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Eric TRAIL


Rank Reg/Ser No DOB Enlisted Discharge/Death Board
14653 21y6m 28 Oct 1916 9 Oct 1919 3

Driver Eric Trail (1895 - 1930)

Trail Brothers Booklet

The Trail Family from Aberdeen

In the Merrington Anzac Memorial Peace Chapel the names of Albert Trail and Eric Trail are listed on the honour board which was unveiled by Rev. Dr Ernest Merrington on 23 September 1917. Albert and Eric were sons of David and Annie Trail who came to Queensland from Aberdeen, Scotland on board the ship Gulf of Carpentaria in 1885. Their first three children accompanied them, Jean aged 3, Annie 2 and baby David. In Queensland, four more children joined the family: Charles Smith, Dora, Albert and Eric.

Mr David Trail was an engineer and company manager. He held responsible positions in Walkers Limited of Maryborough before managing the Eagle Farm Meatworks till 1898 when he left to manage his own company, Trails Limited Newstead.  The company operated a warehouse for cold storage and refrigeration and traded as carcass butchers and wholesale and retail fishmongers.

Link to Saint Andrew's

The Trail family home was called Balgownie, situated in Gibbon Street, Teneriffe. They worshipped at Wickham Terrace Presbyterian Church which became Saint Andrew’s in 1905. One of Mr and Mrs Trail’s daughters (Jean Robertson Trail) in 1904 married Andrew Lind, one of the sons of the firm Alexander Lind and Sons, the building contractors who built Saint Andrew’s Church from 1903 to 1905.  Mr David Trail died on 30 November 1939 and his widow, Mrs Annie Trail on 14 October 1946.

Early life

Eric was the youngest member of the Trail family.  He was born in Brisbane on 10 September 1895.  From the year 1911 in Australia young men were encouraged to join the citizen defence force.  Eric served 12 months in Senior Cadets Area 7B and then joined a Light Horse Regiment based in Brisbane.

Enlistment and service

He was working as a sub-manager probably in his father’s business when at the age of 21 years 6 months he enlisted in Brisbane to serve in the AIF on 28 October 1916.  Eric Trail was appointed with the rank of driver to the 1st Australian Army Mechanical Transport Company at Broadmeadows.  

He left with reinforcements on board HMAT Themistocles from Melbourne on 4 August 1917 and disembarked at Glasgow.  Eric Trail’s unit travelled overland to Parkhouse Camp in Southern England for training before proceeding overseas to France where he joined the 1st Australian Siege Brigade Ammunition Column on 29 March 1918.

As a mechanical transport driver he filled a variety of administrative, training and re-supply roles.  Driver Trail’s base depot was probably at Rouen.

Post war

After the war, Eric Trail was given periods of leave in the United Kingdom and Paris.  He joined the 4th Australian Mechanical Transport Company in April 1919 and returned to Australia per HMAT Takada.  

MT Driver Eric Trail was discharged from the AIF on 9 October 1919. The 1921 electoral roll listed Eric Trail living with his parents in their family home at Gibbon Street, Teneriffe and employed as a soldier. Throughout the remaining years of the decade his occupation was works foreman.

The youngest member of the Trail family was also the first in his family to die. The cause of his early death in Brisbane on 15 August 1930 at the age of 34 years is not known.


References
• National Archives of Australia, military records, World War 1
• Australian War Memorial - Unit histories, Embarkation Rolls, World War 1
• Ancestry, on line
• Queensland State Archives, shipping arrivals, passenger lists, Wills Index
• Saint Andrew’s Uniting Church Archives, Brisbane, Annual Reports 1901-1925 - Saint Andrew’s Presbyterian Church
• Queensland Register of Births, Deaths, Marriages
Maryborough Chronicle, 7 December, 1939, page 10
The Telegraph, Brisbane, 30 November 1939, page 12; 9 June 1913, page 11
The Week, Brisbane, 15 July 1904, page 18
Brisbane Courier, 27 May 1914, page 17; 23 August 1930; 27 June 1903, page 3
Daily Mail, Brisbane, 8 February 1925, page 8
• Australian Electoral Rolls, 1913 – 1958
• State Library of Queensland – images where cited


Compiled by Noel E. Adsett, Brisbane.  August 2016.

 

 

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