Argyle Michael Bourke

#289, (24 April 1884-1966)
FatherMichael Bourke (23 Jun 1847-27 Nov 1883)
MotherSusannah Alletta Nicholson (16 May 1850-31 Aug 1907)
     (For a brief history and context on the Bourke family see this page)

NOTE: The information on this page is my research to date and is subject to change as I become better informed. I very much welcome any corrections or additional info you might have - my email address is at the bottom of this page - Tim Hill.
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Argyle was born on Thursday, 24 April 1884 at the tin mining town of Stannifer, New South Wales.1 He was the son of Michael Bourke and Susannah Alletta Nicholson. By the time he was born, his father had died. It is most likely that his christian name was in memory of Argyle MacCallum who owned the "Good Hope" homestead near Yass. Donald and Margaret, Argyle's grandparents, apparently lived there, working for the MacCallum family in the late 1840's. Argyle Michael Bourke was also known as Gyle to family. He presumably lived with his mother at the Sydney suburb of Macdonaldtown in May 1888.2

After five years of widow-hood, their mother remarried a John Thomson on 17 May 1888 when Gyle was four. Mr Thomson was an engineer, and was eight years younger than their mother.

Although their mother's new husband called himself an engineer on his marriage certificate, he was apparently working as a publican within a year. This may have been Susannah's influence, given her family's involvement in the hotel trade. However, the situation is clouded due to how common his name was; in any event, it would seem they spent the next six years moving from pub to pub in Sydney. Nearly three years later on Thursday, 10 December 1891 a John Thomson relinquished the licence to at the Captain Cook Hotel Clyde Street in the Sydney suburb of Millers Point.3 On 23 December 1891 a John Thomson relinquished a colonial wine licence associated with at 341 Oxford Street in the Sydney suburb of Paddington.4

In 1893 a John Thomson was the publican of the Blue Anchor at 176 George Street, in Sydney. It is very likely that this is the John Thomson of our interest.5 John acquired the publican's licence to Trafalgar Hotel in Castelreagh Street, in Sydney on Thursday, 29 June 1893 on the same day that he relinquished the licence to the Blue Anchor.6 John acquired the publican's licence to the Glasgow Arms at 312 George Street, in Sydney on Wednesday, 30 August 1893 on the same day that he relinquished the licence to the Trafalgar Hotel.7

The Thompson family were the managers of the Como Hotel, in Como, Sutherland, New South Wales for at least a year or so circa 1895.
The Como Hotel (photographed 1883-1910?)
(source: National Library of Australia - William Robert Easdown collection - nla.pic-vn3297758)


His step-father died 16 March 1898 at the aproximate age of 39. Gyle was aged 13 when this happened.

His mother died 31 August 1907 at the age of 57. Argyle was aged 23 when this happened. She died of cancer after a 10 week illness.. Argyle was employed as a clerk in 1909.8 Argyle lived in 1913 at at The Channings, Gregory Terrace in the Brisbane suburb of Fortitude Valley.9 He was a commercial traveller in 1913.9 Argyle Michael Bourke was also known as Mick. Argyle lived circa March 1915 at Brisbane.10

He enlisted with the AIF on 20 May 1915 at Brisbane at age 31. With the Gallipoli landing less than a month previous, support for the war was strong and many Australian volunteered at this time. Gyle initially failed his medical examination because of his eyesight, but he mentioned to his sister that he was able to have someone "fix it for me"..11,12,13 He was described as 165 pounds, 5 feet, 7 inches, brown hair, grey eyes, fair skin, age 32 on 21 May 1915. He was described as having two vaccination marks on his left arm. He also had a scar on the crown of his head. His chest measurement was 38 1/2 to 40 1/2 inches. on 21 May 1915.14

The later part of his training in July was marked by illness caused by vaccinations, as well as uncertainty about when they were to be sent overseas. He was also unhappy with his initial posting, hoping to be with Val Boyle who was with the 12th Light Horse. Gyle completed his initial training and on August 4th, 1915 was assigned to the 7th reinforcements of the 47th Battalion under the command of 2nd Lt. Cooper. His last weeks in Australia were spent on picket, or guard, duty. He complains of doing 70 hours of this dull task in a single week, but he does not mention that picket duty is often given as a punishment. He finally embarked for the Middle East on August 20th, 1915.15,16

Gyle most likely landed in Alexandria in early October, but was soon transferred to the Aegean island of Lemnos, the main staging post for the Gallipoli campaign, where he joined his battalion on October 23rd. The 15th Battalion had been at Sarpi camp for about 5 weeks recovering from a shocking 5 months at ANZAC cove. Lemnos was a pleasant respite, and with the arrival of reinforcements allowed the battalion to regain some of it's strength. However, almost immediately after Gyle arrived mumps broke out amongst the reinforcements and they were isolated from the rest of the battalion. It was clear, even to his family, that he was bound for Gallipoli.17,18,19,20

It was about this time that General Hamilton, the commander of the Gallipoli forces, was replaced by General Sir Charles Monro. Whilst Hamilton had been a supporter of the campaign to defeat Turkey, Monro was convinced that the war could only be won on the Western front. His mission was to determine if the penninsula was to evacuated, and if not, what level of reinforcements were required to ensure that Constantinople was captured. He made a quick tour of all three bridgeheads, including Anzac cove, but this only confirmed his initial conclusion. On the 31st of October he recommended to Kitchener that the penninsula be evacuated, and that losses could be as high as forty percent - 40,000 men.21

On this same day, the last day of October, the Battalion boarded the Osmanieh and sailed for Gallipoli. They were not able to land on the following night due to rough seas, but landed on the night of the 2nd of November. Once ashore they took up positions in Happy Valley. Happy Valley was considered a nice quiet part of the line, with the trenches well spaced. Heavy snows, though a novelty to the Queenslanders in the Battalion, proved difficult for the poorly equiped troops. The men of the Battalion busied themselves by building a system of underground barracks, storerooms and kitchens, some as much as 50 feet below the surface. By the second week of December it had become obvious that an evacuation was being prepared; the Battalion left ANZAC cove for the last time on December 13th on SS Carron, a week before the the last of the forces left. Miraculously, no lives were lost in the evacuation. During his time at Gallipoli it is unlikely that Gyle had first hand experience of battle with the Turks; "It is doubtful if one member of the 7th or 8th Reinforcements fired a shot in the direction of the enemy".22.19,23

The Battalion spent a short time on Lemnos, but within two weeks was disembarking at Moascar, Egypt. From there they marched to Ismailia on the Suez, where they bivouacked in deep sand bordering the railway line. For the first week discipline was relaxed, but this gave way to a normal camp life of bugle calls and parades. After a further two weeks the battalion was once again moved to a more permanent camp at Moascar, where route marches into the desert became the order of the day. Fortunately, leave to Cairo was frequent.24,25

In late February, he reported sick and was admitted to No.1 Australian Stationery Hospital in Ismailia. The day after this, the Commanding Officer rejoined his Battlion, and they entrained forTel-el-Kebir. Gyle was discharged to duty on March 8th.26,27

In early March there was a major reorganisation of the AIF, and a new Battalion (the 47th) was created from the 15th. Gyle was transferred to this new battalion, along with some of his comrades, but it was primarily formed from new arrivals from Australia. It was generally understood that the 47th was to be sent to the Western Front.28,27,29

On March 17th Gyle skipped camp and was absent for two days. Then, three days later he was caught in Moascar wearing the chevrons of a sergeant. For these two transgressions he was charged by his Commanding Officer with "conduct to the prejudice of good order & military discipline" and sentenced to 15 days of Field Punishment No.2. Additionally, he was to forfeit 19 days of pay.30

In early April the battlion departed Tel-el_Kebir and marched for three days across sand to Serapeum, where they joined the defensive forces around the Suez canal. Much of the time was spent in open manoeuvre work. In mid May they night-marched to Serapeum itself and camped on the banks of the canal.31

On May 20th, he wrote home thanking the family for receipt of a billy full of supplies from home. He did not say much, beyond how busy he was.32

On the first day of June the 4th Division, of which the 47th Battalion was a part, was regarded as fit for active service. Gyle embarked on the Caledonia at Alexandria for Marseilles where they landed on 9th of June. They were almost immediately entrained for Bailleul, arriving there 3 days later. They were then billeted at Outersteene, about a mile from Merris. The troops were excited to be in France, and high spirited incidents were rife. It was at this time that Gyle was charged for the second time, this time being absent from an inspection, resisting arrest, and inciting another digger to disobey an order. For this transgression he was awarded 28 days of Field Punishment No.2.33,34,35,36

By the first week of July, the 47th was moved into the front line for the first time, occupying a quiet sector of the line for a while before relieved and being returned to their billets. However they remained there only a short time before being entrained for the Somme. They moved from one billet to another, from Doullens to Berteaucourt-les-Dames to Vardencourt Wood. At this stage they were in sight of the Cathedral at Albert. Shortly after they crossed what was a few days previously the German front line to take up positions in front of Pozieres. C and D companies occupied the front line with A and B in support. The battalion was now under constant artillery bombardment and casualties were heavy; the two companies in the front line were reduced to half strength, one platoon only mustering one lance-corporal and seven men. What was once a system of trenches was now virtually a "system of shell-holes with dead Germans everywhere".33,34,35,36

After a couple of days the battalion was relieved and marched back to Berteaucourt-les-Dames for a fortnight of training, before entering the front line again at Moquet Farm, a mile from their previous position. Conditions were very difficult with thick mud a foot deep and bodies buried in the slime. In some places water was waist deep. Casualties were again heavy until the 47th was relieved by a Canadian unit in the second week of September and send to billets in the Ypres salient. Here they rested and bathed before they were to be sent to reinforce the front line again.
Gyle wrote briefly about both of these incidents to his friend Val with the 12th Light horse in Egypt, saying "I'm never afraid of the life to come now - it couldn't be worse. And between ourselves I'm mighty glad that I was the only member of our great family and friends who had to do it, it's a thing that can't well be described and one has to be in it to know the horrors ... I thought I was some solider when I met you last but I know more about it now".33,34,35,36

Gyle wrote briefly about both of these incidents to his friend Val with the 12th Light horse in Egypt, saying "I'm never afraid of the life to come now - it couldn't be worse. And between ourselves I'm mighty glad that I was the only member of our great family and friends who had to do it, it's a thing that can't well be described and one has to be in it to know the horrors ... I thought I was some solider when I met you last but I know more about it now". They held the line lightly, until again being retired, this time to Ridge Wood.33,34,35,36

It was about this time that Gyle experienced "defective eyesight" in the field. There is some indication that he was wounded by gas, but it seems more likely that this is a recurrence of the problem that made it difficult for him to enlist. It continued to cause him problems for the duration of the war.37,38,39,40

The Battalion continued to move around between billets as the first bitter days of the awful winter of 1916/1917 made themselves felt. They entrained for the Somme again, once there making short stops at Le Toile, Vignacourt, Flesselles and Dernacourt. At the beginning of November they moved into the line to left of Gueudecourt in relief of the 6th and 12th Battalions. Conditions were very trying with heavy snow falls and mud everywhere. They remained in the line for about 10 days before being moved back to a defensive position known as Switch Trench. From here the Battalion supplied working parties. They continued these same duties in Townsville Camp, before being moved to Flesselles again where the battalion spent New Year's Day.37,38,39,40

It is possible that he had spent some of the previous time as Lance-Corporal; in any event he was promoted to Corporal in early November. However, this was the last active service Gyle was to see. He began leave at about this time.37,38,39,40

He was promoted to the rank of Sergeant circa March 1918 .41 He was promoted to Warrant Officer Class 2 in May 1918 .

Argyle returned to Australia on 3 May 1919 at age 35.11 He was released from active duty in 1919.11 Argyle was ill. Eye disorders.42 Argyle was employed as a salesman in 1921. Argyle was employed as a salesman in 1922.43

He married Daisy May Jean Shoesmith, daughter of Catherine Coley (?), in 1923 at Katoomba, New South Wales.44

On Thursday, 14 February 1924 Gyle and his wife attended the joint birthday party for his brother Don and family friend Val Boyle, hosted for them by his sister Mary and her husband Joe. It was also attended by neighbors and close family friends.45 Gyle and Daisy, his sister Mary and her husband Joe, and their brother Don and his wife Ivy attended a Fools' Cap Ball in aid of St. Margaret's Hospital at the Wentworth Cafe, in Sydney on 3 April 1924.46

Argyle Michael Bourke was an agent in 1930.47 Argyle and Daisy lived in 1930 at at 354 Canturbury Road in the Sydney suburb of Hurlstone Park.48

His sister Mary died on Friday, 27 November 1931 at the age of 52.49 Argyle Michael Bourke was a hospital employee in 1933.50 Argyle and Daisy lived in 1933 at at 382 Park Road in the Sydney suburb of Paddington.50 Argyle Michael Bourke was a hospital attendant in 1936.51 Argyle and Daisy lived in 1936 at at 47 Vaughan Street in the Sydney suburb of Lidcombe.51 Argyle and Daisy lived in 1943 at at 4 George Street in the Sydney suburb of Lidcombe.52 Argyle Michael Bourke was a retiree in 1954.53 Argyle and Daisy lived in 1954 at at 14 Oak Street in the Sydney suburb of North Narrabeen.53

Argyle died in 1966 at St. Leonards.54

Family of Argyle Michael Bourke and Daisy May Jean Shoesmith

Last Edited5 Nov 2013

Timeline

DateEventPlace
Family
Family
1884Birththe tin mining town of Stannifer, New South Wales1
1909Employment8
1913Residence at The Channings, Gregory Terrace in the Brisbane suburb of Fortitude Valley9
1913Occupation9
c 1915ResidenceBrisbane10
c 1915Employment-hide55
1915Mlt inductionBrisbane11,12,13
1915Description
1915Description14
c 1918Mlt promotion41
1918Mlt promotion
1919Mlt return to Aust11
1919Mlt discharge11
Illness42
1921Employment
1922Employment43
1923MarriageKatoomba, New South Wales44
1930Occupation47
1930Residence at 354 Canturbury Road in the Sydney suburb of Hurlstone Park48
1933Occupation50
1933Residence at 382 Park Road in the Sydney suburb of Paddington50
1936Occupation51
1936Residence at 47 Vaughan Street in the Sydney suburb of Lidcombe51
1943Occupation-hide52
1943Residence at 4 George Street in the Sydney suburb of Lidcombe52
1949Occupation-hide56
1949Residence-hideLidcombe56
1954Occupation53
1954Residence at 14 Oak Street in the Sydney suburb of North Narrabeen53
1958Residence-hideNorth Narrabeen57
1963Residence-hideNorth Narrabeen58
1966DeathSt. Leonards54
ChartsBourke family - descendants
Brown family - descendants
Miller Family (Scotland) - descendants
Nicholson Family 1 - descendants
Descendents of Patrick Bourke
Four generations

Citations

  1. [S1] NSW Birth Certificate, Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages 1884 No. 23,195.
  2. [S3] NSW Marriage Certificate, Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages 1888 No.2731.
  3. [S268] The Sydney Morning Herald, 1891 'WATER POLICE LICENSING COURT.', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 11 December, p. 7, viewed 25 September, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13845640
  4. [S641] The Evening News, 1891 'Water Licensing Court.', Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), 26 December, p. 6, viewed 25 September, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article111990802
  5. [S31] Sand's Directory, Sydney & NSW 1893 p.883.
  6. [S268] The Sydney Morning Herald, 1893 'LICENSING COURT.', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 30 June, p. 3, viewed 25 September, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article28262848
  7. [S268] The Sydney Morning Herald, 1893 'WATER POLICE LICENSING COURT.', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 31 August, p. 3, viewed 25 September, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13937470
  8. [S380] Commonwealth of Australia - Electoral Rolls - North Sydney - Manly, Division of North Sydney, Electorate of Manly, 1909 p.3.
  9. [S338] Website Ancestry.com.au (http://www.ancestry.com.au/) Australian Electoral Rolls, 1903-1980 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. District of Brisbane, Subdistrict of Fortitude Valley.
  10. [S196] Letter from Argyle Bourke, to Marie Hill letter dated "Wednesday 1915."
  11. [S144] AIF Nominal Roll 1914-1918,.
  12. [S221] Personnel files for 1st AIF servicemen, Australian Archives Attestation papers p.3.
  13. [S196] Letter from Argyle Bourke, to Marie Hill dated "Sunday 1915."
  14. [S221] Personnel files for 1st AIF servicemen, Australian Archives AIF Attestation papers p.3.
  15. [S221] Personnel files for 1st AIF servicemen, Australian Archives Attestation papers p.3 & p.4.
  16. [S196] Letter from Argyle Bourke, to Marie Hill 3 letters (undated) from Enogerra, July-August 1915.
  17. [S221] Personnel files for 1st AIF servicemen, Australian Archives Casualty Form - Active Service (items 2, 3).
  18. [S204] Collection of letters from Susie Bourke to Marie Hill 1915-1918, 12th October 1915.
  19. [S222] L. Broinowski, Tasmania's War Record 1914-1918.
  20. [S223] T. P. Chataway, History of the 15th Battalion, AIF, 1914-1918.
  21. [S225] Alan Moorehead, Gallipoli p.263.
  22. Chataway p.99
  23. [S223] T. P. Chataway, History of the 15th Battalion, AIF, 1914-1918 p. 97-99.
  24. [S222] L. Broinowski, Tasmania's War Record 1914-1918 p.70.
  25. [S223] T. P. Chataway, History of the 15th Battalion, AIF, 1914-1918 p.102-103.
  26. [S221] Personnel files for 1st AIF servicemen, Australian Archives Statement of Service p. 4 & Casualty Form - Active Service item 4.
  27. [S223] T. P. Chataway, History of the 15th Battalion, AIF, 1914-1918 p.103.
  28. [S221] Personnel files for 1st AIF servicemen, Australian Archives Statement of Service p.4 & casualty Form - Active Service items 7 & 8.
  29. [S222] L. Broinowski, Tasmania's War Record 1914-1918 p.114.
  30. [S221] Personnel files for 1st AIF servicemen, Australian Archives Attestation Paper p.4 and Casualty Form - Active Service item 9.
  31. [S222] L. Broinowski, Tasmania's War Record 1914-1918 p.116-117.
  32. [S196] Letter from Argyle Bourke, to Marie Hill (also letter to Don Bourke) - both 20th May 1916.
  33. [S221] Personnel files for 1st AIF servicemen, Australian Archives Casualty Form - Active Service item 10.
  34. [S221] Personnel files for 1st AIF servicemen, Australian Archives Casualty Form - Active Service item 11.
  35. [S222] L. Broinowski, Tasmania's War Record 1914-1918 p.117-121.
  36. [S224] Letter from Argyle Bourke, to Val Boyle September 24th, 1916.
  37. [S222] L. Broinowski, Tasmania's War Record 1914-1918 p.121.
  38. [S221] Personnel files for 1st AIF servicemen, Australian Archives Active Service item 12.
  39. [S222] L. Broinowski, Tasmania's War Record 1914-1918 p.122.
  40. [S221] Personnel files for 1st AIF servicemen, Australian Archives Attestation of Service p.4 and Casualty Form - Active Service item 13.
  41. [S204] Collection of letters from Susie Bourke to Marie Hill 1915-1918, 15th March 1918.
  42. [S314] Margery Hill.
  43. [S199] Commonwealth / State Electoral Roll, 1900 - 1929 Division of Warringah, Subdivision of Manly, 1922.
  44. [S3] NSW Marriage Certificate, Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages 1923 No. 7784.
  45. [S641] The Evening News, 1924 'For Women—.', Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), 15 February, p. 13, viewed 18 September, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119194972
  46. [S668] The Sunday Times [Sydney], 1924 'FOOLS' CAP BALL.', Sunday Times (Sydney, NSW : 1895 - 1930), 6 April, p. 19, viewed 1 October, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article128152405
  47. [S338] Website Ancestry.com.au (http://www.ancestry.com.au/) Australian Electoral Rolls, 1903-1980 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. District of Parkes, Subdistrict of Ashbury (1930).
  48. [S338] Website Ancestry.com.au (http://www.ancestry.com.au/) Australian Electoral Rolls, 1903-1980 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. District of Parkes, Subdistrict of Ashbury.
  49. [S2] NSW Death Certificate, Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages 1931 No. 20,046.
  50. [S338] Website Ancestry.com.au (http://www.ancestry.com.au/) Australian Electoral Rolls, 1903-1980 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. District of East Sydney, Subdistrict of Paddington (1933).
  51. [S338] Website Ancestry.com.au (http://www.ancestry.com.au/) Australian Electoral Rolls, 1903-1980 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. District of Reid, Subdistrict of Flemington (1936).
  52. [S338] Website Ancestry.com.au (http://www.ancestry.com.au/) Australian Electoral Rolls, 1903-1980 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. District of Reid, Subdistrict of Lidcombe South (1943).
  53. [S338] Website Ancestry.com.au (http://www.ancestry.com.au/) Australian Electoral Rolls, 1903-1980 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. District of MacKellar, Subdistrict of Narrabeen (1954).
  54. [S2] NSW Death Certificate, Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages 1966 No.38008 (index only).
  55. [S221] Personnel files for 1st AIF servicemen, Australian Archives Attestation Paper p.1.
  56. [S338] Website Ancestry.com.au (http://www.ancestry.com.au/) Australian Electoral Rolls, 1903-1980 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. District of Blaxland, Subdistrict of Lidcombe South (1949).
  57. [S338] Website Ancestry.com.au (http://www.ancestry.com.au/) Australian Electoral Rolls, 1903-1980 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. District of MacKellar, Subdistrict of Narrabeen (1958).
  58. [S338] Website Ancestry.com.au (http://www.ancestry.com.au/) Australian Electoral Rolls, 1903-1980 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. District of MacKellar, Subdistrict of Narrabeen (1963).