3911-private-edward-ephraim-barnet-samuel-image55.jpeg
Pte Edward SAMUEL c.1887 -1916
Australian Jewry Book of Honour The Great War 1914-1918, Harold Boas, Perth, 1923 – p 21

Edward Ephraim Barnet SAMUEL

Regimental Number
3911
Rank
Private
Known As
Edward
War Service
Egypt and Western Front
Prior Military Service
Nil
Enlistment
06 Jul 1915 at Melbourne, VIC
Embarkation
23 Nov 1915 from Melbourne, VIC, on the HMAT A40 Ceramic
Next of Kin
Father – Israel Samuel, 113 Renfrew Street, Glasgow, Scotland
Date & Place of Birth
1886, Glasgow, Scotland
Parents
Jane (née ROSENBLOOM) and Israel SAMUEL
Marital Status
Single
Siblings
Eight siblings – 5 girls, 3 brothers. One brother (Myer aka Matthew) served 1908 to 1920 as a gunner with the UK Royal Artillery.
Occupation
Despatch clerk, tailor
Physical Description
5 feet 4 1/2 inches, 154 pounds (163.8cm, 69.8kg)
Eyes black, Hair black, Complexion sallow
Religion
Jewish
Fate
Killed in Action, 19 Jul 1916, Fromelles, France - aged 29
Place of Burial
No known grave
Commemorated
V.C. Corner, (Panel 17), Australian Cemetery Memorial, Fromelles, France
Positively Identified
No

The Samuel Family

Story text (with minor edits and additions) is reproduced with permission from the copyright holders, the Australian Jewish Historical Society on behalf of Peter M. Allen Please note change of name to Edward from Ephraim (Annotation to Peter Allen’s story).

Edward’s birth was registered in Glasgow as Ephraim Barnett Samuel and he appears under that name in the 1891 Scottish Census with his family – which at that time included Polish-born parents (his father was a tailor), two sisters and two brothers. Another sister was born after that census. In the 1901 census, he is a 14-year-old picture framer living with his family and now one of eight siblings

When he emigrated to Australia in 1912, he came out under the anglicized name of Edward Samuel and listed his occupation as a tailor. He appears in Victorian electoral rolls from 1914 under the name Edward Ephraim Samuel, despatch clerk of Lygon Street, Carlton in Melbourne. His AIF enlistment papers were signed under the name Edward Samuel.

And finally, in 1917, Edward’s brother, Phillip, named his son Edward, presumably in honour of his now deceased older brother.

the-samuel-family-image2.png
This document records Edward/Ephraim’s name variations as proven by his father, Israel, in 1918 seeking to finalise the administration of his son’s intestate estate (valued at just over £70).
source Ancestry.com -Victoria, Australia, Wills and Probate Records, 1841-2009

SAMUEL, Ephraim Barnet (aka Edward)

the-samuel-family-image1.JPG
Pte Edward SAMUEL c.1887 -1916
source Australian Jewry Book of Honour The Great War 1914-1918, Harold Boas, Perth, 1923 – p 21

Ephraim Barnet Samuel was born c. 1887 to Jane (‘Jeanie’ née Rosenbloom) and Israel Samuel in Glasgow, Scotland, where he attended Adelphi Terrace School. Ephraim trained as a tailor and came to Australia c. 1912, working as a despatcher for Barnet Glass Rubber Co. Ltd. in Melbourne.

Age 27, he enlisted in the AIF at Melbourne on 6 July 1915 as No. 3911 Private Edward Samuel. Following training, he embarked on 23 November aboard HMAT A40 Ceramic with the 12th Reinforcement of 7th Battalion for Egypt. As part of the doubling of the AIF, he was transferred to the new 59th Battalion, 15th Brigade, on 26 February 1916 and continued training.

From 12 May, Edward suffered severe diarrhoea followed by rheumatism, being treated at Field Ambulance hospitals for a week. The battalion embarked Alexandria 18 June to Marseilles and travelled to Fleurbaix in the north of France, 20km west of Lille.

Fromelles – Killed in Action

On 19-20 July 1916 - less than a month after arriving in the ‘nursery section’ - the 59th fought in the disastrous Battle of Fromelles: the AIF’s first major battle on the Western Front. Attacking in the first wave, the battalion's advance faltered far short of its objective, suffering the 5th Division’s heaviest casualties, especially from German machine-gunners on the Sugarloaf.

Like many of the division’s 5,533 casualties (including 35 of the battalion’s 39 participating officers), Edward was posted ‘Missing in Action’.

Private E. Shaw (a cook) later stated:

“Pte Samuel was Mess Orderly ... and therefore I saw him a good deal during the day. I last saw him alive about 7.45pm. At about 8.30pm ... I saw his body about 200 yards from our trench.”

NAA: B2455, SAMUEL, Edward – First AIF Personnel Dossiers 1914-1920, page 14
the-samuel-family-image3.png
Letter written by Edward’s mother to the Red Cross in September 1916 seeking information about her son’s fate.
source AWM: Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Files – SAMUEL., Edward. p6

The note “Presumed Buried in No Man's Land at approx. 5J90 43 to 5K02.5.1 Sheet Hazebrouck 5A” was subsequently handwritten in his record but no burial place has been identified or proven. A similar note appears in records for Privates Bezelle Rabinovitch and Gershun Harbert, another two Jewish soldiers of 59th Battalion from some 100 in the 5th Division. We can only speculate whether the three were close mates.

His name commemorated

the-samuel-family-image4.jfif
Part of panel 17 at VC Corner showing Private E.E.B. Samuel’s name amongst the many fallen of the 59th Battalion
source Victorian Association of Jewish Ex & Servicemen & Women Australia Inc.

In April 1917, a Court of Enquiry determined that he was ‘Killed in Action, 19 July 1916’. As he has no known grave, 29-year-old Private Edward Samuel’s name is engraved on Panel 17 of VC Corner Australian Cemetery and Memorial, Fromelles, Lille, Nord Pas de Calais, France.

He was one of ten Jews amongst the 2,000 diggers killed at Fromelles: Australia’s – and Australian Jewry’s - worst-ever 24 hours. See separate entries for the others, including just two with identified graves: Pte Joseph Hart, buried in 1921, and Lt Berrol Mendelsohn, one of the 250 ‘Lost Diggers of Fromelles’ reinterred in 2010. By 2019, 166 of them had been identified and the quest to identify the remainder continues.

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In 2015, a memorial was dedicated to Victorian Jewish soldiers who served World Wars 1 and 2 and other conflicts. The memorial includes Edward’s name and is located in the Burnett Gray Gardens, Ripponlea.
source VWMA site – photo courtesy of Peter Sneddon

A 2nd mtDNA sample (only) is still being sought for family connections to

SoldierEphraim Barnet (Edward) SAMUEL c. 1887-1916, Scotland, Australia
ParentsIsrael SAMUEL born in Poland, lived in Glasgow
Jane (Jeanie) ROSENBLOOM, born in Poland, lived in Glasgow Scotland
Siblings7 Siblings, Sarah, Fanny, Phillip, Myer (Matthew, Sophia, Rose, Bella
Sophia m David Rueben Goldwater New Zealand – 5 Children

Links to Unofficial Records

Australian Jewish Historical Society: SAMUEL, Edward

NLA Call No FERG/4003: Australian Jewry Book of Honour: The Great War, 1914-1918, Harold Boas, 1923

Seeking DNA Donors

Fromelles Association of Australia

Contacts

The Fromelles Association welcomes all contact regarding this soldier.
(Contact: royce@fromelles.info or geoffrey@fromelles.info).
We also urge any family members to contact and register with the Australian Army
(Contact: army.uwc@defence.gov.au or phone 1800 019 090).

Donations

The Fromelles Association maintains this web site, purely by donations received.
If you are able, please contribute to the upkeep of this resource.
(Contact: bill@fromelles.info ).