18 Year Old Bottle-Post

This is the story for Week 5 of 6 under the subject of ‘Finding a Treasure Trove’. It is written about my 3rd great uncle, Percy Claude Shingles. It was submitted on 22 January 2017.

18 Year Old Bottle-Post

Percy was stunned.  He couldn’t believe it.  After 18 years their bottle had just washed ashore on Kangaroo Island. He had forgotten all about it.

Percy had recently been awarded an honour certificate for his work in collecting 30,000 bottles for the Royal Melbourne Hospital.  People had often asked him where he had gotten his fascination for bottles.  Now he had a great answer!

On 21 Jun 1917 Private Percy sat on the after well deck of HMAT Ballarat with his new mates Peter and George, having sailed two days previously.  Already feeling homesick and lonely, they were drowning their sorrows in the last of their Melbourne beer.

Peter had thrown the second last bottle overboard while whistling the Last Post.  When it came to throwing the last bottle, George suggested putting a letter in it.  Each of them scribbled a quick note,  with Percy writing to a friend living in Brunswick.  They corked up the bottle and heaved it over the stern.  The last they saw it was bobbing about in the ships wake while they crossed the Great Australia Bight heading towards war and an unknown future.

So now Percy had a great answer but was left with a big question! Where were his mates now?. He had seen George at a few ANZAC marches but he knew nothing of Peter.  Percy decided to see if he could find them as he was sure they’d get a kick out of knowing their bottle had finally been found!


Rockhampton Morning Bulletin Thu 10 Oct 1935 Page 12

18 Year Bottle - Percy Claude Shingles

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I have been researching my family history since 2009. I am interested it the family names Shingles, McEwan, Snowdon & Witt around Gippsland and Wodonga areas of Victoria, Australia

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