In 1998 John Williamson published his wonderful book, Soccer ANZACS, the story of the Caledonian Soccer Club in Western Australia and he has given permission to the Museum to publish some extracts.
Formed by Scots in Fremantle in 1913, the Caledonians tried to register with the dark blue colours of Scotland but another Perth Club had pre -registered them , so Callie's adopted Scotland's then alternate strip of primrose and rose, the horse racing colours of philanthropist Lord Rosebery - British PM -1894/95. (Note: the official sporting colours of Tasmania also include these colours, together with green and there is a Primrose Mine at Rosebery in the island state). In the 1930s they could no longer get these colour so they were able to obtain the dark blue strip they wear today.
One other interesting fact relating to the club's history relates to the naming of the Sydney Swans AFL team.
One of the 'Callie' ANZACS who was killed was Richard Leonard who was worshipped by his younger brother Johnny then playing for the juniors. Johnny became a famous Australian Rules player - winning three Sandover Medals in WA and later accepting a coaching position with South Melbourne in 1932. When he moved to Victoria he brought with him three other WA players who used to wear their yellow State football jumpers with the Black Swan emblem at training. The media decided that South Melbourne should now be called the 'Swans' and the local cartoonists converted the black swan to white and the name remained when South Melbourne later re-located to Sydney
Caledonian Players Killed in the First World War
William Fraser Chalmers
William Fraser Chalmers was born at Boort, Victoria in 1897. His parents later moved west to take up residence at 13 Shuffrey Street close to the Fremantle Caledonian Hall and Fremantle Park. William’s father James established the Fremantle Foundry which still operates in Beach Street. William was given the middle name of Fraser in memory of his mother, the former Christina Frances Fraser, who was a proud member of that clan. Young Chalmers trained as a fitter and turner and together with his brother, James Meering Chalmers, he joined the Caledonian Soccer Club and was a member of the ‘B’ team which decisively won the 1914 Junior Championship. On 9th August 1915, at the age of 18 years and one month, William enlisted in the AIF and was posted to the 16th Battalion. His brother James would also join the forces.
William left Australia on 1st November 1915 and joined his battalion in France. In April of 1917 at the first Battle of Bullecourt, the 16th Battalion became one of the first Allied units to break the Hindenburg Line in an engagement where tanks were first used in battle. Unfortunately most of these new ‘wonder’ weapons broke down and the men of the 16th were surrounded and cut to pieces as they ran out of ammunition. Out of an attacking force of 817 men only 177 managed to fight their way back; one of these was William Chalmers.
William received a Citation and was to be awarded the Military Medal. Unfortunately he was never to see his Medal. Now promoted to Lance Corporal, William moved with the 16th Battalion to the mud and water-filled trenches of the battle that was developing around Messines. Here on 10th August 1917 William Fraser Chalmers was severely wounded and he died later that day in the Field Dressing Station. It was two years and one day after he enlisted. He was 20 years old.
David ‘Barney’ Henry
‘Barney’ Henry was born in Govan, Lanarkshire in 1882 and after serving his apprenticeship as a plumber, migrated to Western Australia prior to the First World War. He commenced his soccer career in Perth with Subiaco but transferred to Caledonians in 1914 where he became a regular first team member at centre-half. With the outbreak of war Barney enlisted in the famous Western Australian 16th Battalion.
Like his team mate Jamie Simpson in the 48th Battalion, Barney Henry was with the 16th when the German fortifications at Mouquet Farm were attacked and like his team mate he was killed in the battle.
Francis Andrew Lyon was born in Strathoven in Scotland.
He was trained as an engineer but according to his descendants his one ambition was to be a professional soccer player, against the wishes of his family.
This may have been the reason he migrated to Australia where he became employed as a produce salesman. Frank became a member of Caledonians’ inaugural team in 1913 and apart from being tall and fast he proved his skill by being selected to play centre-forward for the Scottish-born in the representative games of that era.
Enlisting in the 11th Battalion Frank Lyon saw action in France where he experienced the freezing conditions of trench warfare. In June 1918 these conditions took their toll and Frank Lyon died of pneumonia five months before the War ended. Sadly his son was to die in the Second World War after his Halifax bomber was shot down over the Balkans.
David Stanley McKinnon was born in London of Scottish forebears in 1889. After migrating to Western Australia he commenced playing with Caledonians in 1914 and immediately gained a reputation as a brilliant inside-left according to the soccer writers of the day. Dave joined up with the famed Western Australian 28th Battalion in June 1915 and in July of 1916 he took part in the AIF’s attack on Pozieres Heights. On 29th July 1916, Private David Stanley McKinnon was reported ‘killed in action’ in what had been one of the Austalian Army’s bloodiest battles.
Charles Dunbar Monteath
Charlie Monteath was born in Dumbarton, Scotland in 1886. Apparently after the death of his parents he migrated to Western Ausralia and resided at 99 Alma Street, Fremantle. He joined the newly-formed Caledonian Soccer Club in 1913 and was one of the 14 members of Callies who enlisted ‘en masse’ at the end of the season in 1915. Charlie served in France with the 51st Battalion in 1916 and in 1917 transferred to the 13th Australian Field Ambulance. On 3rd March 1918, Charles Dunbar Monteath was severely wounded in the abdomen during the Australian Army’s famous defeat of the German Army at Villers - Bretonneux. He died later that day.
‘Jamie‘ Simpson was born in Musselburgh, Scotland and after migrating to Western Australia he was employed as a wire rope splicer at Fremantle. ‘Jamie’
joined Caledonians in 1914 and his talent as a soccer player is shown by the fact that he was selected in the Scottish born team to contest against English and Australian born players in the mid-year ‘Internationals’ which were common to the period. With the outbreak of war he enlisted in the 16th Battalion but later was transferred to the 48th Battalion. On the 7th of August, 1916 James Simpson was killed in action as the Australians attacked Mouquet Farm in one of the bloodiest battles of the War.
Richard William Leonard was born at Gateshead near Newcastle, England in 1893, one of four brothers. With the tragic death of two of the boys the family migrated to Western Australia and young Richard developed into an excellent sportsman as did his younger brother, Johnny. Apparently both Richard and Johnny played soccer although the younger brother was destined to become an Australian Rules champion who won two Sandover Medals and was runner up three times while playing for Subiaco. Johnny also excelled at cricket and tennis. According to his daughter Margot, Johnny adored his brother and considered him to be his superior in sporting skills. Richard (or ‘Dickie’ as he was called) played soccer with the newly formed Caledonians and the newspaper reports of the time mention his dashing style as a half- back.
With the outbreak of war Richard became an Officer Engineer in the Merchant Marine Service and initially joined the Transport Ship Thistleban at the port of Fremantle on the 8th June, 1915. In this vessel he was involved in ferrying troops and ammunition to the Gallipoli battlefront and was present during the evacuation. He was also involved in the conveying of troops to the Salonika campaign in the Balkans.
When the Thistleban was torpedoed Richard was transferred to the Thistleard in which he travelled across the freezing, dangerous North Sea route to deliver ammunition and supplies to Archangel in Russia. Service in the Merchant Marine was fraught with danger and Richard’s luck was not to hold out.
After further trips ferrying supplies across the Atlantic and troops from West Africa the Thistleard was torpedoed in the English Channel and Richard William Leonard died on 2nd July 1917 aged 24 years.
James ‘Barney’ Cowan was born in Victoria of Ulster Scots parents. When the family moved to Western Australia Barney developed into an excellent sportsman. He briefly played Australian Rules football for South Fremantle and then concentrated on soccer where he became an excellent full-back for Fremantle Rangers and then Caledonians.
At the end of the 1915 season he joined the rest of the Caledonian club in their mass enlistment into the AIF during the First World War.
Barney served with distinction and in 1917 his unit,the 48th Battalion attacked a heavily fortified German position in the second battle of Paschendaele.
Army records show Barney received very severe wounds in the attack on 11th October 1917, and although he was shipped back to England, he died in Birmingham Hospital.
Barney Cowan was buried in the family plot in Balmoral Cemetery in Belfast, Northern Ireland.