C (XIIIC), working on railways. Flown to UK 10 Apr 1945 and returned to Australia in May 1945.

And, as well, several family members including her brother-in-law Angus Wyllie, served in the Citizen Military Force for the duration of the second World War.


  1. This is a great way to look at war Lorraine. With all those men in the family listed we can see all the worrying and waiting and picking up of pieces Dorothy had to do. What a terrible burden the women at home had.

  2. A great take on the war Lorraine. So tough on the women to see so many of their family come home as invalids, or not return at all.


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