No.4971 – Ross Edward Rummer – 16th Battalion AIF
Ross Edward Rummer, born 7 Decemember 1894, was the eldest son of Richard George Rummer and Florence Matilda Lane. Richard and Florence had 11 children in all. In fact, the youngest, Rona was born in 1917 after Ross had already gone to war.
At the time of enlistment, the Rummer family lived on Thompson Road in North Fremantle, but during the war the family built a house in Gill Street, East Fremantle and relocated there.
His enlistment records, completed on 6 February 1916, show that Ross was 22 years of age, single, 5ft 9in and his occupation was listed as grocer. He was described as of light complexion with brown eyes and black hair. His religious denomination was recorded as the Church of England.
As did all servicemen, Ross signed the following oath:
I will well and truly serve our sovereign Lord the King in the Australian Imperial Force from 6 February 1916 until the end of the War and a further period of four months thereafter unless lawfully discharged, dismissed, or removed therefrom; and that I will resist His Majesty’s enemies and cause His Majesty’s peace to be kept and maintained; and that I will in all matters appertaining to my service, faithfully discharge my duty according to the law.
Ross embarked on 1 April 1916 with the 22nd Depot but on 28 May 1916 was transferred to the 15th reinforcement of the 16th Battalion.
He sent postcards home to his family. The following, he sent to his young sister Winifred (sweetly nicknamed Win).
Ross Edward Rummer was recorded as missing in action in France on 11 April 1917. Shortly thereafter it was discovered that he was in fact a Prisoner of War, interned in Limburg, Germany after having been captured in Reincourt.
His war records, available via the National Archives, show that Ross’s parents did not receive a telegram revealing this news until 13 January 1918, almost a year after his internment commenced.
It was not until 4 January 1919 that he was repatriated to England. From 7 January until 7 February, Ross was granted leave. During this period of rest and recovery, Ross was able to send a number of photographs home:
Finally on 3 March 1919, Ross embarked on HT Euripedes to return home.
Ross went home to live with his family in Gill Street, East Fremantle. There he reunited with his siblings, now 3 years older and met his youngest sister for the first time.
He found love and was engaged to be married to Ada Thompson. Devastatingly, at 26 years of age, he developed peritonitis and died from the condition in August 1921. Ada Thompson went on to remarry but the family always stayed close with her and Ross’s siblings, and later their children, visited Ada often.
The family’s home in Gill Street, East Fremantle, was named "Rossward” in honour of Ross. Winifred’s daughter, and Ross’s neice, Sandra displays a portrait of Ross in her home.
Many thanks to Sandra Davis (daughter of Ross's sister Win) and Glenda McPharlin (daughter of Ross's sister Rona), and thus two of Ross Edward Rummer’s nieces, for sharing his stories and photographs with us.