Trooper Ernest Weeks circa 1915. Photo: Helen Smith Dragon Genealogy HVS Research.
Trooper Ernest Weeks circa 1915. Photo: Helen Smith Dragon Genealogy HVS Research.

‘Justice’ sought for soldier found dead in river

AN AUSTRALIAN soldier who "fell through the cracks" and was not recognised for his service after he was found floating in the Bremer River could have justice more than 100 years after his death.

It will be down to the hard work and perseverance of author and history buff Harold Peacock that Trooper Ernest William Weeks gets official acknowledgment for his service at the Australian War Memorial.

Constables John Green of Booval and John Smith of Redbank were called to the Bremer River near the ferry at Riverview on August 30, 1919.

5th Australian Light Horse Regiment Cairo Egypt 1915. Trooper 748 Ernest William Weeks (second from right). Photo: Australian War Memorial
5th Australian Light Horse Regiment Cairo Egypt 1915. Trooper 748 Ernest William Weeks (second from right). Photo: Australian War Memorial

They found the floating body of a man who was missing two fingers and wearing the uniform of the 5th Australian Light Horse Regiment.

World War I had ended the year before and soldiers were slowly being brought home.

Trooper Weeks had been reported missing by friends two weeks earlier in Brisbane.

With plans to travel from his home by what is now the Roma Street Parklands to Taringa by train, he was never seen again until his body was found floating in the Bremer.

Trooper Weeks was 23 when he enlisted for the war in 1914 and served in Gallipoli and Palestine.

He had only landed back in Brisbane on August 3.

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His body was buried at the Toowong Cemetery but Mr Peacock discovered that his army records showed he was discharged on October 4, two months after he was found dead.

He had died while still serving in the Australian Army but he was never included on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

Mr Peacock sent his evidence for Trooper Weeks' inclusion and was told this month a case had been written for his recommendation.

It will be presented to the memorial's council at its next meeting in March.

The Honour Roll team recommended the names of about 20 World War I soldiers who "fell through the cracks" last year.

If Trooper Weeks is accepted by the council he will be added to the Roll of Honour database and his name would then be cast in bronze alongside more than 100,000 others.

"I wanted to correct that," Mr Peacock said.

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Mr Peacock, who is writing a book to be released next month, has run his History Out There website for more than five years and has been focusing on Ipswich for the past eight months.

The accounting consultant lives in the western side of Brisbane and has strong links to Ipswich through work and sport.

"There's just that richness of history there," he said.

"The whole city is a great story.

"Ipswich has gone through some tough times over the last few years.

"I'm hoping (my work) can unearth that really rich and interesting history and hopefully restore that little bit of pride back in Ipswich.

"It is pretty exciting that Ernest Weeks is close to being recognised.

"There have been quite a few guys who fell through the cracks and just haven't been acknowledged.

"The Australia War Memorial are aware of this now.

"I'm trying to track down living relatives to share the good news.

"I've gotten on to one person who is a great grand niece on the north side but she hasn't replied yet."

Read more stories by Lachlan McIvor here.



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