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Five Gordon cricketers wounded at Pozieres - 100 years ago

Five Gordon cricketers wounded at Pozieres - 100 years ago

While the Battle of Fromelles was declared as the worst single day of fighting in Australian military history another battle in a different part of the Somme was about to become the worst battle in history over an extended period.

As the news of the disaster at Fromelles was probably making its way to Pozieres, there were six Gordon cricketers waiting their turn to experience the horrors of fighting against the German juggernaut. The Gordon cricketers were part of the 1st, 2nd and 4th Divisions, and had been sent to the area around the village of Pozières in the southern region of the Somme.

Captain Claude Tozer

Two of them, George Swan and Dr Claude Tozer, had fought near the end of the Gallipoli campaign and were joined by four new recruits: Henry Dilling, George Wheatley, Alban George (Johnny) Moyes and Alister Maclean.

The village of Pozières, on the Albert–Bapaume road, was an important German defensive position. The fortified village was an outpost to the German second line which extended from beyond Mouquet Farm in the north, ran behind Pozières to the east, then south towards the Bazentin ridge and the villages of Bazentin le Petit and Longueval.

While this area had a long history of British involvement going back to the start of the war, the Australian 1st, 2nd and 4th divisions had been brought in to reinforce the efforts of the Allied forces in this region. The plan called for the Australian 1st Division to attack Pozières from the south, advancing in three stages half an hour apart, with support from a British division west of the village. The Australian 1st and 3rd Brigades, which included the 12th Battalion, began their offensive at 12.30am on 23 July with their goal being the German trenches to the south of the village. The second stage, later that day, was to advance to the edge of the village and then to bring the Australian line to the main road of the town.

An advanced dressing station at Pozieres

After Gallipoli, Captain Dr Claude Tozer had been transferred to the 12th Battalion as the Chief Medical Officer, and while the field ambulance tents were intended to be mainly behind the line, the reality was that there was no definitive line in these massive battles and the medical officers often found themselves in the heart of the fighting.

On 24 July, while the battalion was trying to hold the village, Claude was seriously wounded. While tending to his men, he was hit in the head and leg by gunshot and fell unconscious. Fortunately being close to other medical staff, he was removed quickly to the nearest field hospital. Claude remained unconscious for two days before being transported first to Étaples for further treatment and then in mid-August to the 3rd London General Hospital. The gunshot fragment had entered just above his left eye, passed into the right temporal lobe of the brain and lodged near the skin. His leg wound was in the popliteal space behind his right knee where another fragment had lodged. Somehow Claude survived the ordeal, and remained in hospital until December.

While a lot has been written about the untimely death of Claude, shot by a distressed Dorothy Mort in December 1920, not enough is acknowledged about his role as a doctor, surgeon and soldier throughout the war. Claude served from the Gallipoli campaign through to the end of the war receiving several commendations including a ‘Distinguished Service Order’ for his bravery and medical service in some of the worst conditions imaginable.

After three days of counter attacks by the Germans, the 1st Division was relieved by the 2nd division on 27 July, but not before suffering 5,285 casualties. It was now the 2nd Division’s task to continue to hold the positions gained and then to advance further into German territory.

Henry Ayres Dilling was a twenty-five year old theatrical treasurer who lived with his parents at Kialama in Mowbray Road, Chatswood, and had played for the Gordon Third Grade team in the 1913-14 season. Henry’s role was to provide support for the engineers building the trenches and while making his way into the middle of No Man’s Land that night, Henry was hit in the back leaving him with shrapnel wounds. Bravely, he continued to provide support for his fellow diggers but on his return to the main battalion, while obviously in pain, was removed and transported to the 1st Australian General Hospital in Rouen.

George Wheatley

George Wheatley, a bricklayer by trade who lived in Fitzroy Street, Milson’s Point, had enlisted in the 7th Field Company Engineers. He had joined the cricket club for the 1913-14 season and played eleven games in First Grade scoring 252 runs. In the 1914-15 season, he played sixteen games in First Grade and scored 357 runs including a score of 106. In addition to his cricket, George also played First Grade Rugby League with Balmain and North Sydney in the 1913 and 1914 seasons. Like so many others, his sporting endeavours were curtailed when he sailed for England in December 1915.

Like his fellow soldiers in the 2nd Division, the Battle of Pozières was his first major action of the war. George was part of the No.4 section of his company and, as a sapper, was designated to designing and building the trenches within the lines of the 2nd division as close as he could to the German lines.

His company diary notes indicate that George and his group were responsible for a range of trenches in the vicinity of the village of Pozières. They started digging trenches and communication lines on 27 July while under constant fire which continued for a further ten days. While George survived Pozieres he fell very ill during the freezing winter a few months later in Flers and was sent to the 1st Australian General Hospital in Rouen where he met his wife to be, Germaine Hertel. George and Germaine were married in October 1918 and returned to Sydney in December 1919 with their son Max. George went on to build a fine career with Balmain and after his cricket he worked for a number of years as a groundsman for the club.

The 2nd division remained fighting at Pozières until 6 August, when it was finally relieved by the Australian 4th Division. This included taking further German positions beyond the village. The 2nd division had suffered 6,848 casualties during this nine day period.

It was now the turn of the 4th Division to take over the front line fighting and they included the 47th and 48th Battalions and the 13th Field Company Engineers.

Johnnie Moyes

Within the 48th Battalion was a well-known cricketer, Lieutenant Alban George Moyes, known to his mates as Johnnie. Young Alban had a brother and father named John and apparently he disliked his name so much he asked to be called Johnnie.

Johnnie was a batsman who played for South Australia in the 1912-13 and 1913-14 seasons scoring 883 runs with a highest score of 104 against Western Australia. He was considered good enough to be selected for the Australian tour of South Africa in 1914 but the tour was cancelled due to the outbreak of the war.

Johnnie played for a Rest of Australia team in 1914 against NSW and Victor Trumper was so impressed by this young cricketer that he invited him to play for Gordon as a guest in a club match. The spectators didn’t get to see much of their special guest as he was out first ball. He was one of the several cricketers who joined Gordon on a full time basis after the war.

He also went on to become a famous ABC commentator until his death in 1962. Johnnie had enlisted from South Australia in July 1915 and had sailed to Egypt in January 1916. Cricket, however, would have been the furthest thing from his mind, when faced with the job as a second lieutenant to lead his men during this battle.

The trenches at Pozieres

The dairy notes of the 48th Battalion for 7 August read:

We suffered heavy casualties taking over, no trenches were constructed, the place being just one mass of craters. No communication trenches existed and attempts had been made to dig them, but they did not go beyond JUMPING OFF TRENCH in front of TRAMWAY TRENCH. It was about 400 yards over the open to get up rations and water, all wounded had to be carried back in the same way. Communication being kept up with runners. The battalion suffered heavy casualties during the night of August 5th and day of 6th. Although constant efforts were made to dig trenches they were almost immediately blown up by the enemy.

Johnnie, like so many of his fellow soldiers around him, was wounded on 6 August with a gunshot wound to his left knee, making him unable to walk. He was carried back through No Man’s Land by ambulance staff and was admitted to the 4th Australian Field Ambulance station.

At the same time as Johnnie Moyes was fighting with the 48th Battalion, George Swan was nearby within the 47th Battalion. At 2.30pm on 8 August, they commenced a relief operation to replace the 48th Battalion who were occupying the frontline just ahead of the Tramway Trench. The relief was carried out under constant bombardment by the enemy and again there were heavy casualties.

George Swan, after surviving unhurt during his stay at Gallipoli, was wounded with gunshot wounds to his left shoulder during the relief operation and was transported to the ambulance station. George was taken to the 13th Field Station Hospital in Boulogne where he remained until late September before re-joining his unit on 3 October 1916.

The final Gordon cricketer to see action at Pozières was Alister Grant Maclean. Alister was the older brother of Norman Maclean who fought with the Imperial Camel Corps, and was a civil engineer living in Gordon Road, Turramurra. He joined Gordon in its second season in 1906 at the age of twenty, but played only intermittently in First and Second Grade until 1909-10 when he played fifteen matches scoring 458 runs at 30.53, with a highest score of 140. That year the team came last in the premiership. In one of the more startling turn-arounds in Gordon history, he was then part of the 1910-11 First Grade team which won the premiership.

Alister Maclean

Alister would probably not have claimed an important part in that season’s success as he scored 28 runs at 4.66 in his seven matches. Possibly Victor Trumper and Charlie Macartney, playing together for the first time at Gordon for most of the season, may have had more impact. He was educated initially at Geelong College in Melbourne before moving to Sydney with his family and finished his schooling at Sydney Grammar School. Alister then completed a degree in engineering at the University of Sydney. He enlisted in July 1916 and was posted to France with the 4th Field Company Engineers. Alister was involved in digging out Mortar Battery positions at Pozières on 13 August, when under heavy shelling, he was hit in the right foot by a bomb. He was transported to the 2nd Australian General Hospital at Wimereux and remained there until 16 November when he re-joined his unit.

While Pozières did not equal Fromelles in the number of casualties in one day, it certainly was the most destructive single battle the Australians ever faced. Over a period of forty-two days, the Australians made nineteen attacks with sixteen of them at night, and the casualties in the end reached 23,000 men with 6,800 killed.

For the Gordon cricketers exposed to the fighting at Pozières, the experience was simply horrendous. The battlefield became a roller coaster ride of attacks and counter attacks, all containing shelling which would destroy the landscape as well as the men on it. The fighting was wild and at times uncontrolled. It was almost better to get injured so you could leave the place and get a rest. This seemed to be the only way to avoid being killed. The physical and mental strain on the troops was more than any sane man could take. They were all courageous but courage didn’t help you survive; it was simply luck. Five of the six Gordon cricketers were wounded at Pozieres. They were the lucky ones.

The heart of Australia’s youth was taken on the battlefields of Fromelles and Pozières. It would take generations to replace them. After 100 years we commend the Gordon cricketers who didn’t take a backward step against an overwhelming opponent. While not pretending to compare war and cricket, in their minds they went to Europe to defend the Australian way of life, which included their love of the great game, and they left a legacy of bravery and commitment that today we can only admire and importantly never forget.

I would have liked to have met these men.

Paul Stephenson

GDCC Academy
Notice of GDCC Annual General Meeting

Notice of GDCC Annual General Meeting

Notice is hereby given that the One Hundred and Eleventh Annual General Meeting of the Gordon District Cricket Club Inc. will be held at the Killara Golf Club, 556 Pacific Highway, Killara on Monday 25th July, 2016, commencing at 7.00pm

You are cordially invited to be present.

A copy of the Annual Report may be downloaded from here. GDCC Annual Report 2015-16.

Nominations are called for the following Club positions:







Written nominations must be received by the Honorary Secretary on or before 11th July, 2016. Nominations should be proposed and seconded by current members and consent should be obtained from the nominee.

The Agenda items for the meeting will include:

  • Approval of the Minutes of the previous Annual General Meeting
  • Approval of the Report of the General Committee and the Financial Statement
  • Election of Office Bearers
  • Election of the Club’s Auditor for 2016-17
  • General Business

By order of the General Committee

R. James Cattlin

Honorary Secretary

Please note:

  1. Finger food will be available prior to the start of the meeting and drinks may be purchased from the bar throughout the evening.
  2. The Annual Report for 2015-16 may be viewed or downloaded from the GDCC website.
  3. Should you wish to receive a hard copy of the Report and/or register your apology for the meeting, please complete the following and mail, email or fax to the Honorary Secretary [Mail: PO Box 379, Roseville, 2069, Email:,

Fax: (02)99830875]

Name: _________________________________________________________

Mailing Address:         _____________________________________________


Please post me a hard copy of the Annual Report     [           ]

Please register my apology for the AGM                   [           ]





A deep English summer for our tourists

A deep English summer for our tourists

There are currently 6 Gordon members playing overseas during our off-season, plus 2 new players in Darwin and Chad playing for PNG. There's no better way for a cricket lover to spend an offseason than by playing cricket elsewhere. 

1) Tym Crawford: is playing at Formby CC in Liverpool (Merseyside) - Lancashire County. Tym is in dynamic form, scoring 534 runs in 17 innings @ 38 average, with a top score of 80, plus a 76no and 41. In the process he has belted 71 fours and 8 sixers. Tym is also excelling at his bowling, with 146 overs and taking 28w@17, with a best of 5-38, plus 4-43 and 3-50. 

This excellent all-round performance really augurs well for our grade season. Formby is apparently in one of the strongest Leagues in the Country.

2) Daniel Smith: is playing at Lordswood CC in Chatham – Kent County. Dan has started cautiously with his club - in 11 games scoring only 85 runs at 21 av - and bowling 49 overs for 6w@39 with a best of 3-34 wicket. He has now also been invited to play for Hampshire 2nd XI (Will Smith’s club) and in a good indication of the better he performs as the competition gets stronger, he took 3-22 off 8 overs in his first game. 

He has also played for the Kent 2nd XI again however the terrible weather has already washed out the first 3 games.  Dan has since scored 54 in 4 knocks and no wickets for 57 off 10 overs. Also bagged 3 wickets in a Hampshire side against the Pakistani touring side. 

3) Liam McElduff: is playing at Winscombe CC in Winscombe – Somerset County. Liam is in top form for the 1st X1; scoring 363 runs @ 39 av in his 11 matches, with a top score of 88. He has also hit 5 sixers, which Spratty would be proud of.

4) Charlie Booth: is playing for Cambridge Granta CC in Cambridge – Cambridgeshire. Charlie is also off to a great start in 10 games taking 20w at only 11 off 65 overs for the 2nd X1, with a best of 4-22 and scoring 132 runs @ 22 with a top score of 36 (and 34no), batting anywhere between No 3-6. He will love that and another to watch.

5) Matt Chamberlain: is playing at Easton & Martyr Worthy CC in Winchester – Hampshire. Matt is performing absolutely brilliantly; opening in the 1st X1 and in only 6 games has already scored 463 runs @ 93 av. He has now scored 2 tons – 144 and 114 (others 66no, 58, 51no), which is an incredible 46% of his team’s runs. He has also bowled 48 overs for 12w @ 12 av, with a best of 4-10. Another to closely watch and most importantly has now scored the two centuries.

6) Liam Windel: is playing at Brighton & Hove CC in Hove – Sussex County. Liam is carrying on a great tradition with the Barker – Brighton & Hove scholarship and has not let his predecessors down with a remarkable early season. Now playing in the 1st X1. In 12 innings Liam has scored 401 runs @ 36av, with a top score of yes 113, plus a 66 and 43. He is also opening the bowling with 84 overs for 16w@19 and a best of 3-26. 

7) Ash Doolan: (new player) Is a keeper plus mid order bat, who plays for the premier side Darwin. He has scored 359 runs at 33 av, with a top score of 60 and taken 5 catches and 3 stumpings. Ash will be an excellent acquisition to our Club this season.

8) Josh Doyle: (new player) Is a very promising top order bat and handy bowler, who has just turned 19yo. For Darwin in his 10 matches he has scored 357 runs at a remarkable average of 51, which included a 107, 81, 79 and 44no. He has also taken 4w @ 28 off 24 overs. With Darwin leading their comp, it is most likely that both Ash and Josh will return after their GF on 10-11th Sept.

9) Chadley Soper: is playing for PNG IN THE World Cricket League Championship Series. Chad starts again next month and will report as the results come in. Previously in the first sanctioned international match played in PNG, Chad opened the bowling against Kenya and took 5-27 off 9 overs and in the process became the first PNG player to take 5 wickets in PNG. They also won the 2nd game on the 28th May against Kenya, with Chad taking 1-45 off his 10 overs. Chad has had magnificent world-wide experience playing for PNG in 2015-16.

In June last year he played against the Netherlands in Amsterdam; then in Nov against Canada and Afghanistan; then in Feb this year played 4 games against Ireland in Townsville and in May 2 games against Kenya.


Player Application Form

Player Application Form

Harry EvansThinking of joining our great Gordon club for 2016/17? 

Are you interested in world class coaching to take your cricket to the next level? If so, please feel free to fill in the details below and submit the form to the GDCC if you feel you are capable of playing grade cricket in one of our teams this coming season. We will contact you shortly regarding your inquiry and when the first practice sessions will be. We look forward to having you on board this season.

With a number of sides going deep into the finals in the past few years, the club is looking forward to a strong and improved season in 2016/17 and a top 3 finish in the club championship.

There will be announcements soon regarding the continuation of our excellent coaches for the coming season and you can rest assured they will be the best batting and bowling coaches in the competition.

There are plenty of fantastic initiatives in place at the club. We have great playing facilities, top class grounds, a great club atmosphere both on and off the field. Take your time and have a look around the website to find out more information.

Scroll down to player application form below.


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on aggregate statistics and/or   
best performances etc.   

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Riboni Constructions
Great trip to Western Front - Trendsetter Travel

Great trip to Western Front - Trendsetter Travel

Luxury experience battlefield touring in France and Belgium where the Gordon greats fought 100 years earlier. Having read Paul Stephenson’s “A Cricket Club at War”, many Gordon players and supporters must have a yearning to walk where the 52 members of the club “toured” in WWI.  Gordon Club sponsor, Trendsetter Travel, has organised a tour outside of the cricket season in August 2017 where you can tour the Western Front in France and Belgium and include visits to the grave sites of Colin McCulloch, John Rule and Dr Gother Clarke.

These are the 3 Gordon players of the 7 that died during WWI and remain buried in France and Belgium.  You will also visit many of the battlefields where Gordon cricketers won gallantry awards including the Military Crosses of both Major Johnnie Moyes and Lieutenant Renshaw, both awarded during the Passchendale campaign in late 1917.  Renshaw won a 2nd Military Cross for fighting near Villers Bretonneux in August 2018.

Leave the crowds, poor food and basic hotels that typify peak season ANZAC Day ceremonies in France for a totally different, and more in-depth experience.

In August 2017, Trendsetter Travel & Cruise Centre’s battlefield tours division, Bespoke Battlefield Tours, is taking a small group tour to France. The benefits for you are all to do with timing – as this is not peak season in the area, you’ll enjoy staying at the best available hotels and dining at the leading restaurants in each town where service will be pleasant and unhurried.  Transport will be in a luxury Mercedes Sprinter mini bus.

All of the Western Front highlights, relevant to the ANZAC campaign are covered however we also include the retreat of the British forces in May/June 1940, the evacuation from Dunkirk, and the Normandy invasion beaches. All of this, including delectable French cuisine, a 3 nights stay in a charming French Chateau and a stylish start – a tasting tour of the world famous Moet & Chandon champagne house in Reims.

Your tour manager is Trendsetter’s Tour Director, David Cooper, a passionate military history enthusiast committed to ensuring a great time for all, particularly apres-touring!

A quote from Dr John Morrison, a recent participant on Bespoke Battlefield’s June 2016 Civil War tour was ““best organised tour I have ever been on – it ran like a Swiss watch”….

For further details refer our web page link:

Bespoke Battlefield Tours, offers several carefully crafted, small group military history tours. These include regular American Civil War Battlefields tours and a 14 night October 2016 tour covering the 1943/44 Italian campaign with time spent in Malta, Sicily and Southern Italy – ONE SPACE REMAINS ON THIS TOUR.  See  for further information on all our tours.

Or better still contact one of us.

Adrienne Witteman

Managing Director
Trendsetter Travel & Cruise Centre Pty Ltd

Ph 0413 010 639

David Cooper

Tour Director
Trendsetter Travel & Cruise Centre Pty Ltd
Ph 0413 010 638
Pre-season practice - 2016/17 program released

Pre-season practice - 2016/17 program released

The pre-season fitness sessions have been published on the website and now we can reveal the full pre-season program for 2016/17. There are a series of sessions at Riverview, before a number of trial games during September before the start of the season on Saturday 24th September.

The tentative pre-season program is as follows:

Fitness sessions from Sun 26th June until Sun 24th July - details in the following link:

Sun 31st July
@ Riverview College Outdoor synthetic nets (no sprigs) – College St South Lane Cove (off Riverview St). 1pm – 4.30pm.

NB: These nets are at the Junior School and not the nets we used last year.

To gain more quality time for a shorter session we will split the groups into:
Session 1: (1-3pm) all players that finished playing 4th grade and lower arrive for the earlier session
Session 2: (2.30 – 4.30pm) all players that finished playing 3rd grade and higher arrive for the later session

All new players please come to the earlier session, unless otherwise advised.

Sun 7th: as above

Sun 14th: as above

Sun 21st: as above

Sun 28th: as above

September Grade trial games: 

We will be playing more September trial games this season to enable all players to participate.

Sat 3rd & Sun 4th – A country trial game has been organised in the Cowra against a Western Colts team playing our U19 players

Sat 10th & Sun 11th - Internal grade trial games at Mandalong Oval, with lunch and BBQ supplied both days

Sat 10th & Sun 11th – 1st Grade squad travels to Tasmania to play Harry Evans Club

Sun 11th – Trial game against Charlestown – Details to be confirmed

Sat 17th – Trial game against Waratah/Mayfield in Newcastle

Sat 17th – Centre wicket and trial game 8.30am – 5pm Killara – TBC

Sun 18th – 1st Grade trial v Easts Killara 8.30am – 4.30pm – TBC

Sat 24th – Round 1 Grade starts.

NB: The September onwards practice wickets dates will be advised asap.

Friday 7th October - U21 side playing the Shore School at Northbridge in conjunction with the Green Shield match

Cheers Tony W – on behalf of the selectors

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