Darwin war history
Written by Norman Cramp, Director of the Darwin Military Museum
Victor Claude Raymond, more commonly known as ‘Nugget’ throughout his long and interesting life, was born at Maryborough, Queensland in, or about, 1883.
We know little of his family other than he had a brother, R.G. Raymond of Mareeba, Queensland who ‘Nugget’ nominated as his next-of-kin when he enlisted in the AIF in 1915.
‘Nugget’ arrived in the Territory in either 1900, or 1902, and worked as a stockman on several stations in the Katherine region prior to the war. He left Darwin aboard the S.S. Empire in August 1915 and travelled to Fraser’s Hill, Queensland where he enlisted on 29th July 1915. At the time he enlisted, he was 32 years and 10 months of age, single and employed as a ‘Station Manager’.
Following his enlistment, he was attached to the 9th Reinforcements, 15th Infantry Battalion, AIF and left Australia for the Great War. His military service record does not show the date or place of his embarkation, but it does record that he was taken ill with mumps, possibly en-route to the Middle East, and was hospitalised in Alexandria for a short period.
He was reported to have served at Gallipoli but his service record does not show that and given his enlistment date, date of arrival in Alexandria and period of illness, Gallipoli service is unlikely. He was transferred to France in 1916 and, given he was wounded in action on 28th August 1916, it is highly likely that he was involved in the Battle of Pozieres.
He was hospitalised as a result of his wounds (gunshot to right arm) and re-joined his Unit on 4th October 1916 after recovering.
Throughout late 1916 and early 1917, ‘Nugget’ was transferred from the front lines on three occasions due to illness or injury. One illness being ‘scabies’ while the most severe injury, other than the gunshot wound, was deafness.
His being rendered deaf resulted in him being repatriated to England on 18th June 1917, following which he was transferred to 68 Squadron, Air Force Command. He served in the Squadron as a ‘Batman’ until he returned to Australia in October 1917 and being discharged on 31st January 1918 as medically unfit (i.e.: deaf).
‘Nugget’s’ movements and whereabouts post-war are not clear, but Katherine-based NT Policeman Garry Willmett has established that the McFarlane family of Mataranka recalled ‘Nugget’ being a resident of Mataranka in the 1960s.
They also recalled that he had lived in a hut in the township for some years, however, the hut, that stood on the site of today’s BP roadhouse, is long gone – as is ‘Nugget’ himself.
Garry Willmett’s recent research has shown ‘Nugget’ was NOT the ‘Dandy Stockman’ of literary fame – but we know he was Private Victor Claude (Nugget) Raymond, formerly of the AIF. A badge of honour that should be recognised, commemorated and attract a vote of ‘thanks’ now and in future.
Lest We Forget
Darwin Military Museum
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