History Parkes

stories, photos, anecdotes….. sharing the past

Super Trooper: Albert “Bert” Platt

Many of the true stories about local people here on historyparkes.org would be compelling reading if they were put into book form. The details of Trooper Albert Edward Platt did help author Roger McDonald in his historical fiction novel, 1915 and the author credits Trooper Platt for helping him gain the realism that his fictional work required. Local history enthusiast, Robert (Bob) Gould, is Albert Platt’s grandson and he has willingly shared many unique documents in his possession. This entry pays homage to his grandfather, 891 Trooper Albert Edward Platt.

Photograph of Trooper Albert Edward Platt in army uniform

Albert Edward Platt was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, on 29 October 1891 and died in Parkes, NSW, Australia, on 01 December 1981. His Father was a Potters Guilder and Foreman at Malings Pottery in Newcastle, England. Young Albert also worked at Malings, as did his sister, Ellen, but after 3 years there, he left and migrated to Australia.

Albert joined the Australian Army, the Seventh Light Horse, on 14 April 1915 at the age of 23 years and 6 months. He enlisted in Liverpool and his occupation was recorded as a Farm Groom. On the 3 October 1915, he joined and was taken on strength of the 7th Light Horse at the Gallipoli Peninsula. Albert was plagued with diarrhoea and dysentery during his time overseas, and was eventually discharged from the 12th Light Horse Regiment as medically unfit on 9 April 1917.

After his return to Australia, Albert, along with Mordyke Barton, and a Mr Broadford, each obtained a 640 acre Soldier Settlement Blocks in the same area near Alectown. Albert and Mordyke both remained on their farms until they retired to Parkes.

Albert named his block “Jesmond-Dene” after Jesmond Dene Valley in his home town of Newcastle, UK.

Albert worked on the farm, as well as doing a bit of gold mining there, and was making a success of the project.

On the 16 February, 1926, Albert married Hannah Margaret Salan from The Rock near Uranquinty. They honeymooned in New Zealand before returning to Jesmond-Dene to begin their lives together.

Together, they raised a family: Mavis, Coral, Leona, and Melvin.

Albert was a staunch member of the RSL in both Peak Hill and Parkes.

Two of Platt’s children – Bob Gould’s mother and uncle – still live in Parkes.

Acknowledgement from 1915 author Roger McDonald of the help that Bert Platt, along with others from Parkes, were in the writing of his novel

Acknowledgement from 1915 author Roger McDonald of the help that Bert Platt, along with others from Parkes, were in the writing of his novel.

Albert Edward Platt left Sydney on 7th June 1915 and was aboard HMAT A5 Chilka as part of the 12th Light Horse Regiment, 2nd Reinforcement. The Central West was well represented on board HMAT Chilka with 850 William Dwyer (West Wyalong); 855 Francis Noel Berkeley Fitzhardinge (Dubbo); 858 Claud Russell Glasson (Blayney); 876 James Olsen (Dubbo); 882 Albert William Thailer (Forbes) and 885 Frank Ray Stevenson (Narromine) also on board with Bert Platt. (The AIF Project)

Image of HMAT A51 Chilka (source http://alh-research.tripod.com/ships_lh.htm) the ship that took Albert Platt to where he completed his duty as part of 18th Light Horse Regiment

HMAT A51 Chilka (source Desert Column Australian Military History of Early 20th Century) the ship that took Albert Platt to where he completed his duty as part of 18th Light Horse Regiment

Albert Platt's Casualty Form - Active Service

Albert Platt’s Casualty Form – Active Service. Life on the front had many dangers, not just from enemy fire. The diseases and ailments could be fatal if not treated properly. Imagine if the next time you have “the runs” you are in another country inside a tent with other patients also suffering. This is some of what soldiers like Albert Platt endured for the sake of his country.

Trooper Albert Platt at an ANZAC Day service, with medals on.

Trooper Albert Platt at an ANZAC Day service, with medals on.

Photograph of Bert Platt working on his farm, Jesmond-dene at Alectown. Platt was one of many soldiers who were given land in recognition of their tremendous service to their country. This is taken on Jesmond-dene, not far from Parkes. The property name is a reference to his English link to Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Bert Platt was one of many soldiers who were given land in recognition of their tremendous service to their country. This is taken on his property Jesmond-dene, at Alectown. The property name is a reference to his English link to Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Family photograph of Bert Platt with his wife, children and grandchildren. Not all soldiers' stories ended unhappily. Bert Platt returned to the Parkes Shire and became a husband, father and grandfather. Here he is in a family photograph. Grandson Bob Gould is the young boy furthest to the left in the suit.

Not all soldiers’ stories ended unhappily. Bert Platt returned to the Parkes Shire and became a husband, father and grandfather. Here he is in a family photograph. Grandson Bob Gould is the young boy furthest to the left in the suit.

Parkes Library would like to thank Bob Gould for his assistance with research for this site and also allowing us access to his private collection.

2 comments on “Super Trooper: Albert “Bert” Platt

  1. Neil Westcott
    April 15, 2015

    I have owned Jesmond since 1981 and Albert’s original home still stands ..albeit in quite a poor state now. Did not know about the origin of the name. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • parkeslibrary
      April 16, 2015

      Hi Neil, thank you for your response. We are happy to have helped. That is one of the aims of this site – to enlighten and make everyone more aware of the fascinating history of the Parkes shire.

      Like

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This entry was posted on April 15, 2015 by in ANZAC, Light Horse Regiment, Parkes and tagged , , , .
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