Thursday, April 25, 2013

One of our Ku-ring-gai ANZACs

As part of our WWI project, we are starting to write up some of the Ku-ring-gai Anzacs for our book and for our newsletter. Here is a 'short' version of one from this month's newsletter.
A soldier who gave his life on what has now become Anzac Day, 98 years ago.

Private Cecil Thomas BARRACK, 1103 was killed in action at the Gallipoli landing on 25 April 1915.
He is memorialised on the Roll of Honour at Gordon Railway Station and on the Lone Pine Memorial at Gallipoli.

An excerpt from in his Red Cross file:
“Saw him killed on 1st day of landing 25th April. Killed outright. He was well out in front and we had to leave him.”

At the time, it wasn’t so straightforward for his family, brothers William (Wal) and John (Jack) and mother and stepfather, Sarah and Fritz Hakanson.

A letter to his brother John in February 1916 gives a little more information:
Barrack was with a party that was sent from our trenches to make a demonstration while a big attack was being delivered on the left. This party got caught in the ‘Valley of Despair’ and could not regain our trenches. There is a good chance, however, that Barrack may be a prisoner, as the names of other of the party, who, like him had to be posted as missing – have been received that they are prisoners.
The tardiness of the receipt of the names of prisoners is due to the fact that many have been sent to places in Asia Minor.
It wasn’t until after a Court of Inquiry Proceedings held in France on 5 June 1916 (over a year later), that Pte Cecil Barrack was recorded as Killed in Action at Gallipoli Peninsula.

Cecil Thomas Barrack was born in 1884 in Murrurundi, NSW, the youngest of three sons to James Alexander Hale Barrack and Sarah Ellen Davies. James Barrack died in Woolloomooloo when Cecil was just 8 years old and his mother remarried (to Fritz Hakanson) in 1894.

Cecil was an engineer and not married, so had listed his brother John as next of kin. His address at the time of his enlistment in September 1914 was in Chatswood with his brother John.
By December 1915, brother John was living in Bonnyrigg, Moree Street, Gordon.
By May 1920, John Barrack had moved to 19 Northcliff Street, Milsons Point, and was living with his mother and stepfather.
At the time of her death in 1922, his mother, Sarah Hakanson (also known as Hawkinson) was living in Cecilthel, Pymble Avenue, Pymble.

So, it appears that Pte Cecil Barrack never lived in Ku-ring-gai, but at the time the war memorials were erected, his mother and brother were living in Gordon and probably catching the train from the station where his name appears on the Roll of Honour.
(From the Sydney Morning Herald on Wed 25 April 1917 page 10)
BARRACK. -Killed in action the landing, Gallipoli, April 25, 1915, Cecil T. (Jerry) Barrack 9th Battalion of Gordon beloved youngest son of Mr and Mrs Hawkinson, and brother of Wal and Jack Barrack.

Lest We Forget


  1. Jackie, thankyou for sharing this research. Cecil's father and my great-great-grandfather were brothers. I didn't know that Cecil's name was on the Honour Roll at Gordon - I had gone looking some years ago in Murrurundi and found him not listed on their memorial.
    It's great to know that he is remembered locally.

    My father knew Cecil's brother John as "Uncle Jack" and we were familiar with their connections to the North Shore.

    Some history - three Barrack brothers came to Australia from Aberdeen - Cecil's father James, John, and my g-g-grandfather Alexander, a master mariner who didn't really settle here but used Sydney at different times as a base.

    Of interest in a local history sense is that Capt. Alexander had enough of a connection to the earlier North Shore to have been married in 1854 at St Thomas' church, St Leonards, with William and Susannah (previously Lavender, nee Blue) Chuter as witnesses - a fascinating little link I am trying to unravel.

    I have a photo of Cecil in uniform which I would be only too happy to share with you - I'll use the contact link to give you my contact details.

    Kim Barrett, Lane Cove.

  2. Hi Kim, so great to hear from you.
    I am the member of our team who researched Cecil and I hadn't been able to find a photo.
    When I get your details I will pass on further information I have found, as this is quite a condensed version. Including a photo of the memorial with his name.
    I am so glad Cecil is remembered. It struck me that so many of these men (including some great uncles of mine) may not be remembered if we didn't write about them because they never had children and descendants of their own.
    Thank you for leaving this comment