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Author Topic: Help again please  (Read 9939 times)
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« on: 15 September 2011, 07:24:22 pm »

Kim
Senior Forum Member
 

Australia
601 Posts   Posted - 01/09/2004 :  6:53:19 PM 
I am looking for in depth information of life in the trenches in France and life on The Desert Campaign.
I have read Bean, Voices from the Trenches, History of the 4th, various internet sites and still can not quite get what I am after. Does any one know of a diary or letters that may have escaped censorship and are on public record. Or, did any one talk to any Anzacs who were actually there and may have asked some deeper quetions than It was muddy and it was hell and it was loud.
Yes they ate mouldy bread and drank putrid water but I'm looking for some one's ( who was there) thoughts about all this.
Kim
troopone
Advanced Forum Member
 

Australia
273 Posts    Posted - 03/09/2004 :  08:07:48 AM 
There are a number of publications that will help.
The imperial War Museum published "Forgotten Voices" which is extracts from diaries and interviews.
Robert Graves' "Goodbye to all that" is a detailed look at trenches and behind the lines (including his poetry and his relationship with other WWI poets)
Idriess' "Desert Column" has details of Gallipoli and the Desert War.
Regimental Histories have details of some parts of their actions.
george franki
Forum Member


Australia
86 Posts    Posted - 03/09/2004 :  1:31:42 PM 
Hello Kim. I am not trying to build sales for my co authored work " Mad Harry" about Australia's most decorated soldier, Harry Murray VC CMG DSO and Bar DCM CdeG; but I suggest that if tou look at the extenxsive bibliograohy and, in particlualr, read te chatper on Bllecourt yu will get an idea of what the
george franki
Forum Member


Australia
86 Posts    Posted - 03/09/2004 :  1:48:09 PM 
Hello Kim. I messed up my first effort at a reply to you. Getting very old. However, if you read my co-authored book "Mad Harry" (published 2003)about our most decorated soldier ever, Harry Murray VC CMG DSO and Bar DCM C de G, you will find in the bibliography a good survey of writings on life for the diggers in WW1.The chapter on Bullecourt is very revealing. Harry served from the Landing to the breaking of the Hindenburg Line in October 1918. Also, we reproduced all his many articles from Reveille (NSW RSL magazine)in the 1920s and 1930s.I am not trying to push sales. I have recovered expenses on sales of the book so far and that is all I need."Mad Harry" is in many local libraries so you could have a look at it. I am in my late 70s (my co author and I met when serving as very young RAN sailors in WW2) but am so glad that the book was accepted for publication and that I met members of Harry Murray's family. A privilege indeed. George Franki
george franki
Forum Member


Australia
86 Posts    Posted - 03/09/2004 :  1:59:20 PM 
Hello Kim. Forgot to mention Gammage's work "The Broken Years. Australian Soldiers in the Great War" published 1974.This book is largely made up of quotes from soldiers' letters and diaries. A most moving work; indeed a classic. This will give you some idea of how the diggers felt and what they endured. You should read it.
George Franki
Kim
Senior Forum Member
 

Australia
601 Posts    Posted - 03/09/2004 :  8:39:58 PM 
Thank you, people. This has given me something to work on. Just waiting for the library to find them for me.
Ta
Kim
Jeff Pickerd
Advanced Forum Member
 

Australia
486 Posts    Posted - 04/09/2004 :  12:24:07 AM 
Kim
What time period are you looking at, 1916,17 or onwards. I can probably help you re 8th LHR, for some personal accounts of life in the Sinai and Palestine. You will find that their attitudes about life and conditions will change depending on location, inactivity or action. For instance, towards the end of February 1916 while they are training at heliopolis Camp, they are all anxious to get away to see some action at the front. Around the end of March, beginning April, while camped at Railhead, Serapeum, on the Suez Canal, the heat, flies, dust storms and monotony of patrol work with out coming into contact with the Turks, has dampended their initial enthusiasim for finally getting to the front line. Many now put in for transfers to join Artillery Regiments, so as to be able to get to France for some real action. Once the fighting starts in earnest, from the battle of Romani onwards, and the 3rd LH Brigade is on the move and coming into contact with the Turks, a slightly different attitude is expressed.
Just what kind of information do you want, living conditions, descriptions of their work and camp life, thoughts, gripes, reflections, descriptions of engagements. There is so much to your question, I am not sure what to give you.
One of the best accounts, will be the diaries of George Auchterlonie, 8th LHR. "Dads War Stuff, The Diaries" edited by Gloria Auchterlonie,Morwell Victoria. Printed by Pazzaz Printing Pty Ltd. Morwell. Try a Goggle search to find where you can aquire a copy, will be well worth the cost for the information you are seeking.
More than happy to help you if I can, just let me no what you would like to know.

Regards,Jeff


Kim
Senior Forum Member
 

Australia
601 Posts    Posted - 04/09/2004 :  02:15:20 AM 
Thanks Jeff.
I need to read everthing possible and look at photos that show and tell of what a man thought and did, as he went about his day to day activities in the war, particularly - arrival in Eygpt- marching on Beersheba - in the Battle of Pozieres. I've come close with extracts from a diary of Raws in Pozieres.
With out sounding too far out, I need to "get into their skin" if you follow what I mean.(No disrespect). You can write, "the flies were bad and we had to brush them off our stale bread" or you can write, if you have the right research, "The flies were black sticky little ****s that crawled inside your mouth when you took a bite of bread. The bread tasted liked sawdust, set in concrete. Jack reckoned that no-one died from eating flies, they helped fill your belly. Jack was a bit of a galah, but even he drew the line at drinking Anzac soup."
It's rough but it should convey my meaning.
Most diaries just list "cleaned gear, got drunk, had a good go at the Turks etc. although there are some good ones for what I am looking for, I just need to find them.
Kim



Jeff Pickerd
Advanced Forum Member
 

Australia
486 Posts    Posted - 04/09/2004 :  6:00:30 PM 
Kim
Firstly I see I am not the only nut who sits up to all hours of the morning, working away.
Of the letters and diaries from the officers and men of the 8th LHR that I have, they vary enormously, as what each man will tell of their experiences. Unfortunalely, some of these have been given on loan for my research, and I am reluctant to quote directly from these without first gaining permission from the rightfull owners.
My interest is slightly different to yours, in so much as, the dull, matter of fact entries that will tell you very little, are of greatest interest to me for recording the regiments history.
There is so much material available, I could not possibly do justice to trying to convey all that could be of help to you, via this forum.
Now that being said, the best I can do for you is to pass on the best souces of information for you to access.
There has just this week, been a new book published on the 3rd LH Brigade on Gallipoli, by John Hamilton, Associated Editor of the Herald and Weekly Times. The title is "Good Bye Cobber, God Bless You". John has quoted extensively from letters and diaries, and would be just the kind of information you are looking for. Unfortunalely this will only cover the period from the formation of the brigade in 1914 to the end of the August Offensive 1915, but has many excellent descriptions of the overall activities they experienced through out this period of time.
For the desert campaign I would suggest another much older book, THE DESERT COLUMN by Ion L.Idriess. This may be hard to come by, and is bit over the top with the manner in which he has written, but I think it would be of great value to your requirements.
I have had a brief look through the letters of Jack McGlade, who corresponded with his future wife, Shelia, to the end of the War. The only trouble is, quite naturally, he comments mostly on the news he is receiving from home. He does occassionaly give good desciptions of life at the front, but these take a great deal reading to find. This collection of letters is held by the State Library of Victoria, and can be copied, but think you would actually have to go there to do so.
Sorry I am not being of direct assistance to you at this stage, but unfortunately it does take a great reading time to find information that will be useful. The best is, follow all the leads that have been given to you so far, it will take time, but there is a wealth of information out there. I am sure all of us will endeavor to point you in the right direction.
Regards, Jeff


Kim
Senior Forum Member
 

Australia
601 Posts    Posted - 04/09/2004 :  6:05:49 PM 
Thanks,
You are right, it does take a long time to sift through the material and there is a lot to sift through!!
I've just ordered that book 'Dad's War Stuff and am reading through a pile of others at the moment. You can see why you guys on the forum are so helpful with your collective knowledge!
Thanks again
Kim
Bill Woerlee
Veteran Forum Member
 

Australia
1069 Posts    Posted - 04/09/2004 :  7:07:43 PM   
Mates, regarding Bill Gammage, he is one hell of a nice guy. I worked with him at Adelaide University where he teaches History. If there is something specific within his baliwick he would fall over backwards to help you. His students think he is one of the best professors you could ever meet. One heck of an inspirational fellow.
This is for what it's worth - a resource to be used but sparingly.

Cheers

Bill

Kim
Senior Forum Member
 

Australia
601 Posts    Posted - 04/09/2004 :  8:26:21 PM 
Thanks guys,
Point taken Bill, shall read Gammage with interest.
New question.
Does any one know aprroxiamately how many rounds of .22 ammo was in a "case" in about 1910? How many boxes made a case?

Kim

ghosken
Forum Member


Australia
141 Posts    Posted - 05/09/2004 :  9:23:37 PM 
There are quite a few books that convey the horrors and heroism of trench warfare quite well and are first hand accounts. I keep coming back to some that are well known, but nevertheles may be hard to get. Eg 'Hells bells and madameoiselles' by Joe Maxwell, Jacka's Mob by EJ Rule, Back to the Wall by G Mitchell, and A private's view of WWI by Bert Bishop. In preparing 'Wellington's finest' for publication we have come across many letters written from the front, and one that stick in my mind was written from around Pozieres, and describes the actions of an anonymous 'malingerer' who, by his laziness and cowardice, cost the lives of several men, as he funked digging a section of a communication trench. Consequently, while crossing the undug section, Diggers were killed. This gives a different insight, and shows that the reality does sometimes not match the myth. Re Pozieres, there is an excellent account of going into the battle of Pozieres written by Harold Campbell (3rd Btn)in our book, 'Four Australians at War'. This letter was republished in John Laffin's 'We will remember them.'

Jeff Pickerd
Advanced Forum Member
 

Australia
486 Posts    Posted - 06/09/2004 :  01:15:51 AM 
Kim
From the diary of Signaller A. D. Callow No 10, RHQ 8th LHR.
29/2/1916 - "such is the life of a soldier, after working hard laying horse lines in the blazing sand today our tongues became dry; as one could imagine the issue of tea was very short. A couple of us were obliged to trudge through the heavy sand for about a mile at dusk to a tank on the bank of the (Suez) Canal, only to find a sentry with a fixed bayonet and a loaded rifle. 'This water is reserved for those on Brigade Headquarters'. Being the only tank on the ground and plenty of water in it our trip over and back was very disappointing and made us ten times thirstier."

Trooper Ronald Ross No 181, "D" Troop, "A" Sqdn, 8th LHR.
Thursday 13/4/1916 - "Three horses broke away from outpost early this morning. Lindsay and I were sent to find them and found them at Serapeum Railhead Camp. We struck the most dusty day I ever want to experience again. We had dinner at canal before finding them at railhead, having been travelling all day in the dust. We camped where we found them till next morning."

As I find more entries that I think may be of interest to you, I shall post them here. Only looking at 1916 at present. As you have ordered Auchterlonie's diary, I will let him speak for himself.

Regards, Jeff

SJR
Forum Member


Australia
196 Posts    Posted - 07/09/2004 :  10:46:21 AM 
Kim,
I’m with TROOPONE in recommending “Forgotten Voices” although it deals mainly with the British in Europe it does have some Australian and even German input. Here’s a sample:
“I spent the night in a concrete pillbox, Ferdinand Farm. It had very thick concrete walls but it was a curious sot of place to have a headquarters. It had been built by the Germans, and so the entrance faced the German lines. Inside it was only about five foot high and at the bottom there was two foot of water. This water was simply horrid, full of refuse, old tins and even excreta. Whenever shells burst near it the smell was perfectly overpowering. Luckily, there was a sort of concrete shelf the Boche had made about two foot about ground level. It was on this shelf that four officers and six other ranks spent the night. There wasn’t room to lie down, there was hardly room to sit upright, and we more or less crouched there. Outside the pillbox was an enormous shell hole full of water, and the only way out was over a ten inch plank. Inside the shell hole was the dead body of a Boche who had been there a very long time and who floated or sank on alternate days according to the atmosphere.”
There are more descriptive ones and cover both the mental and physical strains these men endured. One story that comes to mind is the unit that had to shoot two of their own mates for the desertion and the guilt they felt that the families were never told. I thoroughly recommend it.
Regards.

Kim
Senior Forum Member
 

Australia
601 Posts    Posted - 07/09/2004 :  5:35:50 PM 
Thanks Guys My list of reading is getting longer. It is due to you guys that I might even suceed in my quest.
Thanks again
Kim

Jeff Pickerd
Advanced Forum Member
 

Australia
486 Posts    Posted - 07/09/2004 :  7:21:51 PM 
Kim
I would also strongly recomend "Forgotten Voices", this is a wonderful book to get a real feel for what what they experienced.
Another extract from a letter home by Jack McGlade, 8th LHR.
13th March 1916 - "Over here it is a bit rough but we must expect that, and if a man takes an interest in the work it is not a bad life, of course we all growl and swear at the work and the war in general, and all reckon we were D--- fools to have ever come to the war. But don't think one of us would have missed it for anything. The Gallipoli Peninsula was an awful place, and we all glad to get away from it, but we are all pleased that we saw it. It seems a pity that so many lives should have been lost there and then have to give it up, but I suppose it was the best thing to do. Even in this regiment I often look around and when I see so many new men and officers in it, I think of all we have lost. It is now that we miss the old original officers and men. When we were in Broadmeadows and on the Peninsula we seemed more like a big family, we all pulled so well together.
So you have been hearing great tales of the hardships we had crossing the desert. I wrote to you telling you about our trip to the Western Frontier (Senussi Campaign). It was a bit rough but I wouldn't have missed it for anything. The thing that hurt most was to see the poor old neddies going short of water and feed. When we were on the march and on short rations I used to feed my old horse on biscuits. He got a regular old pest, always poking around looking for more."
Regards, Jeff

Jeff Pickerd
Advanced Forum Member
 

Australia
486 Posts    Posted - 13/09/2004 :  11:06:37 PM 
Kim
Do you still want any other references from letters and diaries at the moment, or are you busy wading through all the reading matter that has been suggested to you.
I was sifting through my Grandfathers memorabilia from the First World War the other day, and came across a blank sheet of YMCA writting paper he had stashed away. If you could use this for your work, would be happy to send a scanned copy to you.
Regards, Jeff
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