Saturday, 18 January 2014

Sepia Saturday: First World War faces - Wentworth Rowland Cavenagh-Mainwaring at Gallipoli

This week's Sepia Saturday blog post topic focuses on the faces of the First World War.


Wentworth Cavenagh-Mainwaring at Gallipoli in 1915







Wentworth Rowland Cavenagh-Mainwaring (1869 - 1933), an Adelaide surgeon, was my great grand uncle.

On August 19 1914 he enlisted the First Australian Imperial Force at the age of 44 and was assigned to the Light Horse as a member of the Medical Corps.

NAA: B2455, Mainwaring Wentworth Rowland Cavenagh page 05 of 70

Dr. Cavenagh-Mainwaring Selected. (1914, August 20). The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929), p. 7. Retrieved January 16, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article56701493

THE NATIONS AT WAR. (1914, August 25). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1931), p. 7. Retrieved January 16, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article6430247

 He arrived at Gallipoli on 12 May 1915 and was evacuated 11 September 1915, sick with enteritis.

NAA: B2455, Mainwaring Wentworth Rowland Cavenagh page 13 of 70

Wentworth Cavenagh-Mainwaring (right) at Gallipoli with Arthur Murray Cudmore. My great grandfather, Arthur Murray Cudmore, also a surgeon from Adelaide, was his brother-in-law. I don't know who the seated man is although it may be Bronte Smeaton, a fellow doctor from Adelaide.

In November 1915 Wentworth was recommended for an award and was later presented with the Serbian Order of the White Eagle 5th class (with swords) on 7 September 1917 (gazetted 15 February 1917). My father still has this medal in its presentation box.

The  Order of the White Eagle with Swords, which was awarded for wartime services contributing to Serbia’s victories, was created by King Peter II during World War 1 and is distinct from the Order of the White Eagle.(http://www.airserbia.com/en/home/main_menu/travel_info/airserbia_review/februar_2008/srpska_odlikovanja.html ) A discussion thread on the Great War Forum states  a lot of foreign awards were to members of Corps & appear to be their bravery & meritorious awards rather than giving MM's & DCM's. However there seems to be no authoritative  statement as to why. Over 37,000 names appeared in the London Gazette as having received foreign awards. (http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=160062 ) 

There seems to be no record of the specific reasons for Wentworth receiving the Serbian award and I assume it was associated with the nomination in 1915 to receive a French award.

Rank: Captain
Unit: 3rd Light Horse Regiment
Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
Award: French Chevalier of the Legion of Honour, Fifth Class
Date of recommendation: 16 November 1915
from the Australian War Memorial website http://www.awm.gov.au/research/people/honours_and_awards/person/R1605257. Recommendation for award:
For repeatedly exposing himself to sniper's fire while attending to men wounded by sniper's fire in Monash Gully between 11-5-15 and 30-5-15 and for consistent good work in the field since those dates.
Australian War Memorial Photograph IDnumber C02676 Photographer Unknown Object type Black & white - Glass original half plate negative Place made Ottoman Empire: Turkey, Dardanelles, Gallipoli, Anzac Area (Gallipoli), Shrapnel Gully Area, Shrapnel Gully Date made May 1915 Description The main track up Shrapnel Gully on the Gallipoli Peninsula, showing traverses, built to provide cover from Turkish snipers. It was near this site that 283 Major General William Throsby Bridges KCB AIFHQ CMG, General Officer Commanding (GOC), 1st Australian Division, was mortally wounded. Pope's Hill can be seen in the background.

Wentworth Cavenagh-Mainwaring served for the  duration of the war. His obituary mentions his war service.

DEATH OF WAR SURGEON. (1933, June 29). Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 - 1954), p. 41. Retrieved January 17, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article90887332
In 1967 my grandmother applied for the ANZAC commemorative medallion as Wentworth's next of kin.