Monthly Archives: August 2014

Albious Bede Cunningham (1891 – 1917)

Albious Bede (Alb) Cunningham was born in June 1891, the third son and the sixth of the fifteen children of Mathew Cunningham and Mary Anne Barry. Mathew and Mary Anne had lived at “Woodlands” Tarlo. After Matthew’s death in 1910, Mary Anne moved into Goulburn, and lived at Addison Street. She was found drowned in an underground tank on 7 October 1917. Albious enlisted at Goulburn on 20 September 1915, he was 24 years and 3 months. He was a clerk at A G de Lauret and Co Stock and Station Agents in Goulburn.

On enlistment, Alb was initially based in the Goulburn Depot, before being to transferred to Liverpool Depot in 1916. He embarked with the 34 Batallion on the “Anchises” at Sydney on 24 January 1917, they disembarked at Devenport on 27 March 1917. He suffered an accidental injury to his foot on 26 April 1917 and was admitted to 2 Auxilliary Hospital Southall, he was discharged from the hospital on 18 May 1917. Whilst he was recuperating at the hospital, his brother Jack, who had also been injured, came to visit him. After this visit, Alb wrote a letter back to his brother Ted (Edward) Cunningham, telling him about his visit with Jack. This letter was published in the Goulburn Evening Penny Post on 17 July 1917.

On his discharge from hospital, Alb embarked for France, arriving at Depot Etaples on 26 June 1917. He rejoined the 34 Batallion on 13 July 1917, and was killed about 10 pm on 16 July 1917, during a raid to capture a German strong point at Gappard on the Messine Ridge. His body was found the next day in No Man’s Land, and he was buried behind the Batallion’s lines. It was believed that he had died instantly.

Alb’s grave has never been found, he is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial (Panel 23) Belgium. By the time Alb’s family and friends were reading his letter in the Goulburn Evening Penny Post, Alb was dead. For the next two years, an “In Memoriam” was placed in the Sydney Morning Herald by Edyth A Byrne on the anniversary of his death. Edyth was a music teacher, and taught several of the Cunningham girls who lived at Tarlo.