A Mystery Tunic with a Famous Connection
Some questions regarding the tunic held in The Museum are being answered.
According to the Curator at Fort Queenscliff, Sgt Helen Janner, the uniform with the patrol style collar shows it is not from an Officer but a Non-commissioned officer or Other Rank’s. The sleeve insignia denotes the rank of a Warrant Officer class 2*, of Heavy Artillery (Coastal Artillery). And due to the brass buttons insignia, ‘Royal Australian Artillery’ it is of pre world war 1 circa. She thinks perhaps around 1908. It is either The Garrison Artillery 1, (NSW) or The Garrison Artillery 2 (Victoria, Fort Queenscliff). Given its current home the latter seems more likely. As the battery at Pt Nepean was part of the Garrison Artillery 2 the owner may well have been posted there.
The uniform is similar to that worn by John Monash who was a member of the Metropolitan Brigade of the Garrison Artillery, who often trained at Queenscliff, pictured here in 1888. The artillery was later reconstructed and from July 1903, Captain Monash’s battery became No.3 Victorian Company, Australian Garrison Artillery.
Our thanks to Sgt Janner for her assistance. We will now focus on who the WO2 owner of the jacket might have been.
*UPDATE: We now know the tunic was worn by John Thomas Leyden from NSW and that the insignia indicates the rank of ‘2nd Class Master Gunner’ a highly specialised appointment with the then single grade rank of warrant officer. The second level rank of WO2 was not introduced until 1915.
We also know John Leyden was promoted to 2nd Class Master Gunner on August 1st 1909 and came to Victoria (presumably then to Portsea/Queenscliff) on May 21st 1910. He died at Queenscliff on April 4th 1916.
Our thanks to Murray Adams and Bob Bennett for the updated information.