On the 2 February 1915 Driver Arthur William Bugg of the Australian Army Service Corps set sail from his native Melbourne, Australia on HMAT Chilka heading for the Middle East and Gallipoli campaign. Three months earlier he had been working as a gardener at Melbourne Botanic Gardens. He was never to see Melbourne again. Nine months later from the day of his embarkation, Arthur died of illness (meningitis) in a Cairo hospital on the 2nd November 1915
Revisiting the article I wrote for BGEN called Using the garden ghosts of your wartime or historic past there is a section on staff memorial trees at Kew Gardens (the recently 2014 storm-felled ‘Verdun Oak’), the Ginkgo trees at Kilmacurragh and at Melbourne. The Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne page that I originally found is now a ‘vanished link’ on the internet (originally from 1996, http://www.msk.id.au/ memorials2/pages/30560).
With the interest in WW1 anniversary and Gallipoli centenary in 2015, this information should be back in the public domain.
There is now a brief new link page at Monuments Australia http://monumentaustralia.org.au/themes/conflict/multiple/display/32471-royal-botanic-gardens-staff-memorial-tree In case it vanishes again, here are the details: “The memorial tree is a Brush Box (Lophostemum confertus) and commemorates two employees of the Royal Botanic Gardens who died on active service – Arthur William Bugg (1895 – 1915) who died during World War 1 and E.J. Hiskins who died during World War 2.”
“A commemorative plaque is mounted on the trunk of the tree. The tree was planted by Ernest Henry Bugg (1881-1971) on 10 September 1946. Ernest Henry Bugg was the elder brother of Arthur William Bugg and also served in the AIF (Australian Imperial Force) during World War 1.”
Lophostemon confertus BRUSH BOX. Planted in memory of members of the staff who died in Active Service.
Driver A.W. Bugg, AIF 1915.
Flight Sergeant E.J. Hiskins, RAAF 1944.
10th September 1946
Melbourne Botanic Garden’s WW1 casualty
Arthur William Bugg was born in the Melbourne suburb of St. Kilda on 28 January 1895 and was the son of Henry isaac Bugg and Drusilla Martha Sophie Bugg (nee Carroll). He went to St Kilda State School in Melbourne.
Arthur served as a Driver (service no 5207) in 12th Company, Australian Army Service Corps as part of the 13th Light Horse Brigade Train 3. The 3rd Light Horse Brigade Train were primarily recruited around the Melbourne area and trained at Broadmeadows.
A photograph of him exists amnogst thousands of Australian casulaties at http://vic.ww1anzac.com/bu.html
Bugg enlisted on 29 December 1914, aged 19. He was speedily embarked as he had already been enlisted before the war as a Territorial in the 28th Australian Army Service Corps.
After Arthur embarked on HMAT A51 Chilka on 2nd February 1915, he disembarked in Egypt and underwent further training at Mena Camp. It seems likely that he and his Company saw service in Gallipoli.The HMAT A51 Chilka, owned by the British India Steam Navigation Co Ltd, London, was leased by the Commonwealth on war service until 4 August 1915.
Arthur died at Heliopolis, Egypt on 2nd November 1915 aged 20 as a result of meningitis.
He is buried in the Cairo War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt and is also remembered on the headstone of his maternal grandparents, William and Ellen Currell, in St. Kilda Cemetery, Melbourne. He is also remembered on panel Number 181 of the Australian National War Memorial.
Like 62,000 other lost Australians from WW1, Arthur Bugg’s name will be individually projected for 30 seconds onto the exterior wall of the of the Australian War Memorial thirty times throughout 2015 to 2018 – see their website for details – beginning on Thursday 19 February 2015, 12.24 a.m.
The CWGC website lists him as “Son of Henry Bugg, of 13, Smith St., St. Kilda, Victoria, Australia.” Although there appears to be no cross by request, there is the simple inscription “Peace” at the base of his headstone at the request of his father listed in CWGC Headstone schedules.
There is an interesting Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour Circular of biographical details supplied by his parents.He was his father proudly recalls him as a boy as “One of the first Baden Powell Scouts formed in St. Kilda [Melbourne]”
More can be read about Bugg’s life on the AIF website, which mentions us occupation as a “gardener” at the Melbourne Botanic Gardens: www.aif.adfa.edu.au/showPerson?pid=38240. There is more at RSL Virtual War Memorial www.rslvirtualwarmemorial.org.au/explore/people/339423
Bugg’s headstone can be seen on the War Grave Photographic Project website.
Apparently this Staff Memorial Tree was mentioned in an article published in the Australian Herald-Sun newspaper on 23rd March 1992 in conjunction with the Botanic Gardens Revitalisation Appeal. The article, entitled “Family Tree for Buggs” included a photograph of Ernest Bugg planting the tree in 1946 and a photograph of some of his descendents who attended a family reunion at the memorial tree in 1992. Hopefully I or somebody can track these 1992 photos down via the Herald-Sun newspaper website.
Photographs of the planting and of the families can be seen in cuttings and photographs from scrapbooks in the State Botanical Collection, Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne/Archive: https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2015/02/25/54606/
There is also information about the Gallipoli Oaks project.
Melbourne Botanic Garden’s WW2 Casualty
The original memorial tree website said that “information regarding E.J. Hiskins would be welcomed“.
His CWGC records list him as Flight Sergeant Ernest Joseph Hiskins, Royal Australian Air Force, 410058, who died in action in an air crash on the 15th April 1944. He is remembered on Panel 9 of the Northern Territory Memorial, alongside his pilot H.S. Ashbolt. He is listed as the son of Ernest Barton Hiskins and Alice Mary Hiskins, of Brunswick, Victoria, Australia.
The Northern Territory Memorial stands in Adelaide River War Cemetery and is one of several memorials erected to commemorate 289 men of the Australian Army, the Royal Australian Air Force and the Australian Merchant Navy who have no known grave and lost their lives in operations in the Timor and Northern Australian regions and in waters adjacent to Australia north of Latitude 20 South. Again I will look for some additional information on his service and the circumstances of his death.
Hiskens is also remembered on Panel 102 of the Australian National War Memorial in Canberra.
So far I have found newspaper listings of his being “previously posted missing now presumed dead” in the latest RAAF casaulty list published in Australian newspapers on 29 September 1944, www.nla.gov.au/nla.news-article.11363210
A year earlier in the Argus, Melbourne Victoria of 27 November 1943, under Family Notices is the happier news of his marriage or engagement to Peggy, only child of Mr and Mrs M.J. Stanton, 10 Ryan Street, Coburg to Flight Sergeant E.J. Hiskins, RAAF, second son of Pte. And Mrs Hiskins (E.B) 53 Lydia Street, Brunswick. www.nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11800090.
On most of his records his mother Alice is is next of kin and his marriage is not mentioned but this marriage or engagement coincided with a period of special leave in his records.
The circumstances of his death are sketched out in the research on his crashed plane a Beaufighter of 31 Squadron on the ADF Serials website www.adf-serials.com.au/2a19.htm
His Beaufighter plane a Mk. X Beaufighter had the RAAF serial number A19-178, and the RAF serial number LZ201. There are several codes next to its history 30/11/44 2AD, 19/01/44 5AD, 11/03/44 3 AD then 16/03/44 31 Squadron.
There is much about 31 Squadron on the Australian War memorial website, including photographs. It mentions that No. 31 Squadron, based at Coomalie Creek (near Darwin, Australia), flew ground attack sorties against the Japanese in Timor and the Netherlands East Indies, as well as anti-shipping patrols and convoy protection missions.
On 15 April 1944, there is an entry:
“Damaged by Japanese Anti Aircraft Fire which knocked out starboard engine. After flying for 20 minutes on port engine, aircraft lost height and crashed into the Timor Sea.”
The crew Pilot Flight Sergeant H.S.Ashbolt, and Navigator Flight Sergeant E.J. Hiskins were in action as part of formation of 31 Squadron Beaufighters were attacking Japanese positions at Soe village in Timor. According to his ADF Gallery / RAAF file, his Beaufighter developed a starboard engine oil leak from Japanese anti aircraft fire:
“the aircraft was seen to lose speed and height and strike the water 60 nautical miles off the South Coast of Timor. The only wreckage was part of a fin, wing, dinghy and three fuel tanks. There was no sign of the crew.”
Ernest’s ‘Circular’ record lists him as a “Botanist” whilst his air force records list him as a graduate of a Crown Horticulture Scholarship at Burnley Horticulture School (still open today) in 1937-39 and working at Lands Department (State) Treasury Gardens Melbourne.
Sadly Ernest’s brother Wireless Officer K.J. Hiskens was also killed flying in Wellington bombers with 70 Squadron RAF on 26 June 1944. He is buried in Budapest Cemetery.
Other Memorial Trees
Kew’s Verdun Oak was damaged by a storm in 1914 on the eve of the WW1 Centenary.
Kilmacurragh’s memorial trees are Ginkgo biloba grouped still 100 years on in their original nursery beds, a story told on the Kilmacurragh Gardens website.