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  • ‘Back to the old front line,’ called Imlay, as a bloodied messenger raced in. I glanced around the trench as I swung my gun on shoulder. Bright mess tins lay about. There was half a loaf of bread with an open tin of jam beside it, and bloodstained equipment lying everywhere. The dead sergeant still lay massive on the parapet. Other dead lay limp on the trench floor. Wounded sprawled or sat with backs to the parapet, watching us with anxious eyes. ‘You are not going to leave us?’ asked one of me. I could not answer him, or meet his eyes as I joined the party moving down the sap. For some reason I felt the guilt of deserting them was mine alone. Here was a tangle of dismembered limbs and dead men. The air was heavy with the reek of explosives. One man, with his foot blown off, leaned wearily back. He had a mills in his hand with the pin out. He would not be taken alive. Our party – about sixty strong, with our two remaining officers – spread along the German front line, mean with ready bombs and bayonets on the flanks. No other Australian force was left in the Hindenburg Line. Our shells still screamed about the parapet. When this fire died down the might of the German Army would fall again on our outflanked few. Between us and our line stretched masses of brown wire, and fifteen hundred yards of bullet and shell-swept level land, over which for a long time no messenger had lived in attempting to get across. Wounded men stood and sat silent on the upper steps of deep dugouts. I leaned on my gun, pondering the utter hopelessness of the position. A Fritz machine gun sat askew on the parapet. I was forming a project to bring it into action. Word came from the left flank, punctuated by bomb bursts, ‘Enemy bombing back. We have run out of bombs’. All stores of German bombs had been used up by our men. An officers’ voice called clear, ‘Dump everything and get back.’ Discard my beautiful gun? They mightn’t give me another! Our few unwounded climbed the parapet. Heavily I started to climb the steep trench wall where a shell had partly blown it in. I looked up to see Bill Davies standing on the top amid the bullets, with hand extended to help me up. A vast indifference settled on me, as I stood on the parapet. Three yards out a man lying over a strand of wire called, ‘Help me, mate.’ I put down my gun and tried to heave him into a shell hole. He screamed with pain as I heaved, so I stopped. ‘I can’t do anything for you, old chap’, I said, and hoping that I would be forgiven the lie, ‘I will send the bearers back.’ ‘Thank you’, he said. I picked up my gun and walked on. A shrapnel from the enemy flank churned the ground just in front, as I picked my way through the wire. A piece of shell fragment cut my puttee tape, and dropped the folds around my boot. In complete indifference I trudged over the field, making the concession of holding the gun flat so as not to be too prominent. A man reaches a blasé stage after too much excitement. Once I thought of settling down and blazing defiance at the enemy with my last solitary magazine. But the thought of our wounded in the track of the bullets made me refrain. Five-point-nines burst black on either hand, and futile bullets zipped about. They could no nothing to me. Silly cows to try. Someone ought to tell them… George Mitchell's walk was witnessed by hundreds and passed into AIF Legend. He was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal and later commissioned.
  • A further example of Nimmo’s courage was on 28 June 1915 when leading his troops towards Turkish positions. During the advance one of Nimmo’s sergeants indicated to him that there were Turkish soldiers firing at other Australian troops to the north of their position. Nimmo, appreciating that the Turkish soldiers were exposed from their position in relation to his, quietly collected a dozen men, explained the situation to them and issued quick orders, then gave the signal to rise and fire five rounds of rapid fire. The Turkish soldiers became confused and quickly took cover before fighting back. The situation soon developed into a skirmish with artillery shells and firing from an Australian warship, affecting the progress of Nimmo’s men. But Nimmo’s leadership steadied his men and again, his courage under fire was noted.
  • George Mitchell .. the culminating point ‘Backs to the Wall!’ Backs to hell, and old ‘Nick’ reaching out with his pitchfork. We could not hear our own rifles above the din, only knew by the recoil that we had fired. I could feel the sidelong glances from the men, and the unspoken thought, ‘How are you going to get us out of this mess?’ ‘Poor blighters, my job is to keep you here till you are done for, not get you out.’ On three sides, they closed in, only the way to company headquarters was open. Suddenly a runner dived in and I read the message, ‘Retire immediately.’ Down the bank once more and out on the lower plain, futile bullets pecked the ground as I trudged. What did it matter? Only a question of today, tomorrow, or the next day! To my delighted eyes, there stretched a well-sited, newly dug trench lined with capable looking Australians. Eager questions assailed me ‘Where is he, when is he coming?’ ‘Massing over the hill’ I replied, ‘here in about twenty minutes.’ ‘We’ve got him now, we’ve got him!’ Sorted out my platoon and led them to the extreme left where there was a gap. A roar of small-arm fire came from the right, a 13th brigade battalion, the 49th, swept forward into the gap. We watched as they swung along with irresistible momentum, the ranks thinned as they went, here and there groups shot and stabbed. Ahead of them ran field grey figures, the gap is closed by good Australian bayonets! No further attack came from Fritz. Down came their gunfire on us, the worst I ever experienced. Big shells punched the rocking earth with appalling fury, smoke rolled in clouds, had a bad attack of wind-up, and the taste of death was in my mouth. If I live through this, I thought as I lay in a heap, I will never be any good anymore. Ten shells a second, I calculated, landed on our hundred yards of front. Slowly the fire died away, the 2nd Division came up and relieved us, we assembled our weary few and marched back." George Mitchell, MC, DCM, "Backs to the Wall", 1937
  • RAAF History - 17 September David Lascelles Against all the colourful and emotive language in use today, this lovely piece of understatement is from a different era. I suggest it also speaks quiet volumes for the solid reliability of the dear old LANCASTER. Enjoy. D 17 September 1944, No 463 Squadron Lancaster JO-T departed RAF Waddington for a bombing sortie again Bologne, France. The following is extracted from the pilot’s post-operation report. "On our bombing run, immediately after "Bombs Gone" we were hit by heavy flak, causing a hole in our port wing approximately 11ft; X 6ft; and the ailerons severely damaged. Aircraft went out of control in a diving turn; during this time No.3 tank blew out, and exploded behind aircraft. I ordered crew to abandon aircraft and moderate control of aircraft was maintained at 4,000 ft; during which time Wireless Operator, Mid Upper and Rear Gunners endeavoured to get out of rear door. This was jammed and the handle broke off, so had to come to the front hatch which partly jammed adding further difficulties for crew trying to bale out. Eventually all members of crew apart from Pilot squeezed themselves out. During this time reasonable controlled descent was maintained with port engines fully opened; starboard engines half throttled; full aileron and rudder bias. It is estimated crew got out at 2,000 to 3,000 ft; and at 1,500 ft; I made an effort to bale out, unsuccessfully as the aircraft dived and was uncontrollable. I regained control of the aircraft at 800 ft; and having no alternative, had to make a forced landing in the quickest possible time. Landing eventually effected in a field that was obstructed with anti-invasion posts, with my starboard engine on fire; undercarriage and flaps serviceable and operated allowing me to make a successful landing. At the end of the landing run, to avoid further damage, swung aircraft to port, coming to rest in a wood. Made a quick get away as starboard outer wing and engine were on fire. Throughout these extremely difficult circumstances my crew behaved in an exemplary manner and showed calm and coolness throughout." Navigator (F/Sgt. Dent) states: "Our pilot's captaincy and leadership displayed throughout those intense moments gave us confidence and inspiration. We considered aircraft impossible to fly, and how he effected a landing was, in the opinion of all of us, a miracle, and we never expected after we left that the aircraft would be landed". Comment: So ‘ moderate control’ resulted from half of the left wing shot away, the right wing in shreds, a right side engine on fire, control surfaces severely damaged, fuel tanks blown away and the Lancaster falling out of the sky!!
  • This officer has completed 68 sorties and has displayed great courage and determination. During a sortie in January, 1943, Flying Officer Cowper was compelled to make a forced landing behind the enemy’s lines but he displayed great resource in outwitting the enemy and regained our own lines on foot. One night in July, 1943, he engaged a Junkers 88 and caused it to explode. The enemy aircraft disintegrated and a large portion struck and so disabled Flying Officer Cowper’s aircraft that he – was forced to leave it by parachute. He was later rescued from the sea and rejoined his squadron to resume operational flying. Since then, Flying Officer Cowper has destroyed another Junkers 88.
  • News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 - 1954), Saturday 4 January 1947, page 1 Body Found In Wreck SEREANT - PILOT C. W. Dunning. Spitfire SERGEANT-PILOT Colin William Dunning, of Restormel avenue, Fullarton Estate, was the pilot of a crashed Spitfire found by an aboriginal at Fog Harbor, 45 miles south-west of Darwin, last week. His parents were notified by R.A.A.F. headquarters last night. His remains were found on what would have been the pilot's twenty-second birthday, and will be interred in a military cemetery at Darwin. Missing from a non-operational flight more than two years ago, the late Sgt. Dunning was the son of Mr. and Mrs. S. L. Dunning, of Restormel avenue, Fullarton Estate. After a promising scholastic career at Marist Brothers' College, he won a scholarship for accountancy studies, and had completed two subjects when he joined the R.A.A.F. at the age of 18. After training at fighter schools at Mildura and Deniliquin, Sgt. Dunning went to Darwin with No. 452 Spitfire Squadron, and was lost on an altitude test and training exercises on April 24, 1944.
  • On the 14th September, 1917, at ZILLEBEKE, the 18th Battery position was heavily shelled from 3 p.m. to 4.30 p.m. with 5.9" and 8". At 3.36 p.m. an ammunition dump alongside No. 1 gun was hit and it and the gun pit caught fire. These men [8360 M.A. COCKER, 8381 D.D. BRADBURY, (8381) Lt E.J. SHEPHERD, (10762) Lt L. CARTHEW] on Lieutenant DODD calling for a party rushed out of the shelter trench in the face of the heavy fire and with water from adjacent shell holes succeeded in putting it out. Later the pit was again hit and it and the ammunition and an adjacent pit caught fire. These men again went out with Lieutenant DODD in the face of the shelling and succeeded in saving the guns and ammunition. They displayed great gallantry and determination in the face of very considerable danger.' Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 31 Date: 7 March 1918
  • Before going into battle in September 1918 Bernard wrote the following letter to his brother Gabriel’s wife, Lottie. Interestingly, it is dated 1 October 1918; apparently it was not uncommon for men to date letters this way as they went into battle. This is believed to be the last letter that Bernard wrote. October 1, 1918 France Dear Lottie, Just a few lines, Lottie, in answer to your welcome letter to hand dated 9 June, was pleased to get a long letter from you and Gabe. So your little girls don’t forget me by what Gabe told me. Well I am expecting to be going to England on leave soon. I have been over here a long time and have been existing well. All the girls getting married, well good luck to them and tell your sisters that I wish them the best of luck as besides fighting hard for years and wasting the best years of my life over here but you know I have a nice little girl over here first for the time being and will close this letter wishing you and the children the best of luck. I remain, Bernard xxx Submitted by Julianne T Ryan, courtesy of Jenny Kingsford (nee Coyte).
  • 'At BROODSEINDE RIDGE East of YPRES this stretcher Bearer was assisting in clearing wounded under the most difficult and trying conditions from 4th to 9th October, 1917. Owing to the severe weather the mud was in places over the knees of the bearers and the route was shelled severely during the greater part of the time. On 9th October he took a squad from the R.A.P. under heavy shell, rifle and machine gun fire for 600 yards to find a Regtl. Stretcher Bearer who had been previously sniped, and dressed and brought him safely to cover. He set a most inspiring example of cheerfulness and devotion to duty.' Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 95 Date: 27 June 1918 AWM
  • An extract from A Day I Never Forget by Marie Harris. I was posted to the Ack Ack Site at Goxhill Haven as a driver in 1943. My duties were to drive all vehicles and any vehicle wherever needed. There were 3 of us girl drivers, Moira Turnbull, Nan Caulfield and myself. Although I say it myself I think we did a darned good job (must have done for they never gave us the sack!). It was quite a good site really, ATS and soldiers all got on well together, taking the good with the bad, no luxuries as such and not many "Passes Out". Occasionally, when there had been a good night of shooting the enemy planes down, the Major and Officers would put on a dance and social night for us in the NAAFI. They would invite so many RAF and so many Yanks. It all helped to make a great night and lift our spirits and to mix or meet others who were doing what we were trying to do, keep old Hitler out. Most of the RAF were Air Crew and you would dance with one or two, get to know them a bit and have a great night, but knowing when you saw the Bombers taking off the following night they were up there doing the BIG BIT and come the next evening you would ask "where's Alec, Bob and Bill?" Just a shrug of the shoulders from their mates and you knew and felt sad, very sad. As I drove around the lanes to wherever my duties took me at a certain time of the day you would see the Bombers going off and up into the clouds and away, you got used to it, up into one circle, two circles and third circle away on their mission and you would say to yourself and often loudly "Good luck lads, come back for that Tango." It was one afternoon in December 1943 around 4.30 as I was driving a load of stores to another site in the Guy Truck, which had an open front and canvas covered back, going along this lane just wide enough for the truck and a ditch each side. Coming up to a farm on my right, it was very low cloud and the Lancasters were taking off into the circles, up and away, as I looked up and raised my right arm in a salute. They were so low and so near I felt I could nearly touch them. One went into this low cloud and I was thinking it's a wonder they don't crash they are so close together, when in a split second as it came out of the cloud, God, it was a head on crash with another Lancaster, one almighty explosion and all Hell was let loose. It was awful, I couldn't believe what had happened practically over my head, just over the farmer's field. I was so stunned, streaks of fire shooting all over the road and my truck. I pulled on the brakes and jumped in the ditch but only for a few seconds thinking some of the crew could be saved, so I ran up past the farmer's house, bits and pieces lying all over, just passing a barn and someone caught hold of me from behind and wouldn't let go, kept saying "NO LASS, NO LASS there'll be nothing". It was the old farmer. In no time at all the fire engines etc. were arriving. I pulled myself together and went back to my truck in a daze and drove onto the site, still couldn't believe what had happened. When I pulled up at the Guard House I was just rooted to my seat and couldn't stop crying, thinking of the Bobs, Alecs and Bills whoever just blown to bits. It was awful and still is. The guard called the Sergeant who took one look at my truck with all the bits and pieces, burns on the canvas and said "she must have been under it." They took me into the Mess and gave me a cup of hot strong tea and 20 minutes by the round stove (they were really kind.) I felt better and had to get on with it, so back to Goxhill. On arriving our MT Officer was concerned; did I need to go to the MO? No Sir, I'll be OK but when I went to bed I couldn't shut my eyes, this terrific explosion flashed before me every time. I was like this for quite a few nights. Another thing I can't bear even to this day to watch a film with planes crashing. I'd shut my eyes or go out of the cinema. Later in life I often used to think and wish I had gone back to see that farmer and I used to wonder if the families knew where their sons were lying. I was very pleased to hear that a Plaque is being dedicated in Remembrance to those poor souls. I can never forget them or what happened to them.. Driver Marie Harris W/44133 ATS.
  • see No. 42 Sqn unit page Catalina serial number A24-100 and code number RK-L of 42 Squadron, RAAF, piloted by 401846 Pilot Officer (PO) (later Flying Officer (FO)) Clifford Dent Hull of Hawthorn, Vic. After completing a successful mine laying operation off Macassar (Celebes) Harbour on the night of 23 & 24 October 1944, the starboard engine of this aircraft was damaged by Japanese anti aircraft (AA) fire. Unable to maintain height on his return and with the second engine failing, PO Hull made a forced landing in the open sea south of the South Western Celebes Peninsula. He and his crew spent the next twelve hours on the water uncomfortably close to four Japanese airfields based in Southern Celebes, before a second Catalina (left), OX-U of 43 Squadron, RAAF, arrived to rescue PO Hull and his crew. A rubber dingy is visible transferring the downed crew to the rescue aircraft. A United States B24 Liberator bomber located the downed Catalina and guided the rescue Catalina in. The B24 continued to circle overhead providing protection. After the disabled Catalina had been sunk by machine gun fire, the rescue Catalina took off and returned safely to Darwin. This operation was one of the epic sea rescues of the Second World War, entailing a round trip of 1800 miles mainly through Japanese held territory. The rescue crew were: 415632 FO (later Flight Lieutenant (Flt Lt, DFC)), Armand Andre Etienne (Captain), of West Perth, WA; 408409 FO (later Flt Lt), Ian McCallister Robson of Sandy Bay, Tas; 428809 Flight Sergeant (Flt Sgt) (later Warrant Officer (WO)), John Joseph Sweeney (Navigator), of Newcastle, NSW, (visible standing on the wing of the rescue aircraft); 428832 Flt Sgt (later WO), Raymond Victor Tumeth of Haberfield, NSW; 428360 Flt Sgt (later WO), Derek Fanshawe Robertson of Camberwell, Vic; 12912 Sergeant (Sgt) (later PO), Robert Richard Tingman of Brighton, Vic; 12223 Sgt (later Flt Sgt), Albert Leslie Warton of Sydney, NSW; A2398 Sgt, Thomas Roy Elphick of Bondi, NSW; 33642 Corporal, James Francis Burgess Oliver of Glen Innes of NSW.
  • From Flight Sergeant Norman MacDonald, only survivor of JB472 The crew of Lancaster JB472 with Reginald Wicks as pilot, joined the Squadron on 23 November 1943. They flew their first mission on 23 November - a night raid on Berlin. This was closely followed by another night mission to Berlin on 26 November. On 2 December JB472 took off from Warboys airfield for their third raid on Berlin. In a report given by Flight Sergeant Norman Macdonald after the war he describes what happened to their aircraft as they flew over eastern Germany: 'Attack by enemy fighter reported by rear gunner - pilot acknowledged, took evasive action and just then we were hit. Crew put on chutes, aircraft in steep dive. At approx between 17 and 15, 000 feet violent explosion. I was sucked out the starboard side of aircraft. Regained consciousness at approx 4,000 feet opened 'chute landed ok. I believe pilot jettisoned bombs endeavouring to save crew and aircraft but aircraft crashed 20 miles north of Hannover. The next day I was captured in the goods yard of the village railway station by 2 German soldiers who were searching for me and taken to identify wreckage of aircraft from which German officials had removed the bodies of my 6 colleagues. Taken to Frankfurt for interrogation put into solitary confinement then to Stalag IVB.'
  • Warrant Officer Bell is a an efficient and most resolute pilot. He has taken part in may harassing attacks on the enemy and has invariably displayed a high degree of gallantry. He has destroyed four enemy aircraft. London Gazette 17 November 1944
  • Lt S.E. MILLS, D Company, 32nd Bn, 22 January 1917: 'He was in my platoon and was wounded pretty severely on night of 19/20 July. With the help of two other men we carried him to a place of comparative safety and dressed his wound. This was 200 yards behind the German first line and it was found impossible to get stretcher bearers through the barrage. When the order to retire was given it was a matter of charging through the two lines of Germans and so impossible to carry two badly wounded men. Green was left with some twenty or thirty others some of whom have since been reported as prisoners. It is my opinion that Green died of his wound although he was alive when I saw him last.'
  • Translation of German message, 2 October 1919, 'Iden: Disc handed over by Intell: Off: with 6th Army H.Q. through Central Office for Deceased Estates 12/10/16[,] Austral: Pte. A.E.N. Burney, 1226, 2nd Btn. fell in the neighbourhood of Fromelles on 19/7/16'.
  • 'On 23rd April the 53rd Battery position at MORCHIES was subjected to very heavy shelling, and a large ammunition dump caught fire. it was burning fiercely when Bombardier EDWARDS, at great personal risk, assisted in extinguishing the flames, and helped to save a considerable amount of ammunition.' Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 189 Date: 8 November 1917 'On 23rd April the 53rd Battery position at Morchies was subjected to very heavy shelling and a large ammunition dump caught fire. It was burning fiercely when Corporal Edwards at a great personal risk, assisted in extinguishing the flames and helped to save a considerable amount of ammunition. Thus winning the Military Medal.' Details from his Mother.
  • Originally listed as 'No Known Grave' and commemorated at V.C. Corner (Panel No 11), Australian Cemetery, Fromelles; subsequently (2011) identified, and interred in the Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery, France. Note on Form B103: 'Identification Disc received from Germany. No particulars were afforded except that the soldier is dead. to be reported KILLED IN ACTION FRANCE 19-20th July 16.' Note on file: 'austr. Sold. Russell, A. 54. A.K. Nr. 4299. am 19.7.16. in Gegend Fromelles gefallen.' Note on Red Cross File 2380411: 'Identity disc recd. From Germany and despatched to Next of Kin ... 1.9.1919.' Statement, 3123 Sergeant F. POLDING, 54th Bn (patient, 9th General Hospital, Rouen), 9 November 1916: 'During the attack on Fleurbaix on the 19th July, we had very heavy losses. Many dead bodies were collected after the action and buried. I was informed by several men of the burying party that Russell's body was recovered and buried. I do not, however, remember the name of any particular man of the burying party who told me this.' 'The above name appeared on German death list dated 4-11-16.' Second statement, 4375 Pte E. SCOBLE, 54th Bn (patient, 2nd Birmingham War Hospital, Hollymoor, England), 18 February 1917: 'Arthur Russell's brother William Russell, 2300 54. A.I.F. told him Arthur Russell was killed and buried by Sgt. Allen.'
  • Statement, 2878 Corporal E.E. POULTER, B Company, 60th Bn, 29 January 1917: 'The last time I saw him was in No Man's Land about 150 yds. from our line. He was shot through the side and the bullet evidently lodged in his stomach as he doubled up and fell. We could not hold the ground. We went over with 1100 men and 63 men answered the roll call.'
  • Red Cross File No 2940705 has statements 4226 Pte L. HANNA, B Company, 54th Bn (former prisoner of war), 30 December 1918: 'On morning of 20th July 1916 at Fleurbaix I was alongside him when he was shot dead by sniper. Hit in Head (eye). We were then in Enemy's second line trench. They got in behind us into their 1st line and we were cut off. I was hit through helmet by same man immediately after but not hurt. We were taken Prisoners of War about 1 hour later. His body would be left in trench. I did not know his Christian name.' 3511A W.D. CARR, 54th Bn, 24 December 1918: 'In the morning between 8 and 9 o'clock I saw him assisting [1909 H.W.] Bilbow with a machine gun - when he was shot through the right eye either by sniper or machine gun bullet - not shrapnel, as he was killed instantly. It was in a quickly dug trench. We were captured shortly afterwards, so I know nothing as to his burial.' 1909 Lance Corporal W.H. BILLOW (sic), 13 January 1919: 'He was not killed going over the trenches but after he got over in the Germans' second line on the morning of the 20th. I was standing shoulder to shoulder with him up to the moment he was killed. He was hot by a sniper from behind, the bullet passing through his head. He had been working all night with me, trying to build up the trenches. It happened at Fleurbaix ... I took his paybook and his identification disc and was forced to give them up to the Germans with my own paybook.' 1841 S. TONKINS, 54th Bn, 28 August 1917: 'Pte Wildman was killed by shrapnel, I saw him lying dead on the ground in the German trenches, on July 20th at Armentieres.'
  • Red Cross File No 1420704 Statements from witnesses: 2818 J. ELLIOTT, 56th Bn, 6 November 1916: 'He came from Bathurst, N.S. Wales, and was buried in a cemetery between Sailly and Estairs, Bac-St.-Maur Road. I saw his grave there.' (this seems incongruous given his remains were recovered from the Pheasant Wood site) 3330 Pte P.G. HUGHES (patient, 23rd General Hospital, Etaples), 6 November 1916: 'James was killed by shell: I did not see it happen but I saw him lying afterwards. I think he was buried at the top of Pinney's Avenue in the cemetery.' 2780 Lance Corporal B.H. PHILLIPS, 56th Bn, '[2705 C.W.] Johnston was a L.M. Gunner and James was in A. Company. We made an attack on the 19th and were driven back to our own lines, and these two and three others were killed by the same shell in our trench. James' head was practically blown off. I - a stretcher bearer - was on the next bay and was called in. James and Johnston were both taken out and buried in a Cemetery behind the lines. I think the cemetery at the mouth of "V.C. Avenue" near Fleurbaix. I knew Johnston very well indeed, but James not so well.' 1704 Pte G.W. MURRAY, 56th Bn (patient, 9th General Hospital, Rouen), 16 November 1916: 'I saw this man killed by a piece of shell hitting him on the head on the 20th July near Fromelles. I heard afterwards that he was buried.' Originally listed as 'No Known Grave' and commemorated at V.C. Corner Australian Cemetery, Fromelles; subsequently (2010) identified, and interred in the Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery, France.
  • 'During the attack South of WARFUSEE ABANCOURT near AMIENS, on the morning of the 8th August 1918, this N.C.O.'s section was held up by machine gun fire. He and two other men rushed the post, killed the gunners, and captured the gun, thereby enabling the advance to the objective to continue. He showed great bravery.' Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 61 Date: 23 May 1919
  • Writing to his mother from the Ninth Training Battalion, Fovant, Wiltshire, early in February, Corporal Carl Klaus says : — I have had a pretty rough time of did not get a crack. I have been it the last 15 months in France, but turned over a lew times with concussion, but got over it alright. I've seen some rotten sights. Poor old Jack Morgan was Killed at Messines. I suppose you have heard all about that. Our Battalion was right in the thick of it. The first time I ever handled a dead man was at Messines -— I had to help a couple of other chaps to dig George Weatherstone and Jack Morgan out. The dugout was blown in on top of them. And again at Ypres poor old Harry Mallam was killed right alongside of me. I had to lift him out of the line and bury him in a shell hole, as it was too far to take him back to a cemetery. Just took his pay book and private belongings and gave them in to our platoon officer. I suppose you read about the battle of Passchendaele. We were the ring-leaders of that turnout. With the assistance of the Canadians we took the hill about a kilometre from Passchendaele, and the Canadians hopped in and took the town, so now we have nearly all the high ground in Belgium in our hands, and have Fritz in the hollow and chopping hell out of him. Have more artillery behind us now than ever they had before on the western front. In this stunt Bill Eliem was killed and Percy Fisher was wounded. I have met Paddy Lulham, Bert Daley, Stan Tyler from Wardell, and all the old lads of 1st-41st that went away to the Ninth Battalion. They were all doing well until the Ypres stunt, when Jim McDonald from Broadwater was killed, Paddy wounded, Tyler wounded, while Fitzpatrick lost his eye and is going home, and of course Don Livingstone is home long ago. Bert Daley, is still going strong, and looks splendid. I saw him a couple of days before I left France. I am likely to be in England for a six months spell from shell fire anyway, but I suppose there will be plenty work attached to it just the same. Still it will do me. They told me when I left France that they were giving me six months in this Training Battalion at Fovant. I have met Clarrie Fredericks, he is in the 8th of the 41st, and soon will be going over to France. He is training to be a signaller. I also had tho pleasure of meeting another old mate that I went to school with under Mr. Bath, that was Tom Grant from Woodburn. He is a corporal in the 25th Battalion, has been wounded twice, and now they have sent him over to the training battalion for a few months. He is in the 10th, but he is not far away from us. Writing to his brother Rupert, Corporal Klaus says : — I see where the girls are getting married. I don t know how I am going to get on when I go back, there will be none left for me, and I don't like the idea of picking one up here in England to take back like some of them are doing. Well, old Fritz could not get me with his old scrap iron, so instead of giving me fourteen days furlough in London they have sent me here to the 9th Training Battalion for six months. I have seen some rough work over there, not only in the fighting, but rotten weather conditions. Last winter was bitterly cold. All the rivers were frozen up; boats could not work at all, and in some places in Belgium I have seen a foot of snow, and had to carry on through it all backwards and forwards to the trenches, but of course we were only holding the line at that time at Armentieres. We were there about four months, and then we shifted down lower to a place called La Pisset, and from there to Messines. I suppose you have read about the battle of Messines. We were holding the line at Messines right up till the morning of the hop-over. Our brigade was not really in the hop-over, but to my idea we had worse, because we had to do all the carrying parties (after the 9th and 10th Brigades took their objectives) under heavy shell fire all the time — day and night. From there we went down to Ypres in October, and the 11th Brigade was in the battle of Passchendaele. I was right in the thick of it. That is where poor old Bill Eilem (brother of Tom of the Bee-Hive) was killed, and Harry Mallam from Bungawalbin. We had a good possy made, well sand-bagged, and were waiting for the Tommies to relieve us the night after the push, but old Fiitz must have taken a tumble that there was a relief on, and barraged hell out of us for about two hours — Harry Mallam, Ben Hall and another chap I don't know were killed outright by a shell which lobbed right on the parados of the trench. I don't know how I escaped, for I was not above two yards from them, but I was round a bend of the trench. I think what saved me was the ground being soft and the shell, did not scatter much. The three chaps that were killed were huddled up together taking shelter. When Jack Morgan and George Weatherstone were buried at Messines we had to dig them out, for the dugout was blown in on top of them. Jack did not have a mark on the outside of his body, but the concussion killed him. Weatherstone hailed from the Clarence, but we were mates from the time we left Brisbane. He was smashed to pieces.
  • For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during operations against enemy positions south of the SOMME east of HAMEL on 8th August, 1918. Corporal SEE, with his section, stormed a strong point in ACCROCHE WOOD and succeeded in killing four and capturing 16 of the enemy. He led his section close to the barrage and on reaching RAT WOOD cooperated in the capture of a battery of 4.2's which had been firing point blank, killing a gunner and capturing 7 others. With his section he captured altogether 27 prisoners. Throughout Corporal SEE displayed courage, energy, determination and leadership, and greatly inspired his men.' Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 61

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