3380 Private Reginald Clive Mottershead, copy from Parramatta Soldiers, Cumberland Argus, 1920

Reginald Clive Mottershead was born in 1893 in Parramatta, the third son of Mr Frances William and Eliza Ann Mottershead (nee Dean). The family resided at “Addswood,” Ross Street, Parramatta, where Reginald completed his education at Parramatta High School. At the age of 22, he gave up his scholarly endeavours to join the Australian Imperial Force as part of the 11 Reinforcements for the 3 Infantry Battalion on 25 August 1915.

Reginald embarked from Sydney aboard HMAT Euripides 414 on 2 November 1915. In December, he was admitted to hospital in Cairo and diagnosed with mild orchitis. On 1 March 1916, he was taken on strength in Tel-el-kebir (Egypt) and became part of the 3 Infantry Battalion that sailed for France to fight on the Western Front. By 16 August, he was wounded in action during the battle for Pozieres in the Somme Valley and admitted to hospital with head and nose injuries. After months and months spent in the winter trenches in the Somme and a near death experience where he was ‘dug out of the earth’ after being ‘buried for two hours after a big burst up’ at Fleurs on 9 November he was transferred to England. There he was admitted to hospital and diagnosed with neurasthenia.

On 21 July 1917, Reginald left England and returned to Australia aboard the hospital ship Euripides which disembarked on 19 September at Melbourne for Sydney. Upon his return to civil life, he visited his old school on Friday 21 September. He was officially discharged medically unfit from the Australian Imperial Force at Sydney on 16 October due to shell shock. During his discharge, he lost his Returned Soldiers Badge and had to request a new one. He was also issued a Star, British War medal and Victory medal for his services and granted a pension.

On Wednesday 7 November 1917, the local paper published an article ‘When our boys come home: interviewers who quail‘ detailing an interview conducted with him about his experience.

He later moved to Woollahra and on 2 May 1918, married Maud Docker at St. Stephens Church, Philips Street, Sydney. Maud was the youngest daughter of Edward Hay Docker of “Haythrope,” Parramatta and niece of Judge Docker. Sadly on 18 February 1958, Reginald Clive Mottershead passed away, aged 65. His widow requested the Australian Imperial Force Base Records Officer to forward her late husband’s military records in order to purchase a home under the War Services Homes Act 1918-1954.

Signaller Kenneth Raymond Mottershead

Reginald’s younger brother Kenneth Raymond Mottershead also enlisted on 15 April 1915 from Brisbane, Queensland with the Queensland Expeditionary Force as part of the 8 Reinforcements for the 1 Light Horse Brigade, 2 Light Horse Regiment. His service number was 1192. At the time Kenneth was a 22 year old bachelor staying with Mrs Linda Riley of Bristol Street, West End, Brisbane. His military papers state that he was a cook, although his enlistment papers say he was a bookkeeper. He embarked from Brisbane aboard HMAT Kyarra A55 on 16 August 1915. Taken on strength on 29 December, he was transferred from the Reinforcements in Heliopolis (Egypt). By 27 January 1916, he was admitted to 3 Auxiliary Hospital in Cairo suffering from a mild bad back. On 1 March, once again he was taken on strength and transferred to the 1 Light Horse Reserve Regiment. By 31 August he proceeded overseas to France and was admitted to the Reading War Hospital on 26 September due to spinal caries recurrent. On 1 October, he was transferred to the 4 Divisional Ammunition Column and later the 4 Divisional Signal Company. After another year he was returned to Australia on 16 December 1917 aboard the troop ship “W”.

Kenneth passed away on 9 January 1957 at Greenslopes Military Hospital in Brisbane, aged 62 years old.

Naga Durga Devi Kona, Volunteer Research Assistant, Parramatta Council Heritage Centre, 2016


  1. Parramatta High School: honor board & presentations. (1917, April 14). The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, p. 10 Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article86084487
  2. PERSONAL PARS: Reginald C. Mottershead. (1917, September 22). The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, p. 6. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article86091271
  3. Parramatta High School: distribution of certificates (1917, September 26). The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, p. 1. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article86082568
  4. Of “the boys”: Len. Mottershead (1917, November 24). The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, p. 11. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article86091128
  5. When our boys come home: interviewers who quail (1917, November 7). The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article86090159
  6. Mottershead–Docker (1918, May 12). The Sun, p. 14. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article221942786
  7. The wedding. (1918, May 15). The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, p. 3. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article86206660
  8. Mottershead, Kenneth Raymond [Death notice] (1957, January 12). The Sydney Morning Herald, p. 52