P.W. Wagstaff

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History

Percy William Wagstaff was born in Leggatt Street, Daylesford on 22 October 1880, the son of Thomas Francis Wagstaff and Catherine Foley.[1]

In 1896, Thomas was the Mine Manager for the Last Chance Mine at Yandoit, and provided a reference stating that Percy had had worked for that company for the past twelve (12) months as a miner.[2]

In 1899, Jas. M. Tonkin, Mine Manager, South Belle Vue United Company, Golden Square, Bendigo, certified that Percy Wagstaff had worked for the South Belle Vue United Coy for a period of two years and was experienced with Rock Drills.[3]

On 13 November 1902, Percy was issued his Certificate, which entitled him to drive link motion winding engines and loose eccentric winding engines.[4]

He obtained a Certificate of Competency with the Victorian Mines Department and a 1st Class Mining Managers' Certificate of Mining, and a Certificate of Competency Mining Manager at the Bendigo School of Mines in February 1914.[5]

In 1925 Percy Wagstaff was working at the Bendigo School of Mines, Victoria.[6]

Percy William Wagstaff died on 8 September 1941 at Thornbury, Victoria, age 60.[7]

Military Experience

Thirty Five year old Wagstaff enlisted on 22 February 1916, joining the 5th Tunnelling Company as a Captain. At the time of his enlistment her was working as a mining engineer. His next of kin was Florence Esther Wagstaff who was living at 77 Allingham Street, Golden Square, Bendigo, Australia.[8] He stated he was living at Daylesford and that his Civil Employment was as Mining Engineer or Mining Manager.[9]

Captain Wagstaff left Australia in transport HMAT Warilda on 25 May 1916. He was transferred to the 2nd Tunnelling Company on 11 October 1916, and was temporarily attached for duty with the 2nd Divisional Engineers on 16 December 1916. He returned to Australia on the HMAT Ulysses, embarking on 22 July 1919.[10]

Honors and Awards

Captain Percy Wagstaff was mentioned in despatches by Lieutenant General Sir W.R. Birdwood relating to the conspicuous services rendered by Captain P.W. Wagstaff, 2nd Tunnelling Company on 3 April 1917. [11]

The Army Corps Commander wishes to express his appreciation of the conduct of Captain P.W. Wagstaff, 2nd Tunnelling Company, attached to the 2nd Divisional Engineers for the following excellent work which has been brought to his notice by the French Mission.
As the result of a recent explosion two French Deputies and some soldiers were buried. Captain Wagstaff at his own personal risk, and under most difficult circumstances, directed the work of rescue day and night, with the result that some of the soldiers were rescued alive, and the bodies of the Deputies were recovered.[12]

He was awarded the Croix de Guerre on 12 February 1919. The decoration was conferred by the President of the French Republic. He was also awarded the Medaille de Sauvetage on Vermeil by the French authorities on 21 February 1922.[13]

LETTERS FROM SOLDIERS. - CAPTAIN P. W. WAGSTAFF. - MENTIONED IN DESPATCHES.

Mr. F. G. Wilkinson, of High-street, Bendigo, has received a letter from his son-in-law (Captain P. W. Wagstaff), who was formerly a mining manager in Bendigo.

Captain Wagstaff stated that he had been congratulated in Anzac orders by General Birdwood. An extract is as follows:-
“153. Congratulatory. The Army Corps Commander wishes to express his appreciation of the conduct of Captain P. W. Wagstaff, 2nd Australian Tunnelling Company, attached Division Engineers; No.2166, Private H. Hewett; No.2188, Private R. J. Moran, both of the 28th Battalion, A.I.F., for the following excellent work brought to his notice by the French mission :- As the result of an explosion, two French deputies and some soldiers were buried. Captain Wagstaff, at his own personal risk, and under most difficult circumstances, directed the work of rescue day and night, with the result that some of the soldiers were rescued alive, and the bodies of the deputies were recovered. Privates Hewett and Moran, who were members of the party, worked incessantly under Captain Wagstaff in a most efficient manner, and under very dangerous conditions, and their constant labor helped greatly in the work of rescue.” Continuing, Captain Wagstaff stated:- “I was on the job for 64 hours without sleep, and worked 16 hours each of the following two days. It was a wearying time, but we were all buoyed up when we began pulling up the men who had been entombed for many hours. Had a few days rest since then. Will soon be busy again. We all want to finish off the Hun as quick as possible, and return to our own sunny land.”[14]

Obituary

Mr. P. W. Wagstaff, Chief Mining lnspector and Chief Inspector of Boilers, Mines Department died on Monday aged 60 years. Mr Wagstaff was appointed in 1924 to the Mines Department after extensive experience as a mine manager at Bendigo, Daylesford and in NSW. He supervised mining in Gippsland for 9 years and was transferred to Bendigo in 1933. Mr Wagstaff was promoted Chief Mining Inspector in 1936, and to the additional post of Chief Inspector of Boilers in 1939. At the time of his death he was a member of the Sludge Abatement Board and the Bendigo Creek Trust and was chairman of the board of examination for mine managers and for engine drivers.
During the last war Mr. Wagstaff was commanding officer of the 5th Australian Tunnelling Company, and served overseas for 3 years. He is survived by a widow and an adult family.[15]

See also

2nd Tunnelling Company

5th Tunnelling Company

Awards & Honors

Daylesford

References

  1. www.tunnellers.net/profiles.../wagstaff_percy_william_capt.doc, accessed 28 September 2014.
  2. www.tunnellers.net/profiles.../wagstaff_percy_william_capt.doc, accessed 28 September 2014.
  3. www.tunnellers.net/profiles.../wagstaff_percy_william_capt.doc, accessed 28 September 2014.
  4. www.tunnellers.net/profiles.../wagstaff_percy_william_capt.doc, accessed 28 September 2014.
  5. http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au NAA: B2455, WAGSTAFF PERCY WILLIAM
  6. www.tunnellers.net/profiles.../wagstaff_percy_william_capt.doc, accessed 28 September 2014.
  7. www.tunnellers.net/profiles.../wagstaff_percy_william_capt.doc, accessed 28 September 2014.
  8. http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au NAA: B2455, WAGSTAFF PERCY WILLIAM
  9. https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.aspx?B=11602909
  10. http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au NAA: B2455, WAGSTAFF PERCY WILLIAM
  11. http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au NAA: B2455, WAGSTAFF PERCY WILLIAM
  12. Promulgated in Military Order no 290 of 30th June, 1917.
  13. https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.aspx?B=11602909
  14. Bendigonian, 21 June 1917.
  15. The Argus, 10 September 1941.

Other links

www.tunnellers.net/profiles.../wagstaff_percy_william_capt.doc


--Cgervasoni (talk) 23:11, 23 July 2014 (EST)


Can you assist this project by supplying photos or more information on P.Wagstaff? We are looking for copies of photographs and memorabilia relating to tunnellers from the Ballarat Electorate. If you can help, please drop us a line: miningmudandmedals@gmail.com