A wrong has been righted more than a century after it was committed.
The Australian War Memorial this week corrected its official Nominal Rolls of the Boer War after evidence was submitted by ‘History Out There’ following the publication of the ‘Archaeological Emergency’ story on this website. Follow these links to read the original story and see the video.
‘History Out There’ researched the possible original owners of an Air Raid Police Whistle (pictured) discovered at the old Newmarket police station in Brisbane just 24 hours before the building was to be relocated and archaeology evidence possibly lost forever.
The policeman most connected to the station was Edwin Michael Creedy (pictured) who was posted there for twenty years. During this time he established the district’s air raid wardens at the start of the Second World War.
Creedy had dedicated himself to public service including two years with the Queensland Imperial Bushmen at the Boer War followed by thirty-eight years in the Queensland Police Force. Tragically his life was cut short when he suicided shortly after retiring from the service at just sixty-years-of-age.
Cruelly for his memory, Creedy’s name was incorrectly recorded by the Australian War Memorial in connection with his service in the Boer War in 1901-1902.
“I have investigated the matter and can confirm that Creedy’s first name was incorrectly recorded as ‘Mickall’ on his Nominal Roll record,” Tom Jelovic of the Australian War Memorial advised this week. “I have corrected this error on our database, and added a public note explaining this amendment.”
“As the subject enlisted under the name Michael Creedy this name remains on his Nominal Roll record, however, I have included Edwin Michael Creedy as his birth name and Edward Michael Creedy as an ‘also known as’ name on his people record.”
The original error occurred 108 years ago when Creedy’s name was erroneously recorded in ‘Official Records of the Australian Military Contingents to the War in South Africa’ (pictured) compiled in 1911 by Lieutenant-Colonel Pembroke Lathrop Murray of the Royal Australian Artillery.
Murray went to South Africa twice during the Boer War. His father had been an officer with the 1st Royal Dragoons who served under the Duke of Wellington in the Peninsular War against Napoleon.
Creedy wrote a letter in 1901 from a hospital bed in Pretoria to his uncle at home at Grandchester in Queensland. In it he said that having arrived aboard the SS Templemore (pictured), he left Petersburg and went to the Blackburn Ranges where he first got into action. Here two privates in his detachment were killed. “To tell you the truth,” Creedy wrote, “it is a real murder over here – not war. The Boers will get behind a rock and pour a volley into you, and if they have no chance of getting away they will throw up their arms, and then the British will take them prisoners. There’s always a chance of getting knocked over at that game.”
“The only thing that sticks to you here is your horse. Once he dies you have to walk and carry your rifle and 150 rounds of ammunition. This happened to me and a good many others.”
Murray’s error – which has been perpetuated in innumerable books and websites now for well over a century – has at last been corrected by the Australian War Memorial.
The memory of Edwin Michael Creedy who gave more than most to the service of his home colony, state and young nation, is now justly honoured.
Prior to the publication of the ‘History Out There’ story, the curator of the Queensland Police Museum had confirmed that the whistle found at Creedy’s police station was an Air Raid Police Whistle in use by police along with the rattle and gas mask during WW2.
“I thoroughly enjoyed reading your article. Keep fighting the good fight,” Mr Jelovic added.
Sergeant Creedy on his horse – Brisbane Telegraph, Wednesday 5 May 1937, p.6
WW2 Air Raid Police Whistle – my own
Boer War Nominal Rolls – ‘Official Records of the Australian Military Contingents to the War in South Africa’, 1911, Murray p.502
SS Templemore – courtesy of Desert Column