My British Grandfather, Henry (Harry) Eden Crout served with the “Canadian Expeditionary Force” in France, for the entirety of World War 1. He led the Regimental Band on the “Somme” and elsewhere in the collecting of bodies, burying the dead and sounding their “final salute”… too sad    😦
Will we ever stop the Warmongers, and their supporters, whom benefit from this carnage?


Musical Monday: Wake up my mind…

Badge. No conscripts to VietnamGrowing up in South Australia with all the horror of my brothers, their friends and mine threatened with the dreaded “lottery”… which could see them conscripted, at the age of 19, to go fight in Vietnam gave me a perspective which you can read about here.

Young people, at that time, gave voice to their opposition of government decisions which severely impacted on their  lives through music and song.  My children grew up to the sounds of “Songs of the Protest Era”and right now I can’t get one particular song out of my mind, given the way our Australian political situation is playing out right now.

Here it is…  Songs of the Protest Era

Here is the entire collection:

Songs of the Protest Era.2

Copyright © 2014. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel

MUSICAL MONDAY: The Digger’s Song

Ahhh… I’ve been going through quite a lot of emotional turmoil lately and the whole Remembrance Day bizzo, this year, has simply added to it. Music certainly is “balm for my soul” and I just about cracked up when chancing upon “The Digger’s Song” so am sharing in case you also need a spot of stress release…    😆

The notes on “YouTube” report:

“The diggers song also known as “Dinky Di”, this song, one of many to the tune “Villikins and his Dinah,” was probably first sung by Australian soldiers during the first World War, so it is hardly a “modern” song.

Bill Scott wrote the following notes in his compilation, “The Second Penguin Australian Songbook” (Penguin Books Australia, Ringwood, Victoria, 1980): I first heard this song during the Second World War, sung with great feeling by a soldier of the Sixth Division, who sang it as above, except that instead of using the first and second lines of the second verse, he sang:

The Digger then shot him a murderous look. He said, ‘I’m just back from that place called Tobruk.’

The song was not only sung during the first and second World Wars but it was updated to fit the settings of both the Korean and Vietnamese wars.”



Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel

Remembrance Day and remembering…

“On the 11th hour, of the 11th day of the 11th month… we will remember them”. 

Right now I’m remembering back when I was shooting down the shop to do some messages and mum reminded me to “keep my wits about me” because it was Remembrance Day and when it turned 11 o’clock I was to STOP what I was doing, bow my head and remember those who gave their all in the War.

Querulous me asked… “but how will I know if it’s 11 o’clock” for I had no watch.  “Just keep your wits about you Catherine”… I did and I knew it was “the time” because everything, and everyone, stopped and the silence was palpable.

Remembrance Day is indeed the time for remembering and finally the War Service of our Indigenous Australian’s has been recognised with the unveiling of our Nation’s first memorial, here in Adelaide, South Australia dedicated to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Servicemen, and Servicewomen  and  and my heart just about bursts with pride and happiness.

I also learn that the Boer War, more than 110 years ago, marked the first time Aboriginal soldiers served on active duty with Australian services and then remember another reason to be proud to be South Australian. It’s that magnificent statue in our C.B.D. at the corner of King William Street and North Terrace honouring the 12,000 Australians who served in the six colony contingents which was the first time Australians had served/ fought overseas but because it was before “Federation” has been largely overlooked. These soldiers were volunteers and mostly mounted units known as MOUNTED RIFLES, BUSHMEN or IMPERIAL BUSHMEN. In honour of the 600 who died the SOUTH AFRICA WAR MEMORIAL was unveiled, here in Adelaide, on 4 June 1904 by Governor Le Hunte.

“Your stature is a statue of action and it betokens the action of Empire when it is called for” 

Then sadness overtakes me as I remember those whose sacrifices certainly are not honoured, not respected and their memorials are moved and/ or destroyed. To read about this please follow this LINK.


Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel

Honouring our “Diggers”… can you help?

A request has come in which I’m most happy to pass on. Good luck with your research Tony Wege and I look forward to reading your book.



Is there anyone in Victoria, SA and WA who has any connection with the 2/AIF unit, the 2/4th Reserve Motor Transport Company?

This unit served in Malaya and Singapore from April 1941 until the fall of Singapore. Then most of its members became PoWs  (Prisoners of War). Some returned to Australia.

National Collection

I am researching and writing the unit’s history. It was raised in Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia in the period late February and March 1941. The whole unit left Fremantle on the 19th April 1941 for Singapore.

I am anxious to talk with anyone who has a connection with any member of the unit.

I can be contacted on 08 85622257 or email:
If anyone would care to write, please send your letter to Tony Wege. PO Box 408 Nuriootpa SA 5355


Thankyou to the Australian War Memorial for the photo of surviving 2/4th Reserve Motor Transport Company PoWs returning to Australia….



“THE Australian soldier returned, he made it home to me:
Beyond the joy, the twinkling in his eyes I could not see;
His eyes were full of darkness, twinkling there was no more;
The man I loved had not returned, it was only the soldier that I saw;
So confident and so brave, but something had gone wrong;
He left himself behind in that battlefield all alone;
Where is the man that I adore, for it is he I need;
Silent prayers have gone unanswered, please return to me;
I hold my breath and make a wish, for I know that he is trying;
Trying to leave his battlefield, a battlefield for the dying;
Waiting is what I will do, for eternity if need be,
Waiting for my love to return, return once more to me.”


Last ANZAC DAY I posted this haunting poem written by KRYSTI NEALE of Kapooka, New South Wales, Australia (born and raised in Semaphore, South Australia)…  Since then I have constantly wondered how life is now for her, her husband and family and continue to send much love and healing energy their way.

Last weekend the following article, by Ian Henschke, appeared in the SAWeekend section of the South Australian Advertiser which reminds us all that it is not only the dead and physically maimed members of the armed services we should be re-membering and honouring this ANZAC DAY, but also those carrying the horrific hidden injuries that were once called “Shell Shock” and “Battle Fatigue” but now carry the moniker of PTSD “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.” 

The High Price of War.2

IT READS:  (the emphasis is mine)

I’ll be co-commentator for the BC TV Anzac Day coverage again on Thursday morning. Every year we see fewer and fewer veterans. First the World War I Diggers thinned to just a lone marcher. Then there were none. The World War II ranks have been decimated too as they get their final marching orders. The bulk of the ex combatants this year will be from Vietnam and now they’re falling away as age wearies them.

It makes you wonder about the veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. I met a mother the other day whose son is a vet from the war on terror. He is now fighting his own war on terror. He is one of those from the bloody-roadside bomb-ridden conflicts who won’t march, not because of physical wounds, but because of psychological wounds.

Last Remembrance Day Major-General John Cantwell was in Adelaide to raise aware- ness of vets like that mother’s son who were suffering privately. He had just published his biography Exit Wounds. He’d enlisted as a private, gone up through the ranks, been on the front line in Iraq in 1991 and by 2006 had risen to be commander of the Australian forces in Afghanistan, but within a few years his world caved in.

Seeing enemy soldiers buried alive and a car bomb blow up a Baghdad marketplace crowded with women and children left haunting memories. His mind was filling with horror. And it kept filling. Ten of his soldiers were killed in 2010 in Afghanistan. He came home and was about to be promoted to the pinnacle of his military career when he ended up in a psychiatric hospital. We’d heard about the war trauma before but from not such a high-ranking-soldier.

Perhaps the most famous incident of a high-ranking officer confronting post-traumatic stress was 70 years ago when US General Patton had a brain snap in a military hospital. He wasn’t a patient but he showed the symptoms. He came across two of his fellow soldiers suffering from battle fatigue. He slapped them across the face, and verbally abused them. He kicked one of them and pulled out a pistol on the other and threatened to shoot him on the spot. He is reported to have said, “I won’t have those cowardly bastards hanging around our hospitals. We’ll probably have to shoot them some time anyway, or we’ll raise a breed of morons”.

Post-traumatic stress disorder was diagnosed as shell shock and war neurosis in World War I. It became battle fatigue in World War II. In 1943 at the very time General Patton ws thinking about how many “yellow bastards”  should be shot, the US military was frantically making secret training films to show their medical officers just how serious and real the issue was becoming. In one, now declassified, film they talk about the campaigns that Patton headed in North Africa and Italy where they were seeing up to 50 per cent of soldiers with some form of “battle fatigue”. 

Patton led an army that fought for 281 days straight from the landing in Normandy to the fall of Berlin. It ended up killing, wounding or capturing around one and a half million enemy. For its part, it sustained 140,000 casualties. The long term toll of PTSD is still debatable, but it is now recognised that up to a third of those in sustained fighting end up with some sort of psychological wound. It prompted the US military by the end of the war to come up with the slogan: “Every man has his breaking point”.

General Patton’s was when he broke his neck in a car accident on the way to a pheasant shoot near Speyer in Germany just before Christmas 1945. One of his last comments was: “This is a hell of a way to die.” He was buried in a war grave in Luxembourg alongside his men. This Anzac Day spare a thought, lest we forget, for those who won’t march because they have PTSD, and that’s a hell of a way to live.



When discussing his Book, EXIT WOUNDS, Major-General John Cantwell is quoted as saying… “This is my story, but it is also the story of thousands of Australian veterans from Iraq, East Timor, Afghanistan and other conflicts who bear similar emotional scars. This is what becomes of those men and women we send off to war, pay little attention to, then forget once they are home.”

We are told that: “As a country boy from Queensland, John Cantwell signed up to the army as a private and rose to the rank of major general. He was on the front line in 1991 as Coalition forces fitted bulldozer blades to tanks and buried alive Iraqi troops in their trenches. He fought in Baghdad in 2006 and saw what a car bomb does to a marketplace crowded with women and children. In 2010 he commanded the Australian forces in Afghanistan when ten of his soldiers were killed. He returned to Australia in 2011 to be considered for the job of chief of the Australian Army. Instead, he ended up in a psychiatric hospital.

Exit Wounds is the compassionate and deeply human account of one man’s tour of the War on Terror, the moving story of life on a modern battlefield: from the nightmare of cheating death in a minefield, to the poignancy of calling home while under rocket fire in Baghdad, to the utter despair of looking into the face of a dead soldier before sending him home to his mother. He has hidden his post traumatic stress disorder for decades, fearing it will affect his career.

Australia has been at war for the past twenty years and yet there has been no stand-out account from these conflicts—Exit Wounds is it. Raw, candid and eye-opening, no one who reads this book will be unmoved, nor forget its imagery or words.”


To read my previous posts re: ANZAC Day and our Diggers… please just click on HOME, in the Menu bar above, and then select “Military” in the Category “side bar”… Cheers, Catherine.


Thankyou to the South Australian Advertiser for the poem – “The Silent Battlefield” Published in: “The (Adelaide) Advertiser“, Remembrance Day, 11 Nov 2011
Thanks also to  “The (Adelaide) Advertiser“, for Ian Henschke’s article – “The high price of war” published in SAWeekend 20-21 April 2013.

EXIT WOUNDS can be purchased from the following bookshops and the quotes I’ve used can be attributed to both these companies. Many thanks…

Random House Books – Australia:

ABC Shop:


Copyright © 2013.  Catherine Ann Crout-Habel.
Seeking Susan~Meeting Marie~Finding Family

Our History, our future

It is with great pleasure I welcome my first Guest Blogger, for the Year 2013, Josephine Masciantonio. This Essay, written whilst Josie was studying with the University of South Australia, also won 2nd Prize for:

The Italian Embassy in Canberra: Italy Award 2011
“The Italian Risorgimento and Australia”

Copyright (c) 2013. Josephine Masciantonio

Copyright (c) 2013. Josephine Masciantonio

Titled “Our history, our future“, Josie’s Family History is also that of my three eldest Grandchildren, Edan, Mia and Jonah, for she is their Auntie… the sister of my beloved daughter-in-love, Sylvia.I am greatly honoured to have permission for the publishing of Nonno Giuseppe’s beautifully written recollections, translated from Italian for this purpose. Thankyou far more than I can ever say… so over to you Josie


EDITORIAL NOTE:  Please be aware that Josie intends to correct this rather poor “automatic internet translation” very soon. Thanks Josie. Readers may like to check back once it has been updated. Cheers, Catherine … 7 Jan 2013.


Usually, stories start from the beginning, but this story will start from the end. This is the story of my history, my family history and the story of how I got to this point. A new beginning: the unity and hope. These are the ideals of my history and the ideals of the Risorgimento. The history of a nation, of a family and the ties that bind us together.

I come from this new beginning, a life linked to hope for improvement in the future. I am writing this essay as to what Italy was, is and will become. I have been studying precisely the language that is the result of this unit to improve my Italian, so I can speak the language of our ancestors with my children. Without the Risorgimento characters who have dedicated their lives to the cause of Italian unity, I would not be here to tell my story.

Giuseppe Masciantonio (c) 2013. L.Masciantonio

Giuseppe Masciantonio (c) 2013. L.Masciantonio

Mine is the story of a family in Italy which barely overcame many difficulties and eventually emigrated to Australia. My grandfather liked to tell stories to anyone who would listen. Especially on his feast day he liked to boast that of all men, the most famous and capable, were called ‘Joseph’, like him and claimed with pride that opinion.Thanks to my grandfather Joseph, who shared the story of its history and its hardships, these events have become an integral part of me and my family. It was through the stories of my grandfather that I knew of the Italian unification. He told me that his grandfather had told him:

“Giosina-beautiful, you’d think that after the fall of the Roman Empire, Italy has always been fragmented. At the time of my grandfather, ‘Italy’ existed only as a geographical term. “

He continued:

“Our ancestors suffered and had a great desire for certainty for the future. Giuseppe Garibaldi, Giuseppe Mazzini and Cavour – even though it was a Joseph – they offered the hope of this certainty and prospects for the future. “

Grandfather Joseph told me again:

“They were difficult times, when my loved ones could not speak aloud about their feelings of the Risorgimento. My great-grandfather was a member of Young Italy. He, like many Italians, aspired to a united Italy and dreamed without fragmentation. Times were lovers because people had a common hope. “

He explained that:

“Mazzini was the father and founder of Young Italy. And it was truly a visionary! Mazzini also predicted the United States of Europe, a precursor of the ‘European Union. My grandfather was a very religious man and the slogan of Mazzini ‘God and the people’ was very important to him, my great-grandparents and grandparents could not imagine a life without a homeland and Catholicism. “

Another of the heroes of my grandfather was Garibaldi. He loved what he symbolized, and that for which he fought. He admired the fact that Garibaldi had gone as far away as Australia. “Just like me!” exclaimed my grandfather.

The link of my family with Australia began during the Second World War my grandfather – Joseph Masciantonio – and my maternal great-uncle – Cosmo Fardone – fought side by side in the same regiment in North Africa and later were taken as prisoners to Australia. They became close friends.

Grandfather told me stories of the war:

“Fifty years after the Risorgimento, Italy, directed by Giolitti, invaded Libya. And here we were, in 1941 the Italians back into Libya. We did not lose hope, even in the most serious times. I saw my fellow soldiers suffer and die. I had to overcome the wounds, and often we were thirsty or hungry, but we forged ahead with the knowledge that so many great Italian men had walked the same path and had suffered much more than we do.

On January 4, 1941 my grandfather and my uncle were captured by the Allies during the Battle of Bardia, Libya. They were then sent to Australia as prisoners of war. My grandfather and my great-uncle spent three years in a prison camp in Hay before being sent to work on farms and in other remote places in Australia. My grandfather was sent to work as a beekeeper in Mount Barker district, around Adelaide, until 1946 when he was repatriated to Italy.

Italian prisoners in the prison camp at Hay, NSW - 9 Sep 1943. Cosmo Fardone (2nd row, 5th from left) Joseph Masciantonio (front row, 2nd from left)

Italian prisoners in the prison camp at Hay, NSW – 9 Sep 1943. Cosmo Fardone (2nd row, 5th from left) Joseph Masciantonio (front row, 2nd from left)

Back in Italy, grandfather Joseph, found that the dream of his grandfather and his great-grandfather had been made and that the ideals of Mazzini had become reality. He returned to the Republican and an Italy united with Rome as its capital. It was then that he met, for the first time, his youngest son – my father – who was six years old.

After the war, however, life was very hard. At the end my paternal grandfather decided to leave his homeland, in 1961, just as his admired countryman Garibaldi had. So it was that he came to Australia with his entire family. The choice was obvious enough. He knew Adelaide, although he had been a prisoner and had such terrible memories of his years there. The ship crossed the Suez Canal, the channel for which he and his companions had risked their lives many years ago.

He told me:

“For centuries we Italians have left our homeland either by choice or by necessity. We spread our work ethic, spirit and hope for a better future in all countries that we have reached, including Australia. If we had not sacrificed all emigrants leaving our home, in your opinion, Giosina-bella, would Italy have become what it is today? “

The family Masciantonio were safe and happy and he worked tirelessly for years, in Adelaide, for their future.

Carmella and Giuseppe Masciantonio (c) 2013 L. Masciantonio

Carmella and Giuseppe Masciantonio (c) 2013 L. Masciantonio

On a hot summer’s day in 1966, an extraordinary event happened in the central market of Adelaide. Joseph Masciantonio was struck by a vision – a man ran up to him – copious tears came from his eyes and he hugged him. His friend was moved. His comrade, Cosmo Fardone, stood before him.

Unbeknowns to each other, the Fardone and Masciantonio families had emigrated to Australia. They organized a big party to celebrate that they had found each other and  honoured the life and destiny. So it was, at this party, that my father and mother met and then married the following year.

Dora Martino & Luigi Masciantoni (c) 2013. Luigi Masciantonio

Dora Martino & Luigi Masciantoni (c) 2013. Luigi Masciantonio

I feel fortunate because my grandfather made me proud to be Italian, speaking proudly of his origins. He told me of artists, composers, musicians and inventors, such as Giuseppe Meucci-another! – The inventor of the telephone, instilled within me a strong and lasting feeling of being Italian.

For me it is a wonder that the Italo-Australian of the second, third and fourth generation still feel ‘Italian’. This Italianità is deeply rooted even in those who have never been to Italy or even speak the language.

My grandfather was a singer and musician and did not spend a day in which he was not heard singing his usual hymn. When reflecting on the war, and feeling sad and melancholy, he would sing:

“The Piave whispered” foreigner shall not pass! ‘”

And other times, his favorite composer, Verdi, Va’ pensiero:

“Go, thought, on golden wings …. O my country, so lovely and lost!”

Grandfather Joseph explained to me:

“In the days of my grandfather, Green symbolized the patriotism and nationalism. People shouted “Viva Verdi!” To sympathize secretly with the king, Vittorio Emanuele II, and for Italian unification.”

It would be impossible for anyone not to be moved to the tune of this song. My grandfather explained that he, his parents and grandparents always were moved to tears when they sang “Va’ pensiero”, imagining and remembering the suffering of the Italians.

I will never forget his voice and his words:

“Giosina, do not forget that you’re like me, Giuseppe, Giuseppe Garibaldi, Giuseppe Mazzini and Joseph as Verdi!”

I am proud that the spirit of the Renaissance – and that of all the great ‘Giuseppe’-is still alive in me.


Copyright © 2011. Josephine Masciantonio

Belli, B. (2010), ‘Notes Risorgimento II: The “Va’ Pensiero” and other choirs Verdi ‘accessed on 14 May 2011
Chiro, G. and Smolicz, J. J. (1998), ‘Evaluations of language and social systems by a group of tertiary students of Italian ancestry in Australia’, Altreitalie 18 (July-December), p. 13-31.

Castles, S., Alcorso, C., Rando, G. and Vasta, E. (Eds) (1992), Australia’s Italians: Culture and Community in a Changing Society, Fondazione Giovanni Agnelli, Allen & Unwin, North Sydney.

Dewhirst, C. (2003), Italian Roots: Family History, Inter Generational Experience, and Identity Centre for Social Change Research, School of Humanities and Human Services Queensland University of Technology. Accessed on 12 May 2011

Duggan, C. (2008), The Force of Destiny: A History of Italy since 1796, Penguin Books, London.

Formichi, G. (2003), The Renaissance 1799-1861, Giunti, Florence.

Hibbert, C. (1966), Garibaldi and His Enemies: The Clash of Arms and Personalities in the Making of Italy, Little, Brown and Company, Boston.

O’Connor, D. (2003), Flinders University Languages ​​Group Online Review Vol 1, Issue 3, December. Accessed on 22 May 2011

Passerin Entrèves, E. (1970), ‘Ideologies of the Risorgimento’, History of Literature, edited by Emilio Cecchi and Natalia Sapegno, Seventh colume The nineteenth century, Garzanti, Milan.

Rando, G. Italo-Australian and After: Recent Expressions of Italian Australian Ethnicity and the Migration Experience University of Wollongong, Australia. Accessed on 6 May 2011

Rando, G. (2005), ‘Italian Australians During the Second World War: some perceptions of internment’, University of Italian Studies in Southern Africa / English Studies in Southern Africa, Vol 18, No. 1 pp. 20-51.

Rando, G. (2008), ‘Raffaello Carboni’s perception of Australia and Australian identity’, Flinders Univeristy Languages ​​Group Online, vol. 3, issue 3. Accessed on 4 May 2011

Rubino, A. (2002), Proceedings of Innovations in Italian teaching workshop, Griffith University Pages 1-15 Italian in Australia: Past and new trends, University of Sydney. Accessed on 8 May 2011

Vasta, E. (1995), ‘The Italian-Australian Family: Transformations and continuities’, in R. Hartley (ed), Families and Cultural Diversity in Australia, Allen & Unwin, St. Leonards, NSW, p. 144-166.

Vasta, E. (1993), ‘The socio-cultural change: the Italo-Australian women and the second generation’, Altreitalie, no 9, pp. 69-83.

Vasta, E. (2003), ‘The Italian immigration in Australia: the Second Generation’ in Italian emigration overseas nineteenth and twentieth centuries and the history of the community derived, Marcello Saiya (ed), Trisform, Messina, Italy.

Mm is for – Mysterious Musicians and Mariners

Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge

Dad certainly had one fact about his mysterious father correct – Henry (Harry) Eden Crout was indeed a Musician, a Clarionet player, in the British Army. It seems unlikely, however, that he knew that many of his father’s Ancestors were Seamen, and Mariners of some note, for no doubt he would have regaled us endlessly with delightful tales of amazing adventures on “the High Seas”. I dedicate this Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge” to my dad, Harry Scarborough Crout and his paternal Ancestors, those “Mysterious Musicians and Mariners”.

Dad came to Australia, a sixteen year old lad, as part of the “Dreadnought Scheme”. He came for adventure, and to make his fortune “to take home to mam”, but events overtook him and he remained in Australia. Whilst he talked a lot about his mum, her family and growing up in Shipley, Yorkshire, he had litte information to share about his dad. He seemed reluctant to talk about his father saying he hardly knew him because he was away a lot with the Army. I also remember dad saying that the family’s, of both his mother and father, never “got along”.

My search for this “Mysterious Musician”, my Grandfather, began with a copy of the Marriage Certificate which both confirmed and confused. The best clue was the recording of his profession as “Private 2nd Dragoon Guards”. It didn’t take long to discover that the Regimental Band of the 2nd Dragoon Guards was stationed at Fulford, York, Yorkshire, England in 1899 which is the same year that he met and married my Grandmother, Marie Ogilvie a Yorkshire lass, in York. Henry (Harry) Eden Moody, whose name and his mother’s was changed to Crout on the 1891 Census, was born in Battersea, London, England on 21 March 1880.

How excited I was to see on-line, and to be able to purchase, a photo of the Band, taken that same year, despite knowing that none of the band members are named. However, I do have a description of Henry (Harry) Eden Crout taken from his “Attestation Papers” when he joined the “Canadian Expeditionary Force” on 20 July 1915. I keep trying to pick which of these strapping young blokes is my Grand-father, my “Mysterious Musician” but no luck. Maybe you can help?  He is 19 years old in the photo and described, 15 years later, as:

A Clarionet player, 5ft 7ins tall, dark complexion, brown eyes, black hair, girth when fully extended 36 ins (rate of expansion 2 1/2 inches). Three vaccination scars on left arm and 3 scars on right shoulder. A tattoo of a Heart and Arrow on left forearm and, on right forearm, a Cross and Anchor.”


Below is a picture of his son, Harry Scarborough Crout, at about same age.

Harry Scarborough Crout, riding pillion, aged 17 – 1929 (c) C.Crout-Habel

Harry Scarborough Crout aged 29years. (c) C.Crout-Habel

The Mysterious Mariners

Reading that my Grandfather had a Cross and Anchor tattoo, which I later discovered is a “Maritime Cross”, flipped me right back to that Marriage Certificate. Not only does he incorrectly name himself, and his father as Harry Edward Crout when both were Henry Eden Crout but also wrongly claimed his father to be a “Retired Seaman”. What is going on here?… thinks I. Many hours, days, weeks, months and now years of research are finally bringing the answers. He used his Grandfather’s name for himself and his dad, when marrying, and also his Grandfather’s profession. It is his Grandfather who is Henry Edward Crout (1814 – 1875) and he was indeed a Seaman, first going to sea at the age of 16.

The possible reasons my Grandfather gave mis-leading information is another story, for another day. Suffice to say their daughter, my dad’s sister Annie Ruby Crout, was born 22 Dec 1899 and just one month after they married. Soon after, he went off to the Boer War and I understand that the 2nd Dragoon Guards remained in South Africa for a further 8 years, as part of the occupying force. He was simply a Private. As I understand it, the Army would not accept responsibility for re-locating his wife, and child, because the Commanding Officer had not given permission for the marriage.

After answering a lot of questions, rattling round in my head, it was soon time to focus attention on the “Mysterious Mariners” … and what a revelation that’s been. The numbers keep growing almost daily but, to date, I’ve located the following Seamen/ Mariners to be amongst my dad’s Ancestors.

Henry Edward Crout (1814-1875) Seaman, Merchant Navy (Great Grandfather)
John Thomas Crout (1772-1841) Master, Navy (Great Great Grandfather)
John Thomas Crout (1810-1859) Master, Navy (Great Uncle)
Frederick Orlando Crout (1822-1902) Master Mariner (Great Uncle)
Henry Edward Crout (1842-1912) Seaman, Navy (2nd cousin?)
Frederick Orlando Crout (1847-1930) Seaman living/working Wales (2nd cousin?)

So there you have it. A few of the discoveries I’ve made, so far, about my “Mysterious Musicians and Mariners”. When telling my daughter about this aspect of her Ancestry, her comment was “No wonder Grandad was such an Adventurer, mum”. 

If you have any thoughts on which of those likely young lads may be my Grandfather, I’d be delighted to hear them.

Cheers, Catherine


Copyright © 2012. C.A.Crout-Habel. “Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family”

Kk is for – Kokoda Track and the 39th…

Family History Through the Alphabet

The year is 1942 and all that stood between us and a Japanese invasion was a bunch of untrained schoolboys… many were my mum’s class-mates. This post, for Gould’s “Family History Through the Alphabet” challenge, is dedicated to the young lads of the 39th Australian Militia Battalion… most never made it home. To them we owe our freedom and may their courage, determination and fortitude never be forgotten. This date, 21 July 2012 is the 70th Anniversary of the “Battle for Australia” and is a time for the remembering.


“They were just ‘cannon fodder’ Catherine. Little boys in World War 1 uniforms that were too big for them. They were sent up there to keep the Japs busy… to give them something to shoot at as Curtin kept on fighting with Churchill to bring our troops home.”

I can still hear the sob in mum’s voice and see the pain in her eyes as she told how public outrage stopped the “marching” of her classmates and other young blokes through the streets of Adelaide, South Australia.  

“They couldn’t march like soldiers… they had no training. They were just kids from the Depression taken from their homes and sent up there to be shot at. Most hadn’t had a decent feed in their lives, you know.”

This is my mum’s story which I’ve researched at great length, and in great detail, suspecting that maybe she’d exaggerated matters. What I discovered was info that maybe she wasn’t even aware of and is why this has been a particularly difficult Family History story to write.

Before going any further, nothing has made me happier than to have my mum’s insistence that it’s the “Kokoda Track” … NOT “trail” and her insistence “That’s just an Americanism!” confirmed. All research shows that it was an American journalist who first described the “Kokoda Track” as a trail but was always known, by the Ozzie soldiers who fought it’s length both backwards and forwards, as the “Kokoda Track”.  It wasn’t a trail, it wasn’t a road nor even a pathway… In fact:

“Until this time the ‘Kokoda Track’ had been simply a native pad considered passable only by natives or by patrol officers carrying little or no burden. It climbed mountains as high as 7000 feet, clung to the sides of gorges, descended preciptously to cross swift flowing torrents on moss covered stones or fallen trees, and then rose steeply again to traverse dankly dripping rain forests.”

Research showed that mum’s school mates were indeed “conscripts”. They were conscripted into the Militia with the job of protecting “the homeland”.  However, as the Japanese threat escalated and with no troops to protect Australia the 39th were sent to New Guinea initially to unload boats, planes etc. Before you could blink an eye the 39th Battalion was all that stood between us and a Japanese invasion.

I still remember mum’s wry smile as she suggested that “the Japs must have rued the day that they bombed Pearl Harbor”. That fateful day, on 7 Dec 1941, forced the United States to abandon their “non interventionist policy” and to finally join England, Australia and other allies in World War 2. The Pearl Harbor attack “crippled” the United States Fleet.

The Japanese moved swiftly and, on 15 Feb 1942, they took Singapore. Some 20,000 Australian “diggers” (soldiers) became Japanese POW’s and about only a third survived.

“Japan was not a foe like the Germans. They did not recognise the Geneva Convention and due to fervent Japanese nationalism and a reinterpretation of the Samurai code of Bushido, prisoners were either massacred or treated inhumanely as slave labour.”

The Japanese swept down through South East Asia at an alarming rate. The United States were routed in the Phillipines and, in March 1942, their President Rooseveldt ordered General McArthur to relocate/ retreat to Australia and continue the battle for the Pacific from there.

Your can read about the “Battle of the Coral Sea” here. Was the first time that the Japanese were stopped in their tracks.

At this time my mum, aged 17, was living at 55 Langham Place, Portland, South Australia. Her street ended “smack bang” at the railway line, and still does. Her stories of how our Ozzie diggers/troops were finally brought back to Australia, landed in Port Adelaide, and then sent via railway straight up north “to fight the Japs” is indeed true. It made my heart ache to hear how the soldiers, of the AIF, who were expecting R & R before going into battle again were mis-informed, and threw messages down the em-bankment to be passed onto their loved ones.

What my research has shown, and I’m sure my mum didn’t know, is that these battle hardened, seasoned and skilled troops were not sent direct to New Guinea to support the 39th Battalion there on the “Kokoda Track”. Instead they were positioned on “the Brisbane Line” way up north in Queensland …  leaving the 39th Battalion still fighting on alone, in New Guinea, and in the most unimaginable of cirmcumstances.

Our Australian Prime Minister at the time, John Joseph Ambrose Curtin, is renowned and honoured still for the sterling job he did in defying both Churchill and Rooseveldt by bringing our troops back home to defend and protect Australia in our hour of need.



Well, that’s my mum’s story of the “Kokoda Track” told. It has permeated our Family History. Just one example is that my eldest child, my mum’s first grandchild, has “done the Track” twice already. You can read a little about this here.

I reckon this story is but one example of how ur individual Family History is passed on. Some take it up and are totally focussed. Others confirm it in but in different ways. Always the truth will live on and I finish this post by re- focussing on those brave young boys of the 39th Battalion.

On Kokoda Remembered, it’s written that:

“When the last Japanese beachead at Sananada fell in January 1943, the 39th mustered only 7 officers and 25 other ranks. The RMO considered some of these unfit for the next day’s march to Dobodura Airfield. Higher authority refused a vehicle for them, providing transport only for stragglers who should fall out on the march. But in the 39th marchers didn’t fall out, so they all marched, all the way-for some a long torture on the verge on unconsciousness that only pride and the solicitious support of their mates made endurable. Pale, silent and sweating under the fierce sun, they toiled in the wake of truck loads of of cheering, fresh-looking ‘stragglers’; and at last they straightened up to march at attention across the airfield. When an amazed bystander exclaimed ‘What mob’s this?’ he was ignored except by my second-in-command at the end of the line who barked: This is not a mob! This is the 39th!


For resources just “click” on the links already provided. Cheers, Catherine.

Copyright © 2012. Catherine Crout-Habel. “Seeking Susan ~Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family