Guest Post: Muddy – Remembrances

Tired of Killing – Mont Brehain, October, 1918.

The price of victory was paid with the lives of many very gallant officers, N.C.O.s and men whose loss in the closing stages of the war – perhaps in our last battle all regret.

So wrote the philosophical war diarist of the 24th Australian Infantry Battalion, 6th Brigade, 2nd Division, of the 1st A.I.F. on the 5th of October, 1918, ninety-five years ago today [written a number of years back]. It was indeed their last battle of the Great War, not only for the 24th Battalion, but for the infantry of the ANZAC Corps as a whole.

Unless you are a scholar of the 1st A.I.F. in the Great War, chances are you may not have heard of the location the war diarist was writing of – the name was unfamiliar to me until I became aware of a family connection.

Mont Brehain was a village east of Bellicourt, a major obstacle in the Hindenburg Line of German defences which had recently been penetrated by another Australian division.

I do not understand enough about the battle and its context to deliver a concise, lucid summary here, suffice it to say that the battalion gained their objectives and achieved another ‘win’ for the generals on paper. For a tired and understrength battalion (as many of them were at this stage of the war) however, the cost of success again ate into their physical and perhaps emotional, strength.

“B” Coy. alone, whose strength at the beginning of the operation was but 90 men claim[ed] to have killed 200 Huns and to have captured 200 Prisoners, 100 machine guns, 9 minenwerfers and a Field Gun. Our Prisoners were no fewer than 380, but as men were few, and the Pioneer Bn. was known to be mopping up in rear, they were sent back uncounted.

In his report, the Commanding Officer wrote:

“It is impossible to estimate the number of enemy killed by my Bn., but never before has it inflicted such heavy casualties. Vickers Gun, Lewis Gun, Rifle and Revolver ran out of ammunition repeatedly, extra supplies were sent forward and much was salved from casualties. German guns were freely used on the enemy, and the battlefield was littered with German dead.

“All the men say they are tired of killing,” wrote the battalion war diarist.

One of the 49 24th Battalion men Killed in Action or Died of Wounds (the battalion also suffered 75 Wounded in Action and 8 Missing), was my Great, Great Uncle, Corporal Norman Allen Grant. He was a tailor’s presser from Yackandandah in northern Victoria who enlisted on the 6th of July, 1915 and served in the 13th Light Horse Regiment and the 1st ANZAC Mounted Regiment prior to joining the 24th Infantry Battalion in France. On the 4th of October, 1917 he received a gunshot wound to the right shoulder and was sent to England to recuperate. Almost exactly one year later at Mont Brehain he was killed and later buried at the Calvaire British Cemetery. The sole effects as delivered to his mother amounted to a damaged fountain pen in a leather case, a ‘housewife’, a pair of socks and a devotional book.

Apart from these dry facts garnered from his service record, I know almost nothing about my great, great uncle, but I can’t help wondering what his emotional state may have been prior to this, his last day on earth. Did he feel as jaded, as worn-down and ‘tired of killing’ as his fellow soldiers did?

[Author – Muddy. Source: AWM4/23/41/37].

‘Author’s collection – Courtesy of Mavis Shortland, W.A.’

Not Without its Sorrow… A Christmas Greeting from France, 1918.

I hesitate to quote from a document verbatim and then put it forward as the sum total of a blog entry, however on occasion I believe it is warranted to minimise the commentary and let the original author speak for him/her self. Such is the case with the following, a suggested text for a Christmas greeting to loved ones for the men of the Australian 23rd Infantry Battalion, A.I.F., then in France. It has been extracted from the October, 1918 battalion newsletter. The writer was not to know that their war would end within weeks:

It is difficult to send you a sincere Christmas Greeting. It is intended for those we love – are you not among the number – and we do not expect that joy will be singing in your hearts in these days. And so my greeting is tentative. Take as much of joy as you desire and know that it is not more than my thoughts wish you.

And there is reason for an increased happiness this Christmas in comparison with those of the past four years. We feel that we are on the floodtide of success, which is overwhelming the enemy in its intensity, and carrying us on to the shores where we will meet you again.

If our hearts are not yet singing they are near boiling point. And we can leave our message at that. The hope is high in us that our next greeting will be more intimate and wholly exultant. It shall be sealed with the seal of close and immediate companionship.

The year has not been without its sorrow; keen and keenly felt. Companions of many happy hours have disappeared from the familiar ranks. Where I stood beside a pal I now stand alone. But as a solace and a strength I have always had the knowledge of your affection.

This Christmas message is some acknowledgement of that debt; of the constant thought expressed in so many letters during the past year. Do not think to find me hard and callous, for suffering has taught me the value of life’s sweeter things. And I have found them typified in your ever affectionate remembrance.

My thought is ill-expressed, for I am a soldier, but I wish you a Christmas of quiet joy, and so remain, ever your affectionate …

[Editor – Muddy. Source – “The Red and White Diamond” (news sheet) in AWM4 23/41/37].

Remembering the ‘Broken.’

Shattered Anzacs by Marina Larsson focuses not on the dead of the Great War, but on those who survived and returned home wounded – in body or mind – and the impact this had on their families. Larsson makes the point that these sacrifices – the loss of limbs, sight, lung function, or mental capacity – are just as worthy of acknowledgement as the roughly 60,000 men who were killed outright.

One of the roughly 150,000 wounded who returned to Australia was a man named Ernest Francis Healy. Frank Healy was a single, 27 year-old ‘painter and letterer’ from Dudley, Newcastle, N.S.W. when he enlisted in the 1st A.I.F. on the 21st of August, 1914, and was assigned the number ‘98’ which shows just how keen he was to volunteer.

He embarked with the 1st Australian Field Company Engineers just two months later, and after training in Egypt, was amongst those who landed at Gallipoli on that now fateful day, the 25th of April, 1915. Healy acted as a stretcher-bearer for a time, but roughly three weeks after landing, he was shot by a Turkish sniper and paralysed, as the bullet had lodged in his spine.

After being hospitalised in Egypt, Frank returned to Australia and was admitted to the 4th Australian General Hospital at Randwick, Sydney, in mid September the same year, where a crowd reportedly in the thousands was waiting to greet him and his fellow wounded.

As the first ‘cot case’ to be admitted to Randwick, he was interviewed by a journalist for the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper, and was philosophical in his response: “We did not go over for a holiday, you know. We represented the N.S.W. covering party, and we got it hot … to tell you the truth, you enjoy it while it lasts, but really don’t keep a tally of what you doing. It’s just like a nightmare.”

While Healy mentioned his brother of the 16th Infantry Battalion who had been killed, he stated that if he was able to recover from his wounds, he would return and “get home on those Turks,” though in all probability, the newspapers of the day may have written these words for him had he not uttered them himself.

He was complimentary of the treatment he had received in hospital in Egypt: “all that could be expected under very trying conditions,” though he mentioned – as others did – that they had received no Red Cross comfort parcels, however “other presents from local people made up for them.”

Healy was the proud owner of a ‘Turkish dog,’ which he had somehow managed to bring back (smuggle?) with him, and which at the time of his interview was in government quarantine. The miniature spaniel named ‘Gallipoli’ was found “in a Turkish camp we took” and journeyed with him to hospital in Egypt where it walked with other patients (as Healy himself was unable to) and became quite popular, to the point where he was “patted on the head from the General downwards.”

Laying “helpless on an air cushion,” Healy became a long-term resident at Randwick, and a “familiar figure to thousands of visitors.” For five years he had the use of his own tent, nicknamed ‘Canary Cottage,’ which had been set up for him near the entrance to the hospital grounds.

There is no record of what Sapper Healy’s feelings were as the subject of local ‘fame,’ however on the occasion of the visit to the hospital in 1920 of His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales, he was honoured with the opportunity to meet the Prince and present to him a deluxe edition of the book “Remnants from Randwick,” written and illustrated by the residents. On the same occasion, the visiting royal renamed No.4 General Hospital Randwick, the Prince of Wales Hospital.

It is not known if Healy married, for a later newspaper report mentioning a ‘Mrs. Healy’ did not state if she was a wife or mother. In about 1927 or ’28, he was recorded as residing ‘in his home’ at Lane Cove, where the fundraising efforts of his community allowed the erection of a ‘motor garage’ to house the car which had been “specially constructed for his use.”

Sadly, however, he was “robbed… of what would have been one of his last pleasures in life” when, after 13 long years of complete dependence upon others, and the denial of the opportunities that his able-bodied peers were able to experience, Frank Healy collapsed and died on Thursday the 9th of August, 1928. It was, as one newspaper called it ‘The End of a Weary Road.”

So as you reflect today, or on Anzac Day or another such commemorative occasion, please spare a thought not only for those sacrificed their physical life, but also for the broken ones like Sapper Frank Healy, who gave their quality of life, and whose struggles endured long after the last casualty list had been published.

[Author – Muddy. Various references including Marina Larsson, Shattered Anzacs, UNSW Press, 2009, and others].

‘Author’s collection – Courtesy of Mavis Shortland, W.A.’

All Over – the 4th Squadron, Australian Flying Corps, WW1.

On the 10th of November, 1918, the 4th Squadron of the Australian Flying Corps, then based at Ennetiers in France and equipped with 21 serviceable Sopwith Snipes, flew a collective total of 80 hours and 10 minutes of ‘war time,’ dropped six 25-pound bombs on the enemy, and expended 1,000 rounds of small arms ammunition in strafing the same. An offensive patrol of fourteen aircraft escorting a bombing raid to Hal in the early afternoon observed 3 enemy Fokker Biplanes over Enghien, but it appears that these were not directly engaged.

The following day, Armistice Day as it is now known, just two Snipes flew offensive patrols for a total ‘war time’ of 1 hour and 45 minutes, and both were back on the ground by 1100 hours when all hostilities were to cease. No enemy aircraft were seen, no bombs dropped on troop or transport concentrations, and no rounds fired. The war was all but over.

Less aggressive activity continued however, as the Squadron (which had previously flown the Sopwith Camel) was one of four chosen to go forward with the Army of Occupation, and flying still posed a danger even without the presence of the enemy, for three days following the Armistice, a pilot, Lt. L.K. Swann died in hospital of his injuries following an aircraft accident on the aerodrome at Ennetieres. Swann, who had earned the Military Medal with the 40th Battalion A.I.F. before being commissioned and trained as a pilot with the A.F.C., had been taken on strength of the 4th Squadron only five days previously. He died of a fractured skull and internal injuries.

The Squadron was stationed at Bickendorf, near Cologne, Germany from mid December, 1918 until March the following year when it began the journey home via the United Kingdom, arriving in Melbourne in mid June, 1919 prior to disbandment.

In its almost three year history, including 11 months of operational experience in France, the Squadron suffered 35 killed and 16 wounded.

[Author – Muddy. References: AWM4 & NAA: B2455 series. Details available upon request].

22 thoughts on “Guest Post: Muddy – Remembrances”

  1. Muddy

    This seems a convenient spot to place my notes on First AIF service numbers. It ended up longer than expected, so I will post it in sections. I will also cross-reference it on the new Open Thread for others who might be interested.


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  2. Part 1

    FIRST WORLD WAR ARMY NUMBERS

    Muddy mentioned on Armistice Day a First World War Australian soldier who enlisted on 21 August 1914, and received the Number 98. He took this as indicating keenness to enlist. The date indicates the keenness to enlist, and in those circumstances, the number also would. But (there is always a “but”), First World War numbers were not simple.

    Modern Australian Army numbers are just that, Army numbers. All soldiers receive a number in a common series. There are distinctions, such as to state of enlistment. A first digit 1 indicates Queensland, 2 indicates NSW, 3 Victoria, and so on around the now abolished Military Districts. Also, as the ineffable Numbers told us ad nauseum, a second digit 7 indicated National Service, and Army Reserve numbers may also differ from ARA ones.

    In the Second World War, and ignoring the small Permanent Military Force, there were two general Army number series, AIF and CMF/Militia. The principal distinguishing characteristics were the state designators, Q for Queensland, N for NSW, V for Victoria, etc, and the X after the state designator to indicate AIF. PMF and CMF members transferring to the AIF received new numbers in the AIF series. The key point is that they were Army numbers.


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  3. Part 2

    During the First World War, however, the AIF used unit and corps numbers. Each of 60 infantry battalions, 20 machine gun companies (consolidated into five battalions in 1918), 15 light horse regiments, five pioneer battalions and corps such as Engineers, Artillery, Medical, Service and Flying had its own number series. Towards the end of the War, enlistment into specific units and corps ceased, and recruits were enlisted as General Service Reinforcements, to be allocated as needed and skilled. Some of the low numbers were used more than 100 times.

    Recruitment started in August 1914 for 12 infantry battalions (enough for the then divisional organization), soon expanded to 16, four, later twelve, then 13 light horse regiments, and the various supporting arms and services. Members of the 1st to 16th Battalions, and 1st to 12th Light Horse mainly enlisted in 1914. An infantryman with those 16 battalions having a number up to about 1200 was almost certainly a 1914 enlistment, as would have been a light horseman numbered up to 600 or so (light horse regiments were smaller than infantry battalions). Artillery, Engineers, Medical and Service Corps with low numbers enlisted in the first couple of months. The series for larger Corps soon went to quite high numbers, making date checks harder.

    The next wave of infantry was the 17th to 28th Battalions. Low numbers there indicated enlistment generally in the first part of 1915. All those units served at Gallipoli. The 29th to 32nd Battalions arrived in the Middle East too late for Gallipoli, and mainly enlisted around mid to later 1915. But each of those battalions started their series with the number 1.


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  4. Part 3

    After Gallipoli, it becomes more complex. In early 1916, the first 16 battalions were split to provide cadres tor the 45th to 60th Battalions, and both units were filled up with reinforcements already in the Middle East, thus confusing the number series of those who had enlisted for lower numbered units, but were posted to fill up the old and new battalions. It is probable, though hard to prove, that the reinforcements were allocated mainly to their original nominated units, or to the “daughter” or “pup” battalion. So, reinforcements enlisted for the 1st Battalion should have gone either to the 1st, or to its daughter 53rd Battalion. Others might have gone to other NSW battalions that were short of reinforcements.

    This period brings in another complication, the “Letter” numbers. When a soldier transferred between battalions, his number might not be in use in the new unit (numbers seem to have been allocated in blocks to recruiting centres, some of which did not use every number). If the number was vacant, the transferee retained his old number. If it was already allocated, the transferee kept his old number, but the letter A was added to it. A second transferee with the same number would get a letter B. There are a reasonable number of A numbers, and a few Bs. It is possible but unlikely that C or higher letters were ever used. After the initial split, the units then each maintained their own number series.


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  5. Part 4

    The final significant groups of “infantry” numbers were the 33rd to 44th Battalions of the 3rd Division, raised in Australia in early 1916, the 20 machine gun companies (1st to 15th and 20th to 25th, grouped in 1918 into the 1st to 5th Machine Gun Battalions) and the 1st to 5th Pioneer Battalions. Again, each unit started its numbers from 1, so some 1916 enlistments had low numbers.

    Service numbers for the major combat and combat support corps soon reached high levels (some in the tens of thousands), but there were also smaller groups. The Australian element of the Imperial Camel Corps were initially transferred from infantry units, retaining their old numbers. When the ICC was disbanded in 1918, the Australians went to the new 14th and 15th Light Horse Regiments, giving those two units a mixture of infantry, ICC and light horse numbers by the end of the war. Many infantry were also transferred to the artillery in 1916, somewhat complicating study of the artillery numbers. The final group of significance was the General Service Reinforcements, enlisted in 1918, again starting with low numbers, and then climbing into the tens of thousands.


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  6. Part 5 and final. I hope that Mater will agree that the officers should always be considered last!

    There is one (or pedantically two) final complication. Men enrolled as officers on enlistment did not have numbers. Gentlemen after all, should not be known by numbers! And soldiers who enlisted in the ranks but were commissioned later lost their numbers, complicating the process of tracking such individuals.

    Apart from these details, the First AIF personnel numbering system was quite simple!


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  7. In my early 20s, I visited relatives in Western Queensland, and at one point was introduced as another of “Princefoot’s” great-nephews. The immediate response was, “Oh, do you drink rum?” .
    Having the name of a racehorse as his nickname, and a reputation for hard drinking, decades after he had left the district, tells you something about his state after WW1.

    He was one of three brothers who served in that war. The other two served in both wars and appear to have come through relatively emotionally healthy, but Arthur – known in the family as “Uncle Prince” – was invalided home from Gallipoli as the result of a nervous breakdown. He was a chronic alcoholic and problem gambler, never married, lost his Station property to debt and gambling, and lived out his later years with his brothers’ families. They loved him dearly, but his behaviour was at times very trying.


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  8. Thanks guys. Great reading.
    Now for me to go and read my grandfather’s war diaries, written and photo-illustrated at Gallipoli and the Western Front.
    How he kept them going under trying circumstances is beyond me.


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  9. Intriguing information, thanks Boambee John. I had noticed the odd individual without a number, and also ‘A’s, but thought no more about it. (WWII is my forte, but I appreciate it all, especially these research-based posts).

    It is worth a stand-alone guest post, I would suggest. We both might be surprised how many lurkers appreciate it?


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  10. Muddy

    It is worth a stand-alone guest post, I would suggest. We both might be surprised how many lurkers appreciate it?

    I thought it might be a bit specialised, but if you think so, perhaps suggest to dover?


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  11. It is a niche topic, but my personal view is that these type of posts make a refreshing change from the usual anxiety issues.

    Story telling is a unique human trait that connects our past with whom we identify as today. It helps us to make sense of our world. The big, flashy moments from the past are a collection of the smaller details such as those you have revealed, just without the sparkles & soundtrack. I’m a sans sparkles kind of bloke.


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  12. White Male Supremacy?

    White Male Privilege?

    Like my grandfather doing the “Grand Tour” of Gallipoli, France and Belgium and the hospitals of England, just in time to be caught up in a REAL Flu pandemic. Hell of a “privilege”!

    Or something like this, for the next generation:

    https://victorygirlsblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/IMG_2356.jpg

    Maybe that is why I have heard “white” and seriously “melanin-enhanced”, male and female military types refer to the “woke” and sundry other political degenerates, as “tracer-bait” or less printable terms. These troops KNOW they are being used as pawns; as “armed social workers”. NONE of this crap and corruption will end well, nor is it so intended. “Eggs, omelettes; frying pan, fire”, etc.

    Get your affairs in order; the clock is ticking, even as the “timetable” changes, each passing day.


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  13. Re Remembrance Day. My hobby and circuit breaker is to research family history. I have been shocked to find so many ” distant cousins ” who lost their lives in 1914-18.Abo Ive my desk I have a photo of my wifes grandfather. He is with his wife and 3 small children in late 1916 before he went to France as a replacement. He was badly wounded at Passchendaele in November 1917 and died 5 days later . He had been shot through the face by a sniper taking out both of his eyes. I cant even imagine the agony and suffering he went through. I am haunted still by the expression on his face in the photo. Its almost as if he knew what was coming. I have read his letters home -all he wanted was to be back with his family. New Zealand ( and Australia ) lost too many good men in that bloody slaughterhouse. I dont think we have really recovered from that.
    Rest in peace George -you are still remembered.


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  14. Bruce K

    He was badly wounded at Passchendaele in November 1917 and died 5 days later . He had been shot through the face by a sniper taking out both of his eyes.

    There are worse stories. I read of one man, shot through the spine. The position was under fire, and he could not be removed. It took about 24 hours, lying in the mud in the trench, for him to die.

    At the other end of the scale, my great uncle and two others were killed instantly by a shell burst. One of the others was blown into (at least) three pieces, the GU was decapitated.


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  15. Bathing and Laundering on the Western Front.

    Can you nominate a support unit that was vital for achieving military success on the Western Front in World War One? You might suggest the medical services, or the engineers who built roads from the mud, or the transport drivers who brought up the vital ammunition and other stores, and in all of those responses, you would be correct. But what about a Bath and Laundry unit? Surely those were unnecessary luxuries? The answer to that is an emphatic ‘No,’ because while the opportunity for a ‘bath’ was a luxury, having a clean uniform to put on afterwards was not only a boost to morale, but from a medical standpoint, absolutely vital to maintaining the war effort because it was a prime preventative measure to combat Trench Fever.

    Prior to mid 1916, bathing and laundering had been a haphazard affair, organised by each Australian division when it was practical. By the end of the year, however, with the 1st Australian Corps taking responsibility for the role, a more systematic process was in place, though this arrangement was to lapse at various times.

    Trench Fever was a new disease that took an enormous toll on the health of troops existing in the unsanitary conditions of the Western Front, particularly in the trenches of the front line. The more soldiers became incapacitated by this condition, the fewer were available for service attacking or defending from the enemy.

    After a good deal of study, the British military medical establishment recognised Trench Fever as a legitimate and specific disease in the northern summer of 1916. Eventually concluding that Trench Fever was passed from the common louse via cell bacteria, the condition incapacitated considerable numbers of men (exact figures are unavailable) who were then unable to perform their duties as soldiers, and thus the disease was treated seriously by authorities. As various drug treatments proved largely ineffective, much effort was expended in preventing or limiting the time that lice were able to be harboured on the persons or in the clothing of the men themselves. This took the form of implementing policies to improve both personal hygiene and the sanitary conditions in which the men lived, wherever practical. Thus the importance of the divisional or corps baths and laundries where men could wash and be provided with clean, lice-free clothing.

    The opportunity to cleanse oneself of the sweat and dirt of goodness-knows-how-many-days-or-weeks, was not only important for minimising the vermin that bred in the seams of one’s uniform, it was also a morale booster. An unknown officer of the 46th Australian Infantry Battalion recorded the effect on morale of visiting a bath facility:

    “The 46th Bn arrived at Outtersteene from Marseilles on June 11th [1916] and I well remember our pleasure on being marched to the Outtersteene Baths on the warm afternoon of June 26th to find that there was a certain amount of clean underclothing there for us. It had been washed at the adjoining laundry by French and Belgian women [AWM RCDIG1006162 p.4].”

    Both bathing and laundering facilities were primitive by modern standards, but they ‘did the job.’
    The baths at Albert, for example, “consisted of sawyer’s stoves for heating the water & barrels cut in halves for the men to bathe in.” After being issued with clean clothing, each man going on leave also took with him two certificates: one to state that he was free from lice, the other that he was free from scabies. The Outtersteene Baths, which began operating (again) in late May, 1917, initially processed 80 men per hour before increasing to 240 men per hour. Another bath unit, prior to the battle for Messines, processed 3,000 men per day for ten days straight.

    It was not unusual for the men’s spare set of underclothing to have either been lost or thrown away as a result of their tour ‘in the line’ and waiting for a replacement set whilst wearing he old clothing, or having to put old, dirty clothing back on after a clean bath, allowed the vermin – in particular lice – to multiply. Hence the necessity for laundering, which was often not possible for the troops to do themselves, either because of their role in the front line, or due to inclement weather.

    First, however, all clothing had to be disinfected in order to kill the lice and scabies which took such a toll on the health of the troops. This was done by one of several means: either the use of steam chambers; Clayton disinfectors, “which do their work by means of sulphur fumes;” or something called a ‘Foden-Thresh’ disinfector (Foden was a brand of lorry).

    There were many laundries during the years of conflict, including one at Cagny, which was a “large linen-bleaching factory” which had ‘three or four washing machines’ and had been doing laundry for various local hotels. Owned by a Frenchman, the facility was contracted to provide laundering services (the labour to be supplied by the Australian Corps) not only for the Australians, but for five British divisions and one Canadian division also. After a slow start – the laundry was in the French sector and none of the French spoke English – by mid November, 1916, the establishment was delivering 50,000+ articles of clean clothing to the various Allied divisions, though these numbers were still wholly inadequate.

    Although those who served in these Bath and Laundry units did not face the same risk as their brothers in the infantry and artillery – though some, including French civilians, were killed by enemy heavy artillery shells landing on their workplace – they nevertheless made a vital contribution to maintaining the health of the troops without whom the war could simply not have continued.

    [Author – Muddy. References: AWM4 18/1/1 Part 1; Information re. Trench Fever from the article “Trench fever: the British medical response in the Great War” by R.L. Atenstaedt in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, November 2006, Volume 99, accessed via http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov 18 January, 2014].


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  16. Muddy

    By the end of the year, however, with the 1st Australian Corps taking responsibility

    In 1916, it was I ANZAC Corps, the Australian Corps was established later.


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  17. It’s easy to forget that the support services were undergoing the same level of development as weapons and tactics. It’s not being rude to say that they were making it up as they went.

    In the Crimea, the British lost three men from disease for every one killed or died of wounds. In the Boer war, the ratio had been reduced to slightly less than 2:1. In WW1 the ratio had been turned on its head , Britain suffering only 1/4 of its wartime casualties from malnutrition and disease, even when the civilian population is included.

    That may be one of the biggest advances, and basic hygiene played a big part.


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  18. Thank you for the posts.

    My wife’s great Uncle George from St Germain (Kyabram north Victoria way) came unstuck in the Great War. He was sent to Ypres and lasted a month in the trenches. He and his mates were having a break 1km behind the lines when a shell landed in a box of horse shoes. Cleaned the lot of them up. His niece relayed the story of how the family were advised of George’s death. …but that is for another day.


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