Ulysses 25 October 1916




November 2015: The date for this family historian to investigate the old trunks containing letters and photo’s from my great great and great grandparents Stephens and Briant’s respectively. The well aged trunks sitting patiently waiting to be explored by a sixth generation descendent.

A photo of this young man below in AIF uniform sent to his Aunt Maria Jane Stephens (known to all as ‘Grannie’), my great-great grandmother caught my eye. Thankfully Eric William Wiltshire Paynter of Gawler South Australia had ensured his name was beside his photograph helping this ancestor explore his AIF story. ‘To Dear Auntie with love from Pte EWW Paynter AAMC’ Paynter easy to sort out as the son of Maria Jane’s sister Etty.

Eric Paynter left Australia aboard the HMAT Ulysses in Melbourne on 25 October 1916 as part of the Army Medical Corp.Eric William Wiltshire Paynter 001

Oh my goodness!!

My great-uncle George Collis Robinson was also aboard the HMAT Ulysses with the 4th Machine Gun Company.


In our family there are 11 of us related to both Eric and George. I expect this number will grow in the years to come.

Even more incredibly……. George would be connected to Eric by another association! Georges next-door neighbour on Flinders Island would be Eric’s beloved Aunt, Grannie Stephens, how fascinating!!

Of all the places in Bass Strait Eric’s Auntie could have lived – it had to be between Badger Corner and Samphire River!!

Both boys were recipients of their mother’s maiden names, Collis and Wiltshire.

It would be a many years later when George’s brother married Grannies granddaughter and the birth of Dad these two lads aboard the Ulysses quite possibly not known to one another would end up with their DNA in our family tree.

I wonder if their paths crossed on the voyage……………this we shall never know.

Then again Dan may have mentioned in his letters home, letters this historian must look over on the next trip home.

Lest we forget