The Grieving Mother

As part of Ballarat’s Commemorative Military Monuments, The Grieving Mother and Garden at The Arch of Victory site recognises the grief and sacrifice mothers and wives experience when they lose a son, daughter, or husband as a result of the devastation of war.

The Grieving Mother - 1 WAGS

This intrinsic bond of mother and child is aptly demonstrated with the statue of the grief- stricken mother holding a photo of her son in a military uniform.

The words on the accompanying plaque read :

‘… you and other poor souls of women who have to remain at home have the anguish of suspense and anxiety to bear,
not knowing when a terrible blow may fall, as it has upon you.’

The Grieving Mother - 1 WAGS Plaque

Chaplain Captain William Moore writing to Thomas Watson’s widow upon the death of her husband in WW1.

The heartache experienced by this loss is made all the more to bear when more than one son or family member has
been killed in Action or on Active Service.

At No. One Wireless Air Gunners School Ballarat during WW2, three sets of brothers who trained at the school were KILLED.

The following are the names of brothers who trained at 1 W.A.G.S. and made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Sgt Ronald McGregor HERMAN 407030 and Sgt James Alexander HERMAN 407713 Killed Aircraft Accidents

F/Sgt Brian Leo SHEEAN 409855 and F/Sgt Lorin James SHEEAN 410014 Killed Flying Battles/Operations

 Sgt George Frederick BOLTON 401412 and Cpl Robert Burns BOLTON 10173 Flying Battle and Aircraft Accident

 

THE HERMAN BROTHERS

The Grieving Mother - Herman Bros - 1 WAGS

 
James Alexander HERMAN

James Alexander Herman was born in Adelaide South Australia on the 6 August 1913 to parents Jessie Perry and Thomas Ernest Herman of Woodville, South Australia.

His occupation was listed as ‘School Teacher’.

The Grieving Mother - 1 WAGS - James Alexander HERMANJames enlisted in the RAAF on the 4 January 1941 and on the 24 July 1941 commenced training as a Wireless Operator/Air Gunner at No. 1 WAGS Ballarat, Course 16. He was promoted to Sergeant on the 1 May 1942. In March he was briefly attached to No. 7 Squadron based at Laverton, Victoria. The next month he became a member of No. 32 Squadron making supply flights between North Queensland and Port Moresby, New Guinea.

On the 24 May 1942 he was a crew member of Hudson A16-91 flying in formation between Rockhampton and Townsville. The aircraft collided with another Hudson A16-194 and both crashed into thick mangroves at Barramundi Creek near Giru, QLD. All four crew members on board A16-91 were killed. Their bodies were never recovered. The crew of the other aircraft survived with only minor injuries. Both aircraft were from 32 Squadron RAAF. Sergeant Herman was 28 years old. He is remembered with Honour on The Sydney Memorial Panel 6.

Virtual War Memorial Australia

Wikimedia Commons

Australian War Memorial

Monument Australia

Ronald McGregor HERMAN

Ronald McGregor Herman was born at Largs Bay South Australia on the 15 February 1920 to parents Jessie Perry and Thomas Ernest Herman of Woodville, South Australia. Ronald worked as a clerk at the Perry Engineering Company Adelaide. He enlisted in the RAAF on the 29 April 1940 and commenced training as a Wireless Operator/Air Gunner at No. 1 WAGS Ballarat, Course 1.

The Grieving Mother - 1 WAGS - Ronald McGregor HERMANRonald left Australia for the Middle East in February 1941 serving with 37 Squadron RAF.

On the 9 March 1942, his Wellington Bomber Z9038 collided head-on at take off with another Wellington DV483 at RAF Station Luqa, Malta.

The mines and bombs on board both aircraft started to explode and rescue work continued in spite of the difficulty. Sgt Herman’s body was never recovered. Five crew from the two planes were killed and seven were seriously injured.

Ronald McGregor Herman was 22 years old and is remembered with Honour on The Malta Memorial, Panel 5, Column 2. Malta.

Royal Air Force Commands

Aviation Heritage Museum

Australian War Memorial

 

THE SHEEAN BROTHERS

The Grieving Mother - 1 WAGS - The Sheean Brothers

 
Lorin James SHEEAN

Lorin James Sheean was born on the 16 March 1919 in Ararat Victoria to parents Edward John and Eileen Mary Sheean of Bullaharre Victoria. Lorin’s occupation prior to enlisting was ‘cattle breeder’.

The Grieving Mother - 1 WAGS - Lorin James SHEEANLorin enlisted in the RAAF on the 7 November 1941. He commenced training as a Wireless Operator/Air Gunner at No. 1 WAGS Ballarat on the 5 February 1942 Course 23.

Lorin was posted to No. 76 Squadron RAF at Holme-on-Spalding Moore. He took part as air gunner in operations with Bomber Command over Germany. One such raid has his Halifax aircraft coming under attack by fighters.

At 1639 hours on 21 December 1943 Halifax LK926 took off from Holme-on-Spalding Moor being one of a number of aircraft detailed to bomb Frankfurt, Germany. The last message received from LK 926 was at 2153 hours when in position 51.48N 003.44E. Nothing further was heard and it did not return to base. The remains of two crew members were washed ashore and it was later recorded that the remaining missing crew members had lost their lives at sea. Lorins body was not recovered. He is remembered with Honour at Runnymede Memorial Surrey, UK: Panel 193. He was 24 Years old.

Vimeo - A letter to Mother

 

Brian Leo SHEEAN

Brian Leo Sheean was born in Cheltenham Victoria on the 30 April 1923 to parents Edward John and Eileen Mary Sheean of Cobden Victoria. Brian attended St Patricks College and Warrnambool High School. Brian’s occupation prior to enlisting was ‘School Teacher’.

The Grieving Mother - 1 WAGS - Brian Leo SHEEANBrian enlisted in the RAAF on the 10 October 1941 and commenced Wireless/Air Gunner training at No. 1 WAGS Ballarat on the 23 July 1942 Course 28.

Brian became part of the 466 Squadron RAF in Leconfield Yorkshire UK.

On one particular operation Brian and his crew survived the ditching of Halifax LW521 in the sea off Salcombe, Devon on the 15 March 1944 after being attacked by German fighters. Brian played a pivotal role in sending wireless messages in the hope of being rescued which did result in The Air Sea Rescue Service finding the crew in their dinghy.

A month later Brian and the crew of Halifax LV875 were dispatched from RAF Leconfield on the night of 10/11 April 1944 to bomb Tergnier marshalling yards, France.

 Fifteen aircraft from the Squadron took part in the raid and two of these including LV875 failed to return. It was later established that the aircraft was shot down by a night fighter and crashed near Rosieres-eu-Santerre (Somme) 15 kms north-west of Roye, France. All crew were lost.

Brian is buried at Maharicourt Communal Cemetery Somme, France. He was 19 years old.

Aviation Heritage Museum

Australian War Memorial

 

 THE BOLTON BROTHERS

The Grieving Mother - 1 WAGS - The Bolton Brothers

 

Robert Burns BOLTON

Robert Burns Bolton was born on the 16 July 1912 at Corowa New South Wales to parents Frederick and Bertha Elizabeth Bolton of Corowa NSW. Robert’s occupation was ‘motor garage proprietor’.

The Grieving Mother - 1 WAGS - Robert BoltonRobert enlisted in the RAAF on the 22 April 1940. He qualified as a Fitter 11E at No. 1 Engineering School, Ascot Vale. Later he was posted to No. 1 Air Observers School doing maintenance and overhaul of Cheetah 1x, Gipsy 6, Gypsy 4 and Gypsy minor engines. Robert also had flying experience with dual and solo hours on Gypsy Moths with the Victorian Flying School.

Corporal Robert Bolton was posted to No. 1 Wireless Air Gunners School on the 14 February 1943.

On the 20 February 1944 Cpl Robert Bolton and WO William Alan Howard were killed when their Wackett Aircraft crashed at Chepstowe, near Beaufort. WO Howard left a widow and 2 children and Cpl Bolton a widow, Thelma and young son. Both are buried at the Ballarat New Cemetery. Robert Bolton was 31 years old.

National Archives of Australia

Aviation Heritage Museum

 

George Frederick BOLTON

George Frederick Bolton was born on the 8 December 1914 at Corowa NSW to parents Frederick and Bertha Elizabeth Bolton. He was the husband of Nancye Meredith Bolton. His occupation prior to enlistment was listed as ‘clerk’.

George enlisted in the RAAF on the 3 February 1941 and commenced training at No. 1 Wireless Operator/Air Gunners School on the 6 of March 1941 Course 11.

After graduating George embarked for the UK on the 16 October 1941 spending two months in Canada for further training. George was posted to  No. 23 Operational Training Unit (RAF), Detachment RAF Station Stradishall, Suffolk.

George Frederick Bolton died as a result of air Operations: (No. 23 Operational Training Unit Wellington aircraft N2851), Netherlands, 31 May 1942, Aged 27 Years

Wellington N2851 took off from Stradishall at 2312 hours on the night of 30 May 1942, detailed to attack Cologne, Germany. The aircraft failed to return to base. Following post war enquiries and investigations it was established that the aircraft crashed near Gravendeel Zuid, Holland, and the remains of Flight Sergeant Johnston and Sergeant Broodbank were interred at Grosswijk Cemetery, Rotterdam. The severity of the explosion in the crash was such that it was found impossible to recover the remains of the other three missing crew members and in 1948 it was recorded that they had no known grave. Their names are commemorated on the Memorial to the Missing, Runnymede, UK.

National Archives of Australia

Aviation Heritage Museum

 

LEST WE FORGET

THESE BRAVE AIRMEN
and their GRIEVING MOTHERS and WIVES.

 

 

 

 

 

Acknowledgements

National Archives of AustraliaUBC Web DesignCity of BallaratDepartment of Veterans+39 AffairsAustralian War MemorialRSL Virtual War Memorial