23 April 2020

Tragedies and transfers

So many stories of ancestors and relatives are mentioned in the newspapers of the past. During April 2020 for the A - Z blog challenge, I am listing the types of stories or information I have found in newspapers with examples for each letter of the alphabet. My clippings include a variety of articles about relatives of my children's ancestors.

In this series of posts we have had some Theatrical performances from Grace Walmsley Payne and John Michael Galvin but here in 1944 they faced two tragedies .

Kevin Francis Galvin 1923 -1944

As we approach ANZAC Day in Australia I have chosen here to commemorate not a World War I death, but a tragedy in the Galvin family during World War II.
Kevin Francis Galvin had joined the RAAF in May 1942 just prior to his 19th birthday. His older brothers John and Desmond were servicemen so he would have been keen to follow in their footsteps. In 1943 he left Brisbane for the UK to join 77 Sqn. Kevin's service record is available at the National Archives of Australia.
Several papers noted his death in 1944.

1944 'Family Notices', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954),
14 June, p. 6. , http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article206784129

1944 'H.A.C.B.S. NEWS', Southern Cross (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1954), 16 June, p. 7. ,

The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954),
20 June, p. 4. , http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article206784304


Flight Sgt Kevin F Galvin of Thornbury has been killed in an operational flight as a member of the crew of a Halifax bomber which crashed at Elvington. Yorkshire, during the early invasion period.

He was the third son of Mr. J. M. Galvln, Federal secretary of the Locomotive Engine Drivers' Union, and was educated at St. Thomas' C.B.C.. Clifton Hill, and later at St. Kevin's, Toorak.

Before enlisting at the age of 18, he was a junior clerk in the Victorian Railways. He celebrated his 2lst birthday a fortnight before his death.

Kevin is a family name that has been added down the generations in two of his brother's families and also in one of the Nayda families, descendants of the Paynes.

Francis Leo Payne 1902 -1944

Francis or Frank as he was known, was Grace's youngest brother, the son of Mary Agnes Walmsley and Edward John William Payne.  By 1940 he was living in Broken Hill and working as an electrician. As part of a musical family it is not surprising to find him as the conductor of the choral society.
1940 'Broken Hill Pars', Recorder (Port Pirie, SA : 1919 - 1954),
7 December, p. 4. ,  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article96352972
On June 1st of that year he married Mary Gertrude Burns in the Broken Hill Catholic Cathedral. At the Quartette Club's production of the Messiah described as a "thrilling musical feast" in November of 1941, Frank is listed as the pianist.(1) From other articles in the news one can ascertain that he and his wife were living at the Newmarket Hotel.(2) (3)

In April 1944 tragedy struck.
WHILE engaged on alterations to a transformer at the City Council's power station in Galena Street about 1.40 o'clock this morning,. Francis Leo Payne (42), an electrical fitter, was electrocuted and died before the arrival of a doctor.
Payne was working on the job with two other employees when the fatality occurred. Inquiries by Sgt. E. Richards, officer in charge of the Railway Town police, have revealed that Payne was engaged in work behind the main switchboard and was taking the pothead off a transformer when he touched a live terminal carrying 7,000 volts. He was thrown some distance to the concrete floor of the power house, and when other employees went to his assistance he was unconscious. Dr. Funder was summoned immediately, and after an examination pronounced life extinct.
Working with Mr. Payne at the time were Mr. W. Gers and apprentice N. Summers. Neither of these men were able to say how Payne came in contact with the terminal. 
The matter was reported to the Coroner (Mr. M. J. D. Austin), who formally opened an inquest at the morgue this morning. After the body had been identified to the Coroner by Sgt. J. Loy, the inquest was adjourned until 4 o'clock this afternoon. The unfortunate occurrence threw all the engines out of commission and repairs occupied about two hours.
Mr. Payne, who was regarded as an efficient workman, had been in the employ of Council for over three years. He had been in Broken Hill for some years, coming here from South Australia, where he was engaged as an electrician in the S.A. Railways, and taking up employment at the Zinc Corporation.
Mr. Payne was of a musical nature, having been organist at the Cathedral, and for the past 18 months filled a similar position at St. Peter's Church of England. He was a member of the committee of the Quartette Club, and for a time was vice-pianist.
He leaves a wife (formerly Miss Molly Burns) and one child, aged 2½ years. His mother resides in Adelaide and the body will be taken to that city for burial. The funeral will leave the residence of Mr. M. Burns, 107 Iodide Street, at 6.45 p.m. today for the Sulphide Street Railway Station, where the body will be entrained for Adelaide for burial in the Roman Catholic Cemetery, West Terrace, tomorrow. (4)
One day later a report of the funeral
The Funeral
The remains of Mr. Francis Leo Payne were taken to Adelaide by last night's express for burial in the Roman Catholic portion of the West Terrace Cemetery. The cortege left the residence of Mr. M. Bums, at 107 Iodide Street, at 6.45 p.m. tor the Sulphide Street Station. The bearers were Messrs. T. Eddy. E. S. Holland. Alderman Warren. Alderman Cherry. B. Hargraves, J. H. Lynch. The City Council and citizens of Broken Hill were represented by the Mayor (Alderman Rowe) and the Town Clerk (Mr. J. Sanderson), the Quartette Club by Messrs. A. Benin. E. M. Jenkins and A. A. Miller, the Amalgamated Engineers' Union by Mr. A. C. Crowhurst and Mr. J. B. Hoysted. Before leaving the home a service was conducted by the Rev. Father T. Brady. The funeral arrangements were carried out by Fred J. Potter & Son. (5)
 Frank had died intestate so a probate application for administration notice was published in May. (6)

So in 1944 Grace had lost first her younger brother and then her son, how sad she must have been.

1. 1941 'Thrilling Musical Feast Provided By 'The Messiah'', Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 - 1954), 21 November, p. 1. (HOME EDITION), http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article48395003

2. 1943 'Utility Driver Convicted', Barrier Daily Truth (Broken Hill, NSW : 1908; 1941 - 1954), 14 May, p. 3. , http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article141320656

3. 1943 'Jottings Of General Interest', Barrier Daily Truth (Broken Hill, NSW : 1908; 1941 - 1954), 28 June, p. 4. , viewed 20 Apr 2020, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article141334832

4.  1944 'MAN ELECTROCUTED AT CITY COUNCIL'S GALENA ST.POWER PLANT', Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 - 1954), 5 April, p. 7. , http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article49563844

5.  1944 'The Funeral', Barrier Daily Truth (Broken Hill, NSW : 1908; 1941 - 1954), 6 April, p. 3. , viewed 20 Apr 2020, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article143786375

6. 1944 'Advertising', Barrier Daily Truth (Broken Hill, NSW : 1908; 1941 - 1954), 9 May, p. 2. , viewed 20 Apr 2020, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article143777908

This post first appeared on earlieryears.blogspot.com by CRGalvin


  1. I had a great-uncle who died from electrocution. I wonder if it made the news...

    The Multicolored Diary

  2. Wow, so sad. Wasn't expecting the accidental death at the end. Wonderful that you have memorialized Francis with this post. Well done.

  3. Operational accidents and death weren’t uncommon as I understand it, when men were being trained so quickly. Electrical work always seems hazardous to me...very sad for his wife and young child.


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