104 years ago in Shellharbour

… my father was born. Here he is while in the RAAF during World War 2:


And this is the only picture I have of his mother, Henrietta, who died before I was born.


Now I suspect I have found her again on Trove in The Sydney Mail of 5 June 1918. She is top right:


It says “Mrs D Whitfield” but the only candidate near that name would have been “Mrs T D Whitfield”, so I think it may be my grandmother, whose son Ken was still overseas in the AIF at that time.



If it is her she looks careworn: not surprising. Hers was a tragic life in many ways. See Neil’s personal decades 26: Whitfields, Christisons, and more — 1915.

In Shellharbour the home front for my family was a sad place in 1915, as posted in More Whitfield family history last year.

My uncle, Colin Whitfield

Obviously I never knew him, nor he me, though when I was in high school I used an Algebra textbook that was in our house, inscribed with his name. This is such a sad story. I had never before seen this detailed version, though it confirms the oral accounts I have had of that dreadful tragedy back in Shellharbour in 1915. Illawarra Mercury 9 April 1915.


My grandfather and grandmother had already lost two other sons, Aubrey (1893-1906) and Thomas W (1906-1906).