Sunday, 15 May 2016

On This Day - My ANZAC Great-Grandfather

On this day 100 years ago my great-grandfather, Robert Mavin Storey, joined the 8th Field Ambulance of the Australian Imperial Force. 


Private R. M. Storey
Robert was born in March 1887 at Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, Northumberland, England, to Adam Storey and Jane Mavin. He was named after his maternal grandfather. 

When Robert was three years old, his parents enrolled him in Newbiggin Church School. He was described as "very little", and the school mistress didn't believe he would attend very well. 

When he was older, Robert was involved with the local football team, and was an apprentice for some five years to a local master bricklayer. In 1911, Robert's older brother Eddie emigrated to Canada, and ended up saying there for two years. Eddie and Robert had already decided they wanted to travel together, so in December 1913 they embarked to Australia.

Robert joined the Australian Imperial Force on 8 May 1916 at Teralba, NSW, where he was living at the time. He had been working on building sites there, and lived in Pitt Street. A week later on 15 May, Robert formally joined the 8th Field Ambulance unit. 

When on extended leave in England in September 1919, Robert married Minnie Metcalf at Morpeth. They set off for Australia the following March, with their first stop being Teralba. From Teralba they moved on to Weston. There they had four children, before embarking back to England in 1934.

Back in his birth town, Robert set up his own building business, and on one occasion stood in the local council elections. 

Robert missed Australia dearly, and so went back there alone in September 1952. He died there over a year later in December 1953, at a fairly young age. The only consolation for his premature death was that it happened in his beloved Australia.