Who was Nellie Payne?

Altar rails carved 1917 in memory of Sergeant Lindsay McRae (Max) Field. Erected St Michael’s Anglican Church, Kimberley, Tasmania.


The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954), Monday 30 April 1917, page 6

News has been received at Brighton Junction that Private Raymond Duffy, of the 40th Battalion, had died of wounds received in France on or about the 16th April. Private Duffy was the fourth son of Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas Duffy, of the Railway Department, at Brighton Junction. Mr. Duffy had four sons fighting for King and country, two of whom have been killed in action.

News has been received by private cable that Sergeant Lindsay McRae (Max) Field, second son of Mr. George Field, of Kimberley, has been killed in action in Egypt. Almost immediately war broke out he enlisted, and entered camp August 19, 1911. He left Hobart on 0ctober 20, 1914, as a private in C squadron 3rd Light Horse, and went through Gallipoli, and the battles of Magdaba and Çafa. His death will add one more brave name to that already famous company, which included David Barclay, Henrie Nicholas, Rod Weaver, and many others. A few months back he transferred to the Imperial Camel Corps, and went through some very strenuous work in the outposts of the desert. His eldest brother has been through the same campaign with the 10th Light Horse, but is now in England, training as a machine gun officer, and another brother has also enlisted.

“Ellen Nora Payne – Woodcarver of Tasmania” by Russell Atkinson page 67.
“W.F. Massey, the well known war correspondent, described the Gaza engagement as ‘the greatest battle in all Palestine’s history’ and he went on ‘the bodies of troops engaged were immensely larger than any of the armies in the countless other campaigns in the Holy Land.  Intense fighting was necessary before we could capture the trench system which had turned Gaza into a modern fortress.  We paid a heavy price for our gains, but we inflicted a very heavy loss on the Turks.’

Sergeant Max Field was a part of that ‘heavy price’, and one of that unique band so vividly described by D. N. Macdiarmid, of the Y.M.C.A., who served with them.

Macdiarmid wrote ‘I tell you, if Australia wants to be proud of any body of men let them think of these men of the Imperial Camel Corps.  They used to be called the Australian Camel Corps, but, much to their disgust, the word Imperial was substituted….. I take off my hat to these sun browned, dare-devil, hard-swearing, good hearted camel men.  They were unique ….’

Max’s auntie Nellie felt his loss very keenly, though there was pride, too, in the gallantry of his passing.  She and Max’s parents held a number of discussions about a memorial and the form it should take.  Max had been a member of the Church of England at Kimberley, and it was decided that a fitting memorial would be a new set of altar rails, suitably carved by his aunt.  These were completed a few months later, and were dedicated by Bishop Stephen in December.”