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William Alfred Cable

Male 1879 - 1964  (85 years)


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  • Name William Alfred Cable  [1
    Gender Male 
    Born 23 June 1879  Albion St, Waverley, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Died 23 July 1964  Campsie, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Buried after 23 July 1964  Waverley Cemetery, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Person ID I67488  Clan Moffat Genealogy
    Last Modified 9 March 2007 

    Family/Spouse Mary Ann Moffatt,   b. 6 November 1888, Pill Farm, Lostwithiel, Cornwall, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 13 July 1978, Campsie, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 89 years) 
    Married 22 November 1907  Sydney, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Notes 
    • Married 1907 Registration No 9732
    Children 
     1. Louie Elizabeth Cable,   b. 1908, Balmain South, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1 January 1947  (Age 39 years)
     2. John Alfred Cable,   b. 29 March 1910, Waverley, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 6 April 2005, Nursing Home, Gordon, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 95 years)
     3. Kathleen Eva Cable,   b. 3 April 1912, Waverley, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location
     4. Dorothy M Cable,   b. 1 June 1914, Campsie, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location
     5. Jean Lillian Cable,   b. 23 April 1916, Campsie, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 20 August 1963, Camperdown, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 47 years)
     6. Robert Arthur Cable,   b. 31 October 1919,   d. 28 October 1994, Campsie, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 74 years)
     7. Living
     8. Living
     9. Raymond Cable,   b. 1926,   d. 1927, Canterbury, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 1 years)
     10. Living
     11. Living
     12. Philip Moffatt Cable,   b. 1932, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 9 April 1980, Carlton, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 48 years)
    Family ID F47207  Family Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • William Alfred usually known as Alfred was brought up in Waverley. He was a very short man consequently he worked as a jockey and worked as a laundryman for 37 years.

      He joined the army Private William Alfred, Regimental No. 4277, served in the 58th Battalion 1st AIF in First World War. He enlisted on 11 September 1916 and returned 8th November 1918. He served in the Somme Region of France.

      While Alfred was at war his family of 5 children and his wife Mary moved back to Little Coogee to be near the Cable Family.

      A History of the War Alfred took part in:

      The Australian army, while similar to the other armies of the world during World War One had two major differences that would set it apart from other armies of that era. During the war it was to remain the only volunteer force involved in the fighting and it was an army that fostered initiative among the members of the force.

      The British soldier had trouble understanding them. They had never seen soldiers of such size, nor with such outlandish disregard for the traditional essentials of soldiering. The Tommy stood in awe of the officer class, and in the seething streets arms went like windmills in salute of each and every one. But the Australians almost uniformly refused to recognise British Officers in this way, and had scant regard for their own when off duty.

      By mid 1916 there were over 100,000 Australian and New Zealand troops in France. The first batch, members of the 2nd Division had began to arrive in March and were posted around Armentieres. The Australian troops loved France and it seemed that the French people loved them.

      The Australian forces in France had been expanded to four divisions, the first, second, fourth and fifth. The third division, under the command of Lieutenant General John Monash was still training in England.

      Alfred served in the Somme campaign which commenced in July 1916, three of the Australian Divisions were given the task of taking Pozieres. The 5th Division was to undertake a diversionary attack on Fromelles, not far from Armentieres. The 5th Division, flanked by the British 61st Division, penetrated the German lines but when the 61st Divisions attack faltered and the Australians were almost cut off. That night the battlefield at Fromelles was to become a slaughterhouse. The 5th Division almost ceased to exist, taking over 5,500 casualties in a single night.

      To the south were the three remaining Australian Divisions for the tactically important battle of Pozieres. Within a few days the Australians had advanced into this farming hamlet and controlled it key sectors. It was a great achievement and showed the quality of the newly arrived Australian forces.

      From then on till the end of August the Australians were to undertake some of the most terrible offensives of the war. Casualties for the AIF in July and August 1916 were 23,000 men. They had suffered more in six weeks than they had during the entire eight months of the Gallipoli campaign.

      When the were ordered back into the lines in October there was a belief that the High Command was asking more of them than they would have of a British Division. This was probably true, they were better soldiers and High Command knew it.

      The Australians had spent the winter of 1916-17 in the trenches near Gueudecourt in the Somme region. For men from the hot continent of Australia, they found winter to be unbearable. Many had never even seen snow before.

      During the winter the Germans had retreated to the Hindenburg Line, a series of deep trenches covered by concrete pillboxes and immense belt of barbed wire. As part of the major assaults 1 ANZAC Corps was selected to attack the line and take the fortified village of Bullecourt.

      At the end of May the Australians were withdrawn for its longest rest of the war. By this stage they had very little nice to say in regards to the quality of the British High Command.

      The 3rd Division, having just arrived from England where it had been training, was next thrown into the fray at Messines. Messines was an important victory for the combined British force. It also enabled Haig to proceed with his planned offensive, the Third Battle of Ypres.

      The Australians missed the opening round of the Third Battle of Ypres. They had just been given four months of rest and retraining, their numbers had been replaced and they were ready to go. In late July I ANZAC Corps was moved to GHQ reserve in Flanders in preparation for the later stages of the offensive.

      In September I ANZAC Corps went forward to join II Anzac Corps. Success came at Polygon Wood, Menin Road and Broodseinde. On 4 October when the forces reached Passchendaele it looked like victory was possible. The objectives seemed possible and German resistance appeared to be failing.

      Then came the rains, turning the entire battlefield into quagmire. But still the 3rd Division was ordered to take Passchendaele. They failed and the Canadians finally took Passchendaele in early November. The entire offensive had cost over 38,000 Australian casualties.

      The second Australian Victoria Cross at Bullecourt went to Lieutenant Rupert Moon, of the 58th Battalion, 5th Division. On 12 May the 58th Battalion was to support the British 7th Division by attacking German positions. Moon's duty was to capture a pillbox and the young officer led a charge of his platoon.

      Wounded in the face he went on, calling to his platoon, 'Come on boys! Don't turn me down!' Driven out of their strong point, the Germans retreated into a trench. Moon brought a Lewis-gun crew to enfilade the trench and forced the Germans back. Now wounded in the shoulder, Moon followed them but enemy bombs compelled him to find shelter. Ordering some of his men to shower the Germans with grenades, he led the others in a charge, during which he was wounded in the leg and foot. The surviving Germans dived into a dugout where Moon's small party kept them at rifle point until more Diggers came up. They captured 186 Germans from these dugouts. With German snipers now active, Moon withdrew a short distance and ordered his men to dig in.

      As he peered over the edge of a cutting to locate the next enemy position he was again wounded. This time his jaw was broken and his face mutilated. Making light of his injuries, Moon saw his men securely in position before he allowed himself to be helped to the rear.

      Alfred was part of this Battalion whether he was part of this battle it is not clear, but it gives and insight into the conditions the soldiers had to endure.

      My memories of Grand Pop are from the eyes of a small child. My mother used to occasionally leave us at their house in Campsie to be babysat while she worked as a hairdresser in nearby Enfield. Grand pop used to tease my little sisters and tell them that had purple and green eyes which used to upset them. He used to take the coins, used as weights in my Nanna curtains, and give them to us to go to the corner shop to buy steam rollers. Nanna used to get very angry with him. He used to be given fruit jellies for Christmas which he used to share with his grandchildren. Alfred returned from War and moved his family back to Campsie, fathered another 7 children and lived a quite life with his wife until his death in 1964, aged 85. He was buried in Waverley Cemetery number 45. [1]

  • Sources 
    1. [S897] GEDCOM file from “Thomas Egbert Moffatt's Family3.FTW”, from Kathy Jackson.


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