Written in March 2017 after he saw one of the Anzac Day window displays in our Local Studies office here in the Cambridge Library, Lindsay Evans was inspired to craft this poem.
It is a poem that brings to life the 175 men from the cenotaph in West Leederville, showcasing their everyday lives and careers, reminding us that these were ordinary men in extraordinary circumstances. These men gave their all for our country and freedoms which we hold dear. Like Lindsay, I think we all would agree – “..how can we ever thank you enough?”
Since Anzac Day 2018, staff and patrons of Cambridge Library have been knitting and crocheting poppies, both to send a set to the RSL Poppy Project and to have a set of 175 poppies to display at Cambridge Library. Why 175? Well that is because there are 175 names of men who made the supreme sacrifice listed on the cenotaph in West Leederville, so we wanted one poppy to represent each man.
In the midst of this project to create our own “Flanders Field” of poppies, staff and patrons also expressed their thoughts about poppies, war, sacrifice and peace through poetry.
So it is with great pleasure that we share with you one of the poems from our Armistice Centenary display in the Library, The Poppies by Emily Paull.
The need for a war memorial in West Leederville was first put forward at a public meeting, convened by the Leederville sub-branch of the R.S.L. and the ladies’ auxiliary, in the Leederville Town Hall on Tuesday, 11th July 1922. Many suggestions and comments were made on what constituted an appropriate memorial to the fallen of the district, and subsequently a committee was formed to take up the cause.
Officially unveiled on Sunday 25th May 1924, the war memorial at Cambridge Street, West Leederville contained originally 88 names on a bronze slab on the front of a pedestal. “It is a granite obelisk rough hewn, and mounting upwards from a base of massive proportions. Facing outwards from each corner are four crouching lions, sculptured in white marble… Thanks mainly to the efforts of the women and children of the district, the memorial would be handed over to the trustees free of debt, which was as it should be, when it was remembered it was erected in memory of men who though no sacrifice too great… The Governor [Sir Frances Newdegate said in his speech that] the memorial would serve as a fitting monument to those who had achieved great glory. There were three great reasons for the erection of the memorial: (1) Affection for those who had fallen: (2) respect and sympathy for those who had gone and returned and for the relative of those who had not: and (3) a lasting object-lesson of the patriotism and duty of the people of Leederville.” 
In a photograph published in the newspapers of the day, you can see Cambridge Street, heading towards Perth, CBD and the Leederville memorial on the left. The dark rectangular section appearing on the lower part of the obelisk, above the four lions, is most likely the bronze plaque containing the names of 88 local boys.
The war memorial was designed by Pietro Giacomo Porcelli (1872-1943) a sculptor of considerable note in Western Australia; he was born in Bisceglie, Bari, Italy on the 30th January 1872. At the age of eight he went to Sydney with his father and became interested in drawing and sculpting. Later Porcelli trained at the Royal Academy of Naples, Italy and won many prizes for his works whilst earning his diploma. In 1898 Porcelli came to Western Australia with his father and started to carve out a name for himself. Porcelli designed and crafted many statues, busts and memorials, two of his most famous being the C. Y. O’Connor Memorial and the Midland Railway Workers’ Peace Memorial. He designed many war memorials including the Yarloop War Memorial which also features similar lion sculptures to the West Leederville memorial. The Yarloop lions are however placed much lower down and closer to the base of the memorial than those at West Leederville.
During the 1930s it appears from newspaper articles that the West Leederville sub-branch of the R.S.L. put out the call to add more names to the memorial stating that it “is difficult to get the names of everybody. It is thought that there are quite a number of names not recorded, so relations are asked to get in touch with the sub-branch”  This then explains how one bronze plaque became four marble panels containing 125 names.
On the Centenary of Anzac, the 25th April 2018, the Town of Cambridge added 50 extra names to the memorial, replacing the old north facing panel with new marble carved with the original names at top and the new names below, taking the total number of soldiers listed on the memorial to 175.
A feature on the West Leederville War Memorial is the four crouching lions made from white marble and each of their bronze shields. Each shield names a major conflict zone in World War I, fields of war where the majority of the Leederville men fell. The shields read: Belgium, Gallipoli, France and Palestine. Some say that crouching lions are symbols of the British Empire  they are also known to convey a sense of majesty and awe. Lions being bold animals, they also signify courage in heraldry, so the four lions on the West Leederville memorial are apt to represent our courageous serving men and women, both past and present.
Names on the West Leederville Cenotaph “Our Heroes
Erected by the Residents of Leederville to the Sacred Memory of the HEROES who enlisted from this district and fell in the war 1914 – 1918″
Anthony, George Henry
Atkins, Francis Edward
Aylett, Frank Thomas Lewis
Bamford, Charles Edwin
Bartlett, John Edwin
Blechnyden, Leslie Thomas
Blick, Percival Swithin
Bowen, James William
Brady, Edgar Vernon
Bray, Harold Oswald
Bromham, Louis Frederick
Brown, Thomas Hugh
Brown, Charles (WWII)
Caporn, Walter Edward
Carlin, Eric Brooke
Carter, Harold Reginald
Challenger, Frederick Gordon
Chappell, Alfred Hart
Clark, Herbert Holman
Cocks, Frederick James
Cornish, Reginald Henry
Crawford, William James
Darby, Edward Harry
Dawson, Frank Willis
Debnam, George Parkman
Denton, Arthur Jacob
Deverell, Louis Horatio Albert
Dixon, H F A
Drabble, Wilfred Ernest
Dunstan, Percy Philip
Edmondson, James Whittaker
Eliasson, Carl Alfred
Elliot, Thomas Hampton
Flanagan, Frances Charles (WWII)
Foster, Thomas Charles
Furniss, James Stewart
George, Frederick Ralph
Gilbert, Percy George
Graham, John Charles
Graham, James m.m.
Grant, Donald McDonald, AKA Donald Maxwell Grant.
Haley, Frederick Lewis
Hancey, Edwin Banthorpe
Hawkes, Frederick Henry
Henderson, Edward Thomas
Hennerty, Joseph Leonard
Hill, Rowland Joseph
Hinson, Charles Henry
Holden, Charles Edwin
Holder, John Leggo
Horley, David George (WWII)
Hutchins, Victor Charles
Hutchinson, James Wesley
Ion, J P (WWII)
Ivison, James Miller
James, Albert Victor Gordon
Jones, Charles Edward
Kempton, Clarence Thomas (WWII)
Kneebone, Joseph Keith (WWII)
Kyrwood, Roy Garfield
Lamerton, George Arthur
Lamerton, William John
Lewis, Griffith David
Mansfield, Herbert Alfred
Marquis, Clarence George
Marsland, John Charles
Martin, C T
McCormack, John Joseph
McDonald, I S
McGovern, Kevin M
McGuire, Martin Augustus
McMillan, T J (MM)
McNeill, Norman Frederick
McRostie, William Bertram
Miles, Robert Steven MC
Minn, Robert Charles
Moore, John William Beverhoudt
Moran, Alfred Stephen
Mosey, Joseph Albert
Mullane, John James Christopher
Mullane, William Edward
Munday, Charles Forrest Hill
Newman, Jack Carter
Oates, Clifford Nicholas
Oversby, Thomas Edward
Paterson, William Hamilton
Pearson, Horace William
Plummer, Harold Alexander
Porter, George John
Power, Robert (WWII)
Priestley, Henry James Vivian
Rickson, Stanley Ernest
Robertson, Percy William
Saunders, R V
Selby, Samuel Vaughan
Siggs, Roland Alfred
Simcock, David John
Smeed, Leonard Arthur
Smith, Farquhar Hugh Arpafeelie
Smith, H W V
Smith, R O
Smith, Frederick William
Smith, Stewart Irwin
Souter, James McGurgan
Stranger, Thomas James
Sumner, Cyril William
Taylor, E J
Taylor, R J
Thomas, William Arnold Spencer
Thorpe, Charles Forder Thorpe
Tough, Robert Alfred Edgar
Townshend, Edwin Hepburn
Tuffin, Edwin (WWII?)
Vernede, Charles William Ewart (WWII)
Walsh, Thomas Henry
Warden, James Greig
Wilkes, Herbert (MM)
Wisher, Stewart Frederick
Wrightson, Arthur Harry
Wyatt, Wyatt James
Look out for Part Two of the story of the West Leederville War Memorial next week…
 A war memorial can also be referred to as a cenotaph or fallen soldiers’ memorial.
Shortly before dawn on 25 April 1915 Western Australians from the 11th Battalion, A I F, made an opposed landing on the Gallipoli peninsular. Among them was thirty-two year old Private John Simcock.
David, son of Edward and Bertha Simcock, was born in Callington, South Australia, in 1883. The family moved to Perth about 1904-5. In 1906, the same year his father died, David met and married Ellen Jane Collins. The couple bought a house in Derby Street, West Leederville opposite Ellen’s parents, and had their first child, Doris Evelyn, in 1907. A second child, Norman David, was born in 1911.
David tried his hand at a number of jobs before purchasing a barrow license and selling fruit from the corner of High and Market Streets, Fremantle. His lively banter and keen sense of humour ensured his barrow was always well patronised. People crowded around, watching him sell his wares or reading his entertaining and amusing signs.
Having red hair, David promoted himself as ‘the bloke with the pink top’. The nickname stuck. Good salesmanship and quality produce ensured Pink Top’s business would prosper.
In 1909 he took a lease on a former bootmaker’s shop at 126 Barrack Street, Perth, and registered it as a fruit shop. The West Australian newspaper subsequently reported that his ‘altogether novel methods of effecting rapid sales, his known wit and his no mean gift as an orator, made him a conspicuous figure and he soon became one of the identities of the city’.
On Saturday nights, in order to clear his stock, he would sell a bag of fruit for a shilling. Special customers would find threepence in the bottom of the bag. Trams, which ran past the front of his shop, were often held up by the crowds he attracted.
Early in 1914 David opened a second shop in Fremantle, on the corner of High and Pakenham Streets. He advertised the fact with an ad in the Fremantle Herald newspaper in which he called himself ‘Pink Top – the red-headed Chinaman’, an obvious play on the local Chinese market gardeners.
David enlisted not long after war was declared. No. 951, Private David John Simcock, H Company 11th Battalion, A.I.F., passed his medical on 11 September 1914. He was then thirty-one years of age. The surviving medical report notes that David stood five feet eight and a half inches tall, weighed one hundred and forty-four pounds and had a chest measurement of thirty six and one half inches. He was of fair complexion, blue eyes and had ‘ruddy’ hair.
On his attestation paper, signed at Blackboy Hill training camp the same day, David nominated his wife, Ellen Simcock, of 4 Holyrood Street, West Leederville, as his next of kin.
Prior to leaving for Gallipoli the 11th Battalion’s commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Lyon-Johnston, had suggested a group photograph to ‘commemorate the campaign and be a souvenir of the war’.
All members not on duty were paraded in front of the Great Pyramid of Cheops. It was subsequently reported that as ‘soon as the vast crowd had placed themselves upon the lower strata of the said relic of the Pharaohs, someone asked where Pink Top was. “Down here!” called out a private in the foundation layer. “Send him up to the top of all the men!” called out the Colonel. “We must have Pink Top at the apex”.’
Whether the story is true or not, Private David Simcock can be clearly seen standing to attention at the top of his battalion in the historic pyramid photograph.
David was amongst the many West Australians who landed at Gallipoli on the 25th of April 1915.
Curiously, despite David’s popularity, there is an element of mystery about the cause, and date of his death. According to one newspaper report, David was killed on 25 April. It claimed that ‘The officer in charge of his company was shot down and, there being no one to lead the men, “Pinktop” volunteered and took command. He gave the order to charge, and they did not stop until poor “Pinktop” had just gained the top of the hill. Just as he said, “Come on boys”, he was hit full in the face by shrapnel and blown to pieces’.
Apparently based on the same source, another report, in the 15 June 1915 edition of the West Australian newspaper, claimed that Simcock’s end was a gallant one, having been ‘killed by shrapnel while leading his company in a charge on the Turkish positions after all the officers had been shot down’.
In 1921, in the second volume ‘Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-18 – The Story of Anzac’, the noted author and war correspondent C.E.W. Bean gave a different account of David’s death. He wrote that on the night of Sunday 25 April, Simcock was killed while trying to bring a wounded man into cover during a Turkish attack on Baby 700.6
In 1940, writer of the unit history of the 11th Battalion, provided yet another account and a later date of David’s death. This source claimed that Simcock had been killed in early May by a sniper on Sniper’s Ridge. He wrote that ‘Poor old “Pinktop” was killed early in the action through bobbing up and down in the trench, trying to get a look at what was going on. Unfortunately, he bobbed up once too often’.7 According to defence department records, however, David John Simcock, 11th Battalion, 3rd Infantry Brigade, was killed in action at the Dardenelles on 2 May 1915.
Regardless of how he met his end, David Simcock, the irrepressible ‘Pink Top’, was widely mourned by fruit growers and others in the market industry as well as his countless friends and customers. For many years, however, David’s memory lived on, immortalized by his Barrack Street fruit shop which continued to trade until 1979 under the name ‘The Pink Top’.
David Simcock is buried in the Baby 700 cemetery. He lies with 492 other Commonwealth servicemen who are commemorated in this cemetery but there are some 450 men who are yet to be unidentified.
Born on the 24th June 1889 in Fernvale Queensland. He was the eighth of eleven children to James and Wilhelmina Crawford originally from Dundee Scotland and who immigrated to Queensland in 1883. The family moved to Western Australia around 1890.
The family lived at ‘Villa Dundee’ 23 Trevarton Street Leederville.
‘Fat’ lived at the above address and at 43 Loftus Street Leederville.
184 Carr Street Leederville was also a family home.
He played football with East Perth Football Club from 1908 until he enlisted in 1916. He played a total of 97 games and kicked 13 goals. Two other brothers, David and Harold also played for EPFC.
On the 8th January 1913 he married Ethel May Harris of Dudley Street Perth. He was 23 and Ethel was 20. They listed their occupations as Horse Driver and Home Duties.
There were two children to the marriage. Vera May born on the 26th June 1913 and James Herbert born 22nd December 1914.
‘Fat’ enlisted in the AIF on the 3rd April 1916 at Leederville along with his friend and brother in law Herbert Harris. Also known as Bert or Snow.
At enlistment ‘Fat’ was 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighed 160 pounds.
They were both allocated as 5th reinforcements to the 51st Battalion on the 1st May 1916 and embarked from Fremantle for England on the 26th September aboard HMAT UGANDA (A66).
They disembarked at Plymouth England on the 16th November 1916.
After training they embarked from Folkstone for Etaples France aboard SS ARUNDEL on the 12th December 1916.
They were taken on strength with the 51st Battalion on the 19th December 1916.
‘Fat’ was wounded in action during the Battle of Polygon Wood on the 26th September 1917 and taken to the 3rd Canadian Casualty Clearing Station in Belgium where he died on the 27th September 1917.
Brother in law Bert had died from wounds on the 28th August 1917 some 4 weeks previously.
‘Fat’ lies buried in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery in Belgium.
‘Fat’s’ brother John Henry (Jack) service number 438 enlisted on the 6th January 1916 aged 19 years and served with the 44th Battalion 11th Brigade until discharge on the 22nd August 1919. He served for 3 years and 229 days.
by Jim Crawford, grandson of William James ‘Fat’ Crawford
Silver Medal awarded to William James Crawford a member of the Leederville Volunteer Fire Brigade team that competed at the Western Australian Fire Brigade Demonstrations (WAFBD) in Boulder during April of 1908. The inscription on the reverse of the medal reads:
2nd Y Coupling 8 Men
The gold medal went to Boulder, the hosts of the demonstrations. The Western Mail reported the results of the competition:
“Y Coupling and Ladder Practice (eight men), Boulder. 41 [points] 3- 5 secs (record for Western Australia) Leederville, 45 2-5 sec; Cue, 46 2-5 sec. In this event North Fremantle were disqualified.” (Western Mail, Saturday 25 April 1908, p. 17)
Regular fire brigade demonstrations were held to build and test the skills of the men and as most firemen in the time of William Crawford were volunteers, such competitions were fierce and required a high level of physical prowess. The competition for which William won this medal was called the Y Coupling (for 8 men):
“Eight men from each brigade to run 10 yards, pick up and run with hose reel 30 yards to plug, run out length wet canvas hose, break coupling, fix branch, and strike with water a disc 15ft. from the ground; run out another length of hose, disconnect branch and couple first and second length of hose and insert Y coupling, run out another length of hose and attach to Y coupling and take same up ladder and strike disc.”
(description given in The West Australian, Thursday 31 March 1910, p. 5)
Ephemera and Medals from Pte William Crawford’s Football Days
Best Ruck Man award from Leederville Football Club Season 1908 (Front)
From the war service notebook of Pte W. J. Crawford…..
William James Crawford
Leederville volunteer fire brigade officer;
Husband and Father
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them (1).
Discover the stories of our brave men and women from the area within the Town of Cambridge throughout the years by following the link below.
“Cambridge Remembers” a collection within our Cambridge Notes database that honours our heroes and heroines:
Images of marble memorial erected by Margery Grace Edmondson for her husband in St Barnabas’ Anglican Church, West Leederville, the outside of the church, and image of the memorial plaque in situ taken by Rosemary Ritorto, Local Studies Librarian, August 2018.