These are the 126 men and 2 women featured in the book Diggers
. They enlisted with the Australia Imperial Force to fight in World War I. One hundred and ten served overseas in Gallipoli, the Middle East and on the Western Front.
||Aarons Daniel Sidney
It is fitting, perhaps, that a small cemetery in a corner of the Fromelles battlefield should be the final resting place of 211 recently identified Australian soldiers. It is a reminder that today, a hundred years after the bloody battle of Fromelles, there are still eleven hundred plus Diggers officially listed as missing, their final resting place unknown.
Once, the German front line ran close to the edge of this cemetery. Today, the Line is marked by the ruins of an old block house. This little bit of German trench was the only part reached and captured, by Australians on the night of th…
Roland Sherwin was eighteen years old when he enlisted in February 1915. He was appointed to the 7th Light Horse and landed at Anzac Cove, Gallipoli on 24th October. He told of his experience at Gallipoli in a letter to his father, dated 28th December 1915. (The letter was published in ‘The Braidwood Dispatch and Mining Journal’, 18 Feb 1916, p. 4.)
“I am back in dear old Egypt, feeling none the worse for my eight weeks on Gallipoli. What a relief, though, to feel you are safe when you go to bed at night, with the soft desert sand beneath and the b…
In December 1915 the Allies finally realised that they could not defeat the Turks on the Gallipoli Peninsular so, they quietly left. Of the evacuation Richard Bassett wrote-
“The afternoon before leaving Gallipoli I was passing one of the cemeteries, and I saw a chaplain busily engaged in apparently attending to the graves. I looked at him questioningly, and he said, 'I am just planting a few wattle seeds. There will be something Australian when we are all gone.' I must confess to a lump in the throat as I made my way, for the last time, to our trenches. One does not, you see, lose al…
Those in the 8th Battalion did not form part of the attack on Lone Pine. Rather they held the line of trench further north towards Johnston’s Jolly. They continuously fired on the Turkish trenches opposite to deflect their interest from the attack at Lone Pine. For a day and a night, their trench was very heavily bombarded with over 300 shells. Parapets were destroyed, nowhere was safe. At the end of two days, 25 men had been killed and 101 wounded. Richard Bassett survived. He was promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal. After the battle, on 19th August, Richard wrote…
When young Australians first set foot on the Gallipoli Peninsular they were full of enthusiasm. They had a real sense of adventure. By July this had changed. Now the War was just work that had to be done. In July this is the reality of Richard Bassett
On 29th July he wrote – “We are indulging in what may be termed the monotony of war just now, if you can understand what that means. It is a wearisome life, and I quite understand the necessity of a little diversion at times, and we rarely get it here. The shelling of our trenches is enlivening on occasions, but the Tur…
Richard Bassett served with the 8th Battalion at Gallipoli. He was born in Colac, Victoria in 1887. He enlisted in 1914 and wrote many letters home from Gallipoli. These were posted in the Colac Reformer. These are some of the extracts.
“I have been having a good time up to the present. You will know all about what we have been doing by now. We have had some very warm work to do, and things are pretty brisk as I write. A few minutes ago a shell burst on the bank of our dug-out, about three feet away, and partially buri…
On 25th April 1916 the first Anzac Day was held. As Australian forces began to arrive in France, to begin their three years of horror on the Western Front, those at home came together to remember the events of 1915 at Gallipoli. Newspaper reports, long lists of casualties and especially letters from the young men who served enlightened those at home in Australia about the reality of the war. Their letters are just a compelling today as they were in 1915. So before the we begin to relived the slaughter on the Western Front, we should review Gallipoli through the eyes of…
by Kay Koenig
We all know how World War I began. On 28th June 1914 Archduke Francis Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian and Hungarian thrones was assassinated in Sarajevo, Bosnia, by Gavrilo Princip, a Serbian terrorist. The Austrians were sure that Serbia was behind the assassination and they used the murder as an opportunity to crush the young state. On 28th July 1914, with the support of Germany, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. The plan was to defeat Serbia before its ally, Russia, had time to enter the fray. However Russia was ready and able to…
During the early 1990’s my father–in-law was invited to a luncheon sponsored by Ku-ring-gai Council. He and other old diggers from World War 1 were congratulated and thanked for the brave deeds of their young lives on the other side of the world. My father-in-law was amused because he fought as a teenage Calvary Offices in the Austrian-Hungarian Army. In World War 1 he was the enemy. The only thing he had in common with the old diggers was his age and the fact that he was a proud Australian.
Tonight Australians at Anzac Cove will hold a vigil. As they wait for the dawn they will r…