BAD DIVE: The air war was not just deadly above the trenches facing opponents, controlling the new machines required great skill. Photo: The Digger’s View by Juan MahonyNewcastle Morning Herald transcriptions and Hunter Valley enlistment and death details for August 27 – September 2, 1917.
ON THE YPRES LINEField-Marshal Sir Douglas Haig, the British Commandant on the West Front, reports:“On the Ypres battle front we slightly advanced our line south-eastward of Saint Jeanshoek.There has been considerable enemy artillery fire in the neighbourhood of Lens and Ypres.”A previous communique stated: “The enemy artillery is active near Nieuport. The weather is wet and stormy.”
AUSTRALIAN ARTILLERYFrom C.E.W. Bean, n Official Correspondent.
The n artillery is still engaged in the thick of the Ypres battle. Two days’ heavy rain has plunged the whole battlefield into thick red clay and mud.Almost every morning some German aeroplane escapes the vigilance of our air scouts and hurries low over the mud-field like a skate over the sea-bottom. The visit is followed by attempts to obliterate batteries.In this long fight one main set-off to the tremendous strain and almost overpowering work is the knowledge that in the air and on the ground the enemy certainly gets more than he gives. The strain on the Germans must now be appallingly heavy.Other n units involved in the great fight at Ypres previously not mentioned have been n clearing hospitals. These came under shellfire both during the Ypres battle and Messines, and were also bombed by aeroplanes. The nurses behaved with the utmost gallantry, staying in the wards and even placing basins on the patients’ heads instead of the steel helmets. They bitterly resented when ordered to leave the wards.Five n nurses have now been given Military Medals. Medical officers, though a bomb killed one and blew seven nurses’ tents to rags, continued to work as if this heavy additional strain was non-existent.
AUSTRALIAN AIRMENBy C.E.W. Bean, n Official Correspondent.
The officers of the n Flying Corps have been for a considerable time past in France, gaining experience with the Royal Flying Corps.There were several in action in the great battle on July 31st. At least one of these was actually leading his patrol within a fortnight of his first appointment. Another was so bitten with excitement flying low behind the German lines, that he, with a fellow-n of the Royal Flying Corps, flew day after day low over the German area, along German roads, until the Germans wounded him. Another within the first few days had a shell through both planes and the elevator control shot away by a German machine. Despite this, by cleverly working his engine, he managed to safely reach the aerodrome. The first to be brought down was in a fight between seven British planes and 25 German ones, eight miles behind the German lines. It was a glorious fight, for all the rest got back after bringing down seven German planes. The magnificent fliers of the British Flying Corps tell us that they find the n airmen always ready and eager for any adventure, and extraordinarily self-reliant in carrying it out.
FIELD FORCE FUNDThe committee would be glad to receive small tins, suitable for filling with cigarettes and sweets, as goods of these kinds cannot be sent abroad except in tins. Empty jam jars and bottles will also be acceptable for the street stall. As large quantities of warm clothing will be needed for the troops this winter, a special appeal is being made for mittens, which should not be of the glove variety.
CHARLESTOWNThere was a large attendance at the Institute hall on Saturday to give Privates Bell and Haddow a send-off. Mr A.W. Garratt, who presided, congratulated the men on their decision to join the forces of the Empire and her Allies. MrT. Oswald and MrDann, of Newcastle, also spoke in appreciation of the men who were going to do their bit for their country, and trusted they would return speedily to their families and friends. MrGarratt presented each soldier with a gold ring suitably inscribed from the Patriotic Committee. Privates Bell and Haddow responded, thanking the speakers for the kind things said concerning them, and the committee for the valuable and suitable presents. MrJ. Haddow also expressed his thanks for the kind expressions toward his son. One son was now in hospital abroad, having done his bit until compelled to give up. He trusted that the whole of the soldiers would soon return home.
WARATAHMrsP. Crebert, of Church Street, Mayfield, has been informed by the military authorities that her son, Private Percy Crebert, is on his way home from the front, and will shortly arrive in . Mrs Crebert has another son also serving at the front.
MrsA. W. Buchanan has received a notification from the military authorities, stating that her son, Private Roy C. Buchanan, is returning home. Private A. Buchanan, another son of MrsBuchanan, is expected to reach home very shortly.
NEW LAMBTONThe following is a letter received by Mrs. F. Brogden in reference to her son, Private Frederick Brogden, who fell on active service, from the chaplain of the Battalion: “I wish to express to you on behalf of the officers and men of the battalion their very sincere sympathy with you in the death of your fine young son, an honoured member of the battalion. You will doubtless have heard that he fell in action on the 31st May last. His body was committed to its last resting place by me on the morning of the following day in the little military cemetery known as Charing Cross, near Ploegsteert Wood. His grave will be marked and kept in order and the battalion intends to erect a suitable memorial over it, of which a photograph may be sent to you later. We know that your cup of sorrow will be full, as you think of the boy who will not return. But may we also hope that your sorrow may be relieved by a feeling of pride that your son played his part nobly and well, and when he fell it was at the post of duty.”
NEWCASTLE RECRUITINGAt the Newcastle recruiting depot on Friday five volunteers were accepted and three rejected. Among those accepted was Private E. Ley, D.C.M., late of the Inniskillings, who won his distinction in the historic retreat from Mons.
A recruiting meeting was held later in front of the Newcastle Post-office when addresses were delivered by Sergeants Benson, M.M, Townsend and Lewis, Sapper Geoghan, and Private Ley, D.C.M.
LATE SERGEANT HILLIERAn enlarged framed photograph of the late Sergeant W. Hillier, who was killed in action in December, was last night presented to the parents of the deceased soldier, by some of his comrades of “Newcastle’s Own” Battalion.
Quartermaster-sergeant Morrison, in handing over the picture, said that their late comrade had given his life for King and country. They had been drawn together in camp, and their relations continued to the last to be of the most cordial character. “The men of the battalion deeply regretted Sergeant Hillier’s death, and had taken this means of’ showing in some tangible form their appreciation of a fine comrade, and a gallant man. Corporal C. A. Clarke, in endorsing these remarks, extended on behalf of Corporal J. Thorpe and Private Ryan, his sympathy with the parents and family of the late sergeant in the loss they had sustained.
In accepting the gift on behalf of his family and himself, Mr Hillier said the expressions of regard and good feeling had softened a great deal the blow that had fallen on them. Their boy’s comrades had shown their appreciation in a touching manner, and the life-like photograph would be long cherished by the family. He was naturally proud of the part his son had taken in the great war, and could assure those who had fought with him that their sympathy and presentation touched the hearts of Mrs. Hillier and himself very much. Major Sneddon had personally tendered his sympathy, as others had done, and the widely-expressed esteem was something they would ever remember.
LATE PRIVATE THOMPSONThe following letter has been received by the parents, Mr and MrsThompson, Little Gipp Street, of the late Private M. Thompson, who was killed in action on May 17, from the chaplain of the battalion:“I wish to express to you on behalf of the officers and men of the battalion their sincerest sympathy with you in the loss of your fine young son, Private M. Thompson,” of this battalion. You will before this have been advised of his death in action on May 17th last. It occurred during a German raid on our trenches during the night, which, thanks to the sturdy resistance of our boys, was completely defeated and though the artillery fire was heavy our casualties were comparatively light, but among those who fell was your boy, shot through the chest, death supervening very soon after. We laid his body to rest in the little military cemetery known as Xavier Farm, in Southern Belgium; The grave will be kept in order, and a memorial cross erected by the battalion, and a photograph be sent to you later.”
LATE PRIVATE H. PEASEMr and MrsJ. Pease, of Young Road, Lambton, have received the following letter from Private Maurice Gray, now on active service, relating the facts of the death of their son, Private H. (Dooley) Pease, who was killed in action:- “It is with deepest sympathy I write you these few lines about your brave son, Private H. Pease who was killed in action on the night of May 19, 1917. Although I was in the same company, I was not on the spot when he was killed. The last I saw of him was at tea time on the eve of his death, when Harry left for the trenches, when he gave his life for those he loved. He was a brave lad, well-liked by his comrades and officers, always willing and devoted to duty, and although your loss is greatest, I can assure you he will be missed by his comrades, to whom he was so attached. He was buried on the 1st of June, 1917, and prayers were read by the minister belonging to his church at the graveside. All that could possibly be done by those in charge was done, but he died the day after being wounded. He suffered very little pain. He was happy in this world; let us hope God will be good, and that he will be happy in the next. Always think of him as one who fell while fighting for his friends, “For greater love hath no man than he that lays down his life for his friends.” I know your loss will be hard to bear, but try and be brave, in the thought that he was no shirker, but gave up all for those he loved, and died a noble death while doing his duty.”
ENLISTMENTSJames Adair, Newcastle; Edwin Anderson, West Maitland; Stanley Bowden, Carrington; Thomas Chapman, Muswellbrook; William Keith Chapman, Singleton; David Hunt, Stanford Merthyr; Emile Ley, Newcastle; Frederick Lewis Morgan, Newcastle; Frederick Rees, Minmi; Edward August Roberts, Mayfield; William Smith, Waratah; Edward Allen Tremain, West Maitland.
DEATHSPte Alexander McArthur Lambert, Wickham; Pte William Lynch, Cessnock.
David Dial OAM is a Hunter Valley-based military historian. Follow David’s research at facebook成都夜网/HunterValleyMilitaryHistory