State: New South Wales, Australia
Issued on: Return
Date of presentation: 06/03/1901
Number issued: 1
Gold medal, to:
Presentation made by the Mayor (Alderman M.F. Morton), during a picnic held on the cricket ground, Nowra Hill.
Inscribed: "Presented to A.J. Justin, from his Nowra Hill friends, on his return from S.A. War, 1901".
SEE ALSO: NOWRA & SHOALHAVEN
BACK FROM THE WAR.
WELCOME TO CORPORAL ALFRED JUSTIN.
PICNIC AT NOWRA HILL.
Corporal Alfred JUSTIN, who recently returned from South Africa after serving with the N.S.W. Army Medical Corps, was entertained at a picnic at Nowra Hill, his native place, on Wednesday last, when over 200 persons, including ladies and children, assembled on the cricket ground and received the returned soldier with much enthusiasm. Refreshments on a liberal scale were provided by the ladies of the locality in a booth, and the young folk engaged in games during the day. Notwithstanding the hardships he endured in the long African campaign, Corporal JUSTIN appeared in good health and spirits, and evidently was much impressed by the warm welcome given him by old friends and acquaintances. Early in the afternoon a 'circle' was formed on the ground, and the guest was formally welcomed.
The Mayor of Nowra, in a brief, patriotic address, presented Corporal JUSTIN with a handsome gold medal pendant, subscribed for by residents of the district. The Mayor said he did not expect to be present or to be called upon to speak, but, being present, he had pleasure in joining with the Nowra Hill people in welcoming a young man of Shoalhaven home from the war. (Applause). He had known Corporal JUSTIN for some time, and he was glad to assist in that welcome-home demonstration. Corporal JUSTIN, they all knew, had been attached to the New South Wales Army Medical Corps, which had been of great service in South Africa. (Applause). Much had been stated about the fighters, but not enough generally was said about those men who went forward to succour and relieve the wounded. ("Hear, hear"). They had heard a lot about the firing on ambulances in the South African campaign, but latest reports went to show that this was not by leaders of the enemy, and that in most cases it was accidental. He was very glad to see Corporal JUSTIN returned from the war. (Applause).
Alderman Graham (Nowra) said he was glad to see so many pleasant faces that day. He congratulated Nowra Hill on having so estimable a young man who had bravely gone forth to fight for a just cause, and he congratulated the young soldier on his return to his native land. (Applause).
Captain Marriott said he was glad to see so many people assembled to accord a hearty welcome to one of whom they were all proud, and one who belonged to a corps of which they, and all who had read about it, were also proud. The Army Medical Corps had been spoken of highly by Lord Roberts, who had expressed surprise at what the colony had done in supplying field hospitals at the war. The people of Shoalhaven should feel doubly proud of the fact that in Corporal JUSTIN they had a young man who belonged to and had served so creditably with such a corps. (Applause).
Mr E.C. Hewlett said that, as one who had known Corporal JUSTIN a number of years, he was glad to join in welcoming him home after his arduous duties in the Boer war. He was glad to know that their friend had joined in assisting to relieve humanity, whether foe or friend. The Army Medical Corps had experienced dangers equal to those under which other branches of the service had operated, and it was gratifying to know that the work done by that corps had been so much appreciated. (Applause,).
Mr James Howitt said he was pleased to be given that opportunity of bearing testimony to the character of Corporal JUSTIN. In reading the accounts of the war they had been particularly interested in those nearly connected with us who were at the front, and their hearts went out to those of our own kith and kin who were reported to be acquitting themselves. They knew what Dr Fiaschi had said of the Ambulance Corps, especially in regard to the services of the New South Wales men at the time of Cronje's surrender. They were all thankful to know that Dr Fiaschi had men like Corporal JUSTIN, who went away with a good name and character, and was one that showed that it was not drink but stamina that carried them through the campaign. He congratulated Corporal JUSTIN on his return. (Applause).
Mr James Shepherd, sen., said he had known Corporal JUSTIN since he was a laddie running about in petticoats, and he knew nothing bad in him. (Applause). He knew the family, and a very fine family they were, too. It was an honour to the district to know that Corporal JUSTIN had braved the war for the honour of England and his country, and it was an honour to receive the warm praise of Lord Roberts for the bravery and good conduct of our men. Not only was it an honour to know that our men fought so well for their country and God, but it was also an honour to see so many showing their loyalty in attending to welcome a soldier from the war. He trusted that Corporal JUSTIN would show in his character hereafter that he was not only a brave soldier of the Queen but a brave soldier for Jesus also. He welcomed him home with all his heart. (Applause).
Mr W. Corfield said that when he first heard of the success of the Army Medical Corps, he attributed it chiefly to Dr Martin, whom he had known for years, but when he now saw Corporal JUSTIN, with his fine open countenance and splendid physique, as one of the corps with which Dr Martin had had so much to do, he could well understand the efficient organisation of that corps and that Dr Martin had been ably backed up in the work. He congratulated Corporal JUSTIN on his return, and trusted that Heaven's blessing would rest upon him. (Applause).
Mr W.J. Wotton said he rejoiced at the doings of our boys in South Africa. If the war had done nothing else, it had shown the world that our boys were better, or at least as well, able to take part in campaigning as the regular red-tape trained men of the old country; and that in tackling the mother country its enemies had to remember that they had the old country's children also to face. He rejoiced in the return of their young friend, and he thanked God for it. He hoped he would be made a blessing to Shoalhaven, and, if asked again, he felt sure he would be found "into the breach" once more. (Applause).
Alderman Westbrook said he had watched with feelings of pride the doings of Australian boys at the front, and he thanked God that young JUSTIN came from stock British-born, though not colonial. He was glad to see Corporal JUSTIN back again sound in wind and limb. (Applause).
Mr Daniel McMillan said that he was especially proud of Alfred JUSTIN, as he had known him intimately for years. Corporal JUSTIN's return was somewhat unexpected; until he met him at the Shoalhaven Show he did not know that he had even left Africa. And he fancied that people in Nowra were rather indifferent as to his return, seeing what had been done in honour of other soldiers previously returned. War at the best was very serious and disastrous, and it was grand and noble to see that we had men like JUSTIN to step forth and fight for the Queen, who had since died, a fact that would be long regretted. (Applause). Corporal JUSTIN had gone right through the whole war, and he had returned a better man than when he left. (Applause).
Alderman Crawford said that he and Corporal JUSTIN had had some hard times camping out in years gone by. JUSTIN was a hardy, plucky man, and was able in the war to serve in several capacities, even to shoeing horses, from his knowledge gained by experiences in this country. No man was prouder than he of Corporal JUSTIN nor more pleased to see him returned. (Applause).
Corporal JUSTIN briefly acknowledged the presentation and the kind expressions concerning him. He said he could not find words to adequately express his thanks. He hoped he would never meet with his friends on worse terms than they were met that day. (Applause).
The returned soldier was received with musical honours, the company, led by Alderman Westbrook, singing 'For he's a jolly good fellow.' Cheers were given for Corporal JUSTIN, the Mayor, and the King; and, on motion by Alderman Graham, a vote of thanks was heartily passed to the ladies who had provided refreshments. These ladies included Mesdames Jos. Crawford, James Crawford, Justin, Scott, Humphrey Henry, G. Henry, jun., Francis Henry, T. Wernick, Johnston (Flatrock Creek), R. Solway, H. Oke, and D. McMillan.