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Edwin Smart Maconachie (1885-1949)


Sunderland born wounded in action with the AIF in France


Pastry chef, Edwin Smart Maconachie had been with his unit in Belgium for just three months when he was badly wounded in action and had to be invalided out of the Australian Imperial Force (AIF).

Edwin was born on 14 July 1885, in Sunderland. His parents, James Souter Maconachie (or Maconkie in early censuses) and Emma Rathbourne, had a basket weaving company, originally set up by Emma’s father, Charles Rathbourne, who lived with them when his wife died. In addition, there were 12 children in the household. Edwin was the seventh child.

Edwin trained as a baker/pastry chef and left the family home to work in London but on 19 August 1911 he arrived in Sydney on board the “Gracchus” in the company of two other bakers, to start a new life in Australia. He moved on to Queensland where he was working as a pastry chef when he enlisted in the Australian Army in Brisbane on 21 August 1916, joining “C” Company on the 26th Battalion, AIF, as a private.

After basic training, Edwin embarked from Sydney for Europe on 23 December 1916 and arrived in Plymouth on 3 March 1917. Further training was undertaken in England before Edwin finally went to France on 23 July. He joined his battalion on 9 August as it moved north to Belgium and the Ypres Salient.

Edwin survived the battle of Menin Road in late September but was not so lucky when his battalion was again thrown into the attack at Brooseinde Ridge on 4 October. He received a wound to his thigh, which proved to be his “Blighty” ticket and the end of his war.

On 13 October, he was transferred back to England, to Birmingham War Hospital and two months later, was sufficiently recovered to go on leave for two weeks over the New Year. However, he overstayed his leave by two days and was charged with being absent without leave (AWOL). Edwin pleaded not guilty, claiming he had been too ill to travel on is return date; his excuse was accepted. He returned to Australia on 25 April, to be discharged from the army on medical grounds on 10 July 1918.

Edwin was granted a war pension of 30 shillings per fortnight for his injuries.

The following year, Edwin married Ivy Daphne Pearson in Armadale, New South Wales (NSW), and the couple had six children together, though sadly, their eldest did not survive the first year of life. They remained in New South Wales where Edwin eventually owned his own business: the “Southern Bakery and Cafe” in Nowra, NSW.

Ivy died in 1931 but Edwin survived another 18 years; he died on 29 January 1949, in Newton, NSW.

Civil Parish: Sunderland

Birth date: 14-Jul-1885

Death date: 29-Jan-1949

Armed force/civilian: Army

Residence: 46 Cairo Street, Hendon, Sunderland (ecclesiastical parish of St Barnabas 1891 census)
33 William Street, Hampstead Road, London NW (1911 census)
23 Brisbane Street, Tamworth, New South Wales (19360-35 electoral rolls)

Employment: Baker/pastry chef

Family: Parents: James Souter Maconachie (1849-1908), Emma Maconachie (nee Rathbone 1850-1908 born in Dewsbury, West Yorks)
Siblings: Mary Maconachie (b 1872), Nellie Maconachie (b1874), Emma Maconachie (1875-1900), John Maconachie (b 1878), Robert Maconachie (b 1882), Gilbert Maconachie (b 1883), Jessie Maconachie (b 1888), Ethel Maconachie (b 1890), Rachel Maconachie (b 1891), George Maconachie (b 1894), Donald Maconachie b 1896)
Wife: Ivy Daphne Maconachie (nee Pearson 1894-1931 married 1913 in Armadale, NSW)
Children: David Maconachie (1920-20), Judith Maconachie (1921-1998), Mark Maconachie 1922-1985), John Ross Maconachie (1929-1987), Mary Maconachie, Thea Maconachie

Military service:

Service Number 4165
Private
"C" Company, 18th Reinforcements of 26th Battalion, AIF
Wounded in action 04-Oct-1917, discharged as medically unfit 10-Jul-1918

Medal(s): British War Medal
Victory Medal

Gender: Male

Contributed by Kelloe Visitor, Trimdon Station

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