Wamberal ANZACS

Wamberal ANZACS – the remarkable Lt Colonel James G Tedder

Wamberal village has a fascinating and important history.

This is the first of a new series focusing on our service men and women with strong connections to Wamberal.

We start with a truly remarkable local: a public servant, singer and musician, farmer and citizen soldier who served in three wars and for whom the Wamberal Memorial Hall was an important part of his life.

Lieutenant Colonel James George Tedder – a remarkable life.

Born in London on 27 December 1862, James Tedder migrated alone to Australia in 1880 due to ‘weak lungs’.

Lt Col James Tedder sitting on a bench with two grandchildren on his Wamberal farm shortly before his death.

Lt Col James Tedder at his farm in Wamberal with his grandchildren shortly before his death.

In 1882, he joined the NSW Department of Telegraphs as a telegraphist, a new technology akin to the internet of today.

Whilst stationed at Young he met and fell in love with Mary Jane Shmith and they were married in 1885.

He and Mary had nine children and he served alongside five of their sons as they fought for Australia in Africa, Gallipoli and Europe.

James served in three wars:

  1. Sudan, Africa in 1885 as a Second Lieutenant, Lieutenant and Captain.
  2. The Boer War in South Africa from 1901 as Lieutenant Troop Commander.
  3. World War 1 from 1914 until 1919 when he was discharged as medically unfit.

His service in World War 1

When World War 1 broke out, Major James Tedder had been a member of the Australian Army Service Corps since 1903.

On 19 October 1914, he sailed on the HMAT Benalla (A24) to Egypt where he prepared his troops (3 Coy AASC 1st Division) for the attack on Gallipoli.

A large, dark coloured ship with a single funnel crowded with troops, departing from the wharf. A small rowing boat is near the stern of the ship.

Troop transport HMAT Benalla (A24), crowded with troops, including then Major James Tedder, setting sale for Egypt and Gallipoli on 19 October 1914.

He was present at the landing of troops at Anzac Cove on 25 April 1915 and after disembarking the engineers and others, proceeded to Imbros before returning to Anzac to collect the wounded. He then sailed on to Egypt to defend the Suez Canal and support the Senussi campaign in the Western Desert. He was mentioned in dispatches for this service.

In 1916, his divisions were moved to France, but at 52, he was considered too old for the rigours of front line service.

Lt Col James Tedder at the inspection of troops by King Geroge V - 17 April 1917

Lt Col James Tedder, standing 2nd from the left, at the inspection of troops by King George V – 17 April 1917. The film was not fully wound to the next frame and a portion of another exposure can be seen along the left hand edge.

Rather than return to Australia, he continued to serve as Assistant Director of Supplies and Transport at the Headquarters of the Australian Imperial Forces in Tidworth, England.

Portrait of the AASC Depot Tidworth 1918

Lt Col James Tedder seated fifth from the left, with staff of the AASC Depot Tidworth, England 1918.

In 1918, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel but was eventually deemed medically unfit. Reflecting on his early medical conditions, this was an outstanding achievement.

Lt Col Tedder returned home in 1919 and moved to Wamberal as a citrus farmer.

James and Mary were strong contributors to the local community as singers, musicians and organisers of musical events and theatre. The Wamberal Memorial Hall was a significant part of the social fabric of the community and their contributions were very important.

In 1923, his wife of 38 years, Mary, passed away suddenly.

He later married Ida Beileiter, a nurse, and they had two sons.

He was awarded:

  • Volunteer Officers’ Decoration.  Instituted by Queen Victoria in 1892 it was awarded to efficient and thoroughly capable officers of proven capacity for long and meritorious service in the Volunteer Force.
  • Mentioned in Dispatches (MiD). His name appeared in an official report written by a superior officer and sent to the high command, in which his meritorious action in the face of the enemy is described.
  • King’s South Africa Medal with 1901 and 1902 clasps.
  • 1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.
  • Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George.

Lieutenant Colonel James Tedder passed away suddenly while on holiday in Turramurra in 1931.

The five sons who fought with him in WW1

Another unique feature of the James and Mary’s family is that they had six family members serving concurrently in WW1.  The five sons who served with him in World War 1 were:

Oscar James Tedder – Captain

Born 1887 and enlisted in 1914 returning to Australia on 20 October 1918. He served at Gallipoli, re-taking Lone Pine and later joining the Flying Corps in Europe. His name is on the Honour Roll at the Wamberal Memorial Hall.

Four Autralian soldiers in a trench at Lone Pine Gallipoli in 1915

Gallipoli, Turkey, September 1915. Four Australian soldiers stand in a trench captured from the Turks in the attack on Lone Pine. The group includes Lieutenant Tedder (third from left).

Frank Clive Tedder – Driver

Born 1891 and enlisted on 24 August 1914 at the age of 23 returning to Australia on 9 December 1918. He died in 1924.

Marwood Felix Tedder -Sapper 

Born 1895 and enlisted on 9 May 1917 returning to Australia on 20 July 1919. He died in 1949.

Alma Reginald Tedder – Lieutenant

Born 1896 and enlisted at the age of 18 on 3 September 1914. He died from disease (pneumonia) on 23 February 1919.

Septimus C Tedder – Driver 

Born 1898 enlisted on 12 May 1916 at the age of 18 and returned to Australia on 10 April 1919.

Wamberal Memorial Hall

Built by the community in 1920 on land donated by Mr Edwards in 1920, the Wamberal Memorial Hall on Ocean View Drive is dedicated to the memory of the Tedder family and the many others who served and suffered the loss of their young family members.

In 1977, the NSW Government vested the land to Council for protection.

Now Gosford City Council wants to sell it!

Please go to one of our local village shops and sign the petition to save our hall.

You can also download the petition to save the Wamberal Memorial Hall  and get your work colleagues, family and friends to sign it.

Please email wamberalactiongroup@gmail.com and we will come and collect them.


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