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 Gallipoli and Western Front Diary of Rudolph John SCHULSTAD


Rudy after returning from WW1
(The chevrons on his sleeve indicate each year away from home, 1915-1919.
The small bronze "A", above his Red Cross, indicates his service in Gallipoli.)

20th Battalion.  5th Field Ambulance.
Service Number 55

Typed by Muriel IRWIN.    (His Daughter.)

Notes and experiences since leaving Sydney. [ June 1915 ]

Press Article June 1915: Rudy was presented with a gold watch by his fellow workers at the Lithgow Small Arms Factory, as a mark of esteem, upon his departure.

Article:  The Stretcher Bearers first went to Liverpool Camp (Southwest Sydney).

Article: The band played at the opening of State Parliament in Sydney.

We left Sydney on the S.S.Berrima No A35 on Saturday, 25th June at 4.45 pm.

Called at Melbourne June 28th, anchored in the bay for three hours, then put to sea again.

These 10 men from Lithgow all joined the 20th Battalion in 1915, serving as Stretcher Bearers and also as Bandsmen.
- Many Stretcher Bearers had religious beliefs that forbade them from taking the life of another man.  So they went unarmed into battle,
protected only by the Red Cross symbol.  (This was certainly so for
Rudy, given his strong links to the Salvation Army.)
The fates of the individuals pictured show the enormous hazards of this selfless work:
[Back Row: Left to Right] L. Annesley (wounded), J.McNeill (killed),J.Osborne and S Braddock (wounded).
[Middle Row:] A. Mullins (wounded), S. Wood bandmaster (killed) A. Rogers and R. SCHULSTAD;
[Front Row:] J. Morris (wounded) and J. Marsland.
[Photo credit: Lithgow Mercury.]

Crossed the line on July 15th, arrived at Port Suez on July 25th. Disembarked and caught the train for Heliopolis July 26th arriving after a 6 hour train ride.
Article: Rudy's letters home about his voyage and arrival in Egypt.

Saturday July 31st
We went to Cairo today, and had a good look around accompanied by M Heraghty, D Jones and D Dyer. About 7 o’clock a big riot broke out in Wasser in which nine buildings were destroyed by fire.

Sunday August 1st.
Went to the Pyramids today. They are wonderful. The largest Cheops is 451 feet high. Its original height was 20 ft higher; there is a refreshment room on top of the outside. Inside are seven chambers, five are inaccessible. The king’s chamber is 235½ feet from the ground and exactly in the centre of the Pyramid. The roof is composed of 9 stones each weighing 18 tons.  The dimensions 6ft x18x5 solid granite. Each side has nine stones each weighing 15 tons. The King’s coffin is still there and the Queen’s is 140 ft from the ground and much smaller.
The Chaffron Pyramid is 420 ft high. The Pyramids were built in BC3,960 so are 5,876 years old. The largest covers 13 acres of ground.
The Sphinx, which is along side, is not so old. It has the face of a man and the body of a lion. It was a Sun God and the nose of it was blown off by Napoleon. It was built in 3,900 B C.
There are 9 Pyramids altogether. The rest are for the daughters of Pharaoh. Close to the Sphinx is a tomb (only a recent discovery) in which was found the bodies of the Queen and Son of Chaffron, the coffins are still there.
There is also a temple built of solid granite on which was found the statues of the six Pharaohs. The temple is now underground, but the roof has been removed to allow you to see it. Right opposite the Pyramids is Mena camp and hospital. The place is just alive with niggers selling you almost anything.

Mon 2nd Aug.
In our route march this morning we went to Heliopolis Obelisk, which is a wonderful piece of work. One solid block of granite about 50 ft high, on the road we passed some open graves. The remains still in them.  Today half of our battalion went to Kass-el-nil barracks to relieve an English Battalion. It is on the banks of the Nile.

Wed 4th August
Our two companies came back today. On our march today we passed through Zietown, Hamiah and Matariaha.

Our Daily program here is Reveille 5am, parade 6 to 9 am, breakfast and lectures 10 to 12 Dinner, parade 4--7pm Tea.

Saturday and Sunday,
No leave being granted we had to stay in camp. On Sunday I went and heard a very interesting lecture by Rev. James in an American Missions Hall.  The title: “The man who won through.“

Friday August 6th.
We played a program in the Palace Hospital tonight.
Program. March Australia Waltz, Winteroses. Mr Thomas Cat, Ord Pro Nobes, Abyesinian Expedition, Moonlight Bay Waltz, Sweet Seventeen.  
The hospital was originally built for a hotel, one of the worlds largest, but it has been converted into a hospital. It has 800 rooms and holds 2,600 beds.
Tuesday 10th August. Young Dick McCormack came in to see us today. He came back from the front yesterday with rheumatism. He has been there fifteen weeks. He explained the fighting on the [Gallipoli] peninsular well.

Wednesday 11th August.
It is the anniversary of the birth of Mohammad. The natives are in the cemetery in hundreds wailing and howling at the top of their voices.
The 17th Battalion left here this morning to garrison Citadel Barracks.

Friday 13th August. 
Some of our reinforcements arrived here last night. News came through today that 6th [Battalion] of 2nd [Brigade] has been in action and nearly annihilated. Their Lieutenant Diggs was killed. Les Tougher was killed. He was shot in the stomach. The Turkish causalities are reported as 25,000, this was the memorable Lone Pine Charge. Our battalion were given thorough musket training yesterday and today we did pretty fair on the range.

[Shipping Out To Gallipoli - August 1915.]

Monday 16th August.  
Left Heliopolis at 1.30 am Marched to Palla do Comba station, left there at 3am. Arrived at Alexandria at 9am and embarked at H.M.T.S. Saturnia No.B2. There are seven hospital ships unloading wounded here at present. Left Alexandria at 7am.

Tuesday 17th August.  We are at sea again travelling a zigzag course. There are 5 machine guns in position, ready for action, also five steam Pinnacles as well as all lifeboats. We are ordered to wear life belts all the time in case of accident.

Thursday 19th August. Arrived in Lemnos Harbour at 6 am today. There are a number of warships in the Harbour. The entrance is guarded by a minefield and Submarine nets. There are about 130 to 140 troopships in the Harbour. We are moored near midstream to four others and have been issued with 200 rounds of ammunition and two days iron rations. A large transport “The Royal Edward” was torpedoed about 7 hours steam from here a few days ago.  1,300 drowned and 8oo saved.  She sank in three minutes.
 
Saturday 21st August 
Half  of the 18th and all of the 19th and the 5th Field Ambulance transshipped last night onto the Osmanieh transport belonging to the Khedivial mail line. 
The same boat arrived for us at 1pm today. We left at 5pm.

Sunday 22nd August.
We arrived here at 8pm last night and transshipped into lighters at 1am. The lighters had been used to carry dead bodies out to sea. We then marched into reserve gully and rested.
Just had tea and are off in an hour’s time to go in support for a charge on the left.
The 18th were cut about terribly last night through faulty leadership. Our men are very light-hearted and waiting for the fray.
We arrived in Angels Rest 10 o’clock and occupied dugouts for the rest of the night.
We are occupying observation trenches. Six wounded by snipers today.

GALLIPOLI, 1915. REST GULLY SHOWING TENTS OF THE 5TH AUSTRALIAN FIELD AMBULANCE.

Wednesday 25th August.
Received orders to take over Walker's Ridge.
Just as we were about to move out a shrapnel 10 lb. shell burst. There were five serious causalities and several minor ones. Sgt. Jones (Pioneers) had his left leg and right toe blown off. The leg below the knee.

We arrived at Russell's Top without further casualties and relieved the 8th, 9th and 10th Light Horse, who have suffered here very severely, there is about 400 bodies just outside the trenches uncovered, since their last charge three weeks ago.  [The battle of The Nek.] The stench is awful. The Turks are about 15 yards away, the shells fly over our heads by the dozen, and nearly all firing is done at night.

Monday 30th August
The Turks came out of their trenches last night, but were soon put out of action. We had one causality today and one yesterday.
Article: Rudy writes home from a bunker just behind the Gallipoli Front Line.
Tuesday 31st August.
We had three causalities last night. The Turks advanced into a trench in advance of their own and closer to ours. We had to stand by stretchers as they thought the Turks were about to attack, as they had done a lot of damage to stores etc. with a big bombardment yesterday afternoon.

Wednesday 1st September
Went around to Anzac Post Office to see young Upton. He looked well.

Thursday 2nd Sept.
Last night the Turks put barbed wire entanglements around their trenches. There was terrific firing on the left last night. Private Baker was shot through the temple this morning. He lived a few minutes. He was buried this afternoon.  

Friday 3rd Sept.
Bombardment by the Turks this afternoon but they have done no damage.

Sat 4th Sept.
Very quiet all day.  

Sunday 5th Sept.
Our scouts, 12 in number went out this morning to take one enemy machine gun sniper, but were cut off, 5 are wounded, one got through and arrived back safely, the rest expect to get back tonight.

Monday 6th Sept.
The rest of the scouts arrived back early this morning. The engineers last night broke into a Turkish mine and exploded it. What damage was caused is not known. The sixth brigade landed last night they came through the trenches. One boat was torpedoed leaving Lemnos, but managed to get back to Port under her own steam  

Wednesday 8th Sept.
I went around to the lift and saw Tom Rodham, Arch Robinson and Bert Rowe. They all look well. They are leaving here tonight for a holiday in Lemnos. They have been on Lone Pine.

Article: Rudy describes life in the trenches in Gallipoli.

Thursday 9th Sept.
The 19th took over the next position to us on our right today.  There is to be a demonstration tonight. We have had five causalities the past day or two.

Friday the 10th Sept.
One of our men was shot through the head this morning.

Sunday the 12th September. Things have been very quiet the past day or two. We held Church Parade today in the trenches. They have cut down our water supply to half a gallon per man. The 7th Brigade landed last night. There was a bit of artillery dual tonight for about half an hour. The fifth field ambulance has established a base half way down the beach.

Wednesday 15th Sept.
It is raining today; it is the beginning of winter. Things very quiet today.

Thursday 16th September.
It is still raining. A lighter with 460 six-inch shells upset in the bay last night. Yesterday a shell burst right on the roadway down to the beach and killed an Indian. The light railway is nearly completed and we have a traction engine and motor lorry ready for heavy transport work. Four new Howitzers and two naval transport guns have been landed today. At 12oclock today the Turks gave us notice of 24 hours to leave the Peninsular or they would blow us up. Needless to say we are taking no notice of it.

Friday 17th September
we are still here. Our bomb corporal blew himself to pieces today through holding a bomb too long. Arch Mullins went to hospital today with Bronchitis and Pier Chinn with fever. Brigade headquarters shifted today to Monash Gully.
The collection of the Australian War Memorial holds a 5th Field Ambulance service cap of an Ambulanceman who was evacuated sick from Gallipoli and later died.

Saturday 18th September.
The Turks made an attack to retake Hill W but the London Scottish counter attached and took two lines of trenches.

Sunday 19th Sept.
Church service again this morning. Jack Osbourne took over Doctors orderly.

Thursday 23rd September 
Wack Brown appointed postman. The Turks with Beachy Bill blew up three masted barques loaded with timber, which we had taken from them.
Article: Three frontline letters from Rudy in late September 1915.

Thursday 7th October .
Things have been very quiet for the last fortnight. One man killed today with gas from our own mine and one by shrapnel. Gilbert Harris was wounded last night on the left forearm. The Turks attached the Ropers Ridge last night, but were reputed with heavy losses. I have been cooking for the Doctor for the past fortnight.

Monday 11th October.
We were paid 30/- today. I have not been well for the past week, but am feeling better today. Will Mullins was promoted to armour Sgt today. There is a Turkish prisioner in our trenches today, inviting the others to surrender.

Sunday 17th Oct.
I have been on light duties for the past week suffering from Jaundice. Our canteen stores arrived yesterday.

Wednesday 20th Oct.
We are expecting an attack tonight as their feast days are from the 18 to the 20th. Our poor fellow McFadyen was blown to pieces this morning by one of our own bombs, defective. He was an awful sight both arms blown off, half his chest and one eye. He was still conscious when he left here, spoke and drank milk down at the bottom hospital afterwards. He dies six hours after the accident.
Article: Three letters from Rudy as winter approaches and he is troubled by illness on the Gallipoli shore.

Friday 29th Oct. 
They are putting old tramp steamers to act as a breakwater in the winter.

Saturday 30th October two of our boys were blown up with a Turkish Bomb last night, both seriously injured.

Wednesday 10th November.
Moved yesterday into Monash Gully. We were relieved by the 26th Battalion, who do not seem capable of holding the position. Last night the Turks destroyed the bomb crater and the 26th ran out for their lives. Our men were sent up and soon retook it.

Saturday 13th November.
We started to dig a hospital today. All Christmas mails to Australia close tomorrow.
Article: The family's Danish roots lead them to be unfairly targeted in the anti-German hysteria of 1915.
Tuesday 23rd November 
Still in Monash Gully. Pay day today, drew 30/-


Group portrait of men of the 5th Field Ambulance at Monash Gully shortly before the evacuation of the Gallipoli Peninsula.
Identified personnel include: 3890 Private (Pte) Edward Allen at top and 3896 Pte Clifford James Searle MM at lower right.
The other four in order from second row left to right and front row left to right are probably:
2876 Pte Reginald Thomas (Thos) Jennings, either 2903 Pte Geoffrey Wood or 2866 Pte Warwick Wood,
2902 Pte Alfred Thomas (Thos) Watters MM and 3895 Pte Alexander Adams MM.
All six embarked from Sydney in May and June of 1915 on HMAT Ajana and HMAT Ceramic and were part of
the Ambulance's C section. Privates Searle and Watters received the Military Medal for working together
to evacuate wounded men at an ambulance wagon loading post near Noreuil, France, on 3 May 1917. Over a period
of 36 hours they worked without rest to move over 400 patients to the wagons, all the time under shell fire.
Pte Adams received the MM for "bravery at Goose Alley, north west of FLERS, France, on 14 November 1916.
He went to the assistance of a wounded man and under heavy fire dressed his wounds, returned to the Aid Post, procured
a stretcher, and placing the wounded man upon it, returned to the Aid Post. He was wounded on his way back to the Aid Post"

Thursday 25th November
We blew up a mine last night and no one is allowed to fire a single shot. We are all to keep under cover all day. It is a strategic move I was detailed temporarily to the AMC in place of Percy Climn. We drew rations and water last night and no fatigues are to work by day.

Saturday 28th.
Quietness finished and we are all making up for lost time. It is snowing today; about three inches of rain preceded it.

Thursday 3rd December
Snow still laying on the ground but the weather is much warmer.

Friday 10th December.
There was a bit bombardment this morning from four of our crews, all of them firing broadside at one time. Tom Rodham was over to see me yesterday. He is well.

Saturday 11th December 
Major Harcus, Uther Jenkins were killed today with one shell 75cm. Jack Osbourne sent to hospital this morning.

Saturday. 12th December 
We moved back today to Russell’s Top. 23 Causalities today with their black powder 6” shells.

[Evacuation from Anzac Cove]

Monday 20th December  
Left Anzac Williams Pier on Lighter K19 at 7.30 last night. Transshipped to H.M.S Mars and sailed about 8 o’clock. Coffee was served on board also bread and cocoa. We arrived at Lemnos Harbour at 2 am taking a zig zag course all the way. We transshipped into the Waterwitch at 6 am and were taken ashore and marched about 4 miles into camp at West Mudros. The total causalities were six, all minor.

At sea., recently evacuated from Gallipoli these unidentified men are peeling potatoes
for what the unknown photographer called "the famous bully beef stew".
A small group of four at upper right are wearing what is probably the white over green diamond shaped
colour patch of the 20th Battalion. The remainder are possibly men of the 5th Field Ambulance.
Taken aboard an unknown vessel they are probably on the way to Egypt from the island of Lemnos.
Wednesday 29th December 
Still at Mudros have been to all the neighbouring villages including Condy, Castro and Thermos. The springs at Thermos are really good. Castro is the biggest village on the Island. Received parcel from Melbourne today.

[1916]

Jan 3rd 1916 
Left Lemnos and embarked on S.S.Manitow and No.B12  on a try B There are about 120 men and 5 women prisoners aboard.

Jan 4th
Loading horses all day about 1000 aboard.

Thursday 6th Jan
Left harbour at daylight. We have 4 machine guns mounted also an 18 pounder in the stern,

Friday 7th January
Rain sprang up this afternoon, we were accompanied by a patrol boat and destroyer all day yesterday,

Saturday 8th Jan
Arrived at Alexandria at 3pm this afternoon.

Sunday 9th Jan
Transhipped today at 1.30 PM into train, Packed like sardines. The rest of the brigade are here.
Left at 3pm for Tele-el-Kebir  Sir Garnet Wolsleys historic spot. Arrived at 10 PM.

Monday 10th January 
Received 22 letters today.

Article: Five letters from Rudy covering the period around the Evacuation from Gallipoli.

Tuesday 11th January 
Bill Williams went to hospital this morning.

Wednesday 12th Jan
25 today received writing roll from Allie.
Article: Rudy's observations of life in Egypt.

Saturday Jan 22nd
Still at Kele-el-Kebir  We now have our own instruments. Sent Parcel to Alf this morning.

Sunday 23rd Jan.
Received orders to pack up and be ready to move at 12 PM.

Monday 24th Jan,
Arrived at ferry post Ismalia at 7.30 this morning after travelling all night in an open truck. A very large and pretty place. The 30th Batt are stationed here. I saw Tom Goodhead today, he is well..   

Tuesday 25th January.
Very windy and raining today, We are within 5 minutes walk to the Canal on the Arabian side We crossed over Postoon Bridge.

Wednesday 26th January.
Marched today to Australian Hill a distance of seven and a half miles through sand.

Thursday 27th January
Received out tents today, Paraded tonight complaining of no food, Promised consideration.

28th January
All Sargent’s have to parade from 7:15-7:45 each morning for drill under the C.O commencing this morning.

Wed 2nd February        
Sid Yeardley went to rail head this morning

Thursday 3rd February    
D company arrived this afternoon

Saturday 5th February   
 Some of our 6 reinforcements came today. We marched out and played them in. Food 100% better

Mon 7th Feb        
Moving day aging today 2 companies A and B are moving about a mile and C and D about 3 miles further on. We are to stay with A and B

Wed 9th Feb       
Reg Bouchier has been sent to C and D company.
Article: Two letters from Rudy about life in camp in Egypt.

Thursday 10th Feb    
word has just come through that no bands are to play on the east side of the canal.

Sun 13th Feb        
word came through that we could play again in daylight. We were payed 30/-

Mon 14th        
On the 11th Feb started to bring the Railway to head Otos [Ottoman Turks].  Captain Ross ordered Paul Jones to carry a pack drill, he tried to and collapsed, there was a nearly a riot over it.

Feb 16th            
Brown, Morris, McNeil, Annesley, Braddock, Dyer, McLeod sentenced to 28 days No. 2 Field Punishment for breaking camp.

Thursday 17th        
Went to Ismalia today with Edgar for medical stores slept at stage in camp after having a good time in town all day.

Fri 18th            
Arrived back in camp at 10:30 this morning

Sat 19th            
Inspection and address by General Legge this afternoon. We received equipment again today

Sun 20th            
Played for church parade this morning also programs to C and D boys and church parade for 18th Battalion. A nigger came in today with his collar bone broken also another nigger with a camel bite on foot

Wed 23rd Vic        
Braddock went to hospital today with PUO

Thursday 24th Feb   
Mcleod sentenced to another 7 days for not reporting

Fri 25th            
Word came through last night that the Russians had captured 22,000 Turks. Vic Braddock returned today

Sat 4th March        
went to dance on Wednesday night and had a good time. Saw Jack Osborne there was a great dust storm yesterday covering the railway with sand

Sunday 5th March    
word through _____ by today ______

Mon 6th March        
morning ______ we are to go into ferry port here at 10 am

Tues 7th March        
arrived at ferrypost at 4:30 last night and left here at 9am today arrived at moasker camp at 2pm

Wed 8th March        
had a swimming parade today at the Bitter lakes, which are close handy. Inoculated today

Sun 12 March    
brigade still at Moasken transferred to B Company today played at Brigade head.

Wed 15th March            
We have swimming parade daily

Thursday 16th March    
saw W. Burnell today he is with the 17th he left for France tonite

Friday 17th        
We are packing up again today and this time to France. I am to leave here with the AMC to which I am now attached. Left moasken Ismaliah station no. 1 at 9:15pm

Sat 18 March   
arrived at Alexandria at 5:10am embarked on board SS ingoma G1068 at 7am with A and B boys, C and D arrived at 10:00. It is a very wild day rain dust and wind.

Sunday 19th March
Had church parade on bored weather fined but still very rough sea running. Left Alexandria at 4:40. Were inoculated this afternoon and very sick

Monday 20th March   
at sea the sea is a lot calmer still sick stayed in bed nearly all day.

Tues 21st March    
a lot better today sea calm word today that Mineopolis torpedoed

Thursday 23rd March   
past pentalosia Island where all Italy’s political prisoners are imprisoned about ½ a mine away

[Arrival in France - March 1917]

Sat 25th March   
arrived at Marsilles at 10:00 today marched to station entrained at 3pm. There is a boatload of prisoners on the harbour. Prisoners do all the porterage on the station under guard and seem very happy.
We left Marsilles at 4:15pm passing Orange at 11:30. The residents had tea waiting for us the French are very enthusiastic.

Sun 26th March
Still on the train weather lovely we passed trough a couple of towns and Lyons and Dijon 2 great towns. We had post cards given to us by a young lady.

Mon 27th        
pulled up this morning for a wash and shave. Just passed Versailles where the Red Cross nursed supplied cakes tea and coffee and postcards and cigarettes to the boys. We are having tea at Eplucher.

Tues 28th March        
arrived at theinnes at 6:00 this morning and marched to Steenbecque a small village we are billeted in a barn. Weather cold.

Wednesday 29th March
Still in Village. People of village very kind.

Thursday March 30th    
Paid 40 Francs today

Friday March 31st        
Went through gas attack this morning. Everything successful. Troops inspected by Lord Kitchener this afternoon at Aire

Sunday April 2nd       
 Still in Steenbecque. Weather lovely. Having a goodtime.

Thursday April 6        
Still in Steenbecque. Having a good time. Have received orders to be ready to move at a moments notice. Madam’s sister died on Tuesday.
    Germaine’s address Mademoiselle Germaine Woestelandt
             Rue Principale
              Steenbecque (Nord)
              France
    Monsieur Henri Woestelandt, Cordonnier a Steenbecque Nord

Friday April 7th        
we are leaving the village this morning. I am trying to drive the 7th OS Cart. It is like leaving home at 10 a.m. passing through ……..
…….
…..
English cavalry and broke the shaft fall. This was three miles from the start. The villagers passed through where Borre, Pradelles, strazeeto, Merris and Outerstein. Stayed at the same place all night. Captain Foster which had previously been held by Germans. Moved on at 10a.m. Past through Steeneverche, had dinner on road, had dinner at Jesus’ farm. Lhalladeou stayed here all night. Had sick parade this morning.

Monday 10th April    
Still at Jesus farm, weather fine, there was a big bombardment last night.

Tuesday April11th    
We left Jesus farm at 9pm yesterday and arrived at Carlton Farm. Bois Grenier at 11.30pm. It is raining and very cold. The Germans shelled the next village Fleubaix today and set fire to two houses.

Wednesday 12th        
April Still tooth ache, rain again, we expect to move into the trenches on Friday night. AMC to look after water truck from last night. Williams and I to look after AMC work.

Friday 14th April.    
Paid 14 Francs today, it is sleeting and raining, we move into the Tahabin tonight, relieving the 28th

Saturday 15th April,    
relieved the 28h last night. One killed and one seriously wounded with our own Rifle grenade today. Still raining.

Sunday April 16th        
three killed and two wounded today by enemy bomb. Jack Adkin was one of the killed.

Monday April 17th    
Things pretty quiet today for casualties

Tuesday April 18th    
Raining again this morning, tonight back to Carlton Farm

Wednesday 19th        
April Back again for four days rest.

Thursday April 20th    
went Erquingham for hot bath and change of clothes. Also went to Armenteers.

Saturday April 22nd    
Still raining, we are going to the trenches again tonight

Thisrday 26th        
April Came out of trenches last night had about 6 casualties. Yesterday morning they put in 51 shells on out HQ without one minor casualty. The weather now is beautiful, G. Jakeman came back last Saturday.
There was a gas attack last night and all had to be ready to don respirators.

Friday 27th April.    
A hostile gas attack followed by a big bombardment by our Artillery occurred last night. We all had to be ready to reinforce the 18th but were not needed.
Went for a hot bath today. Weather fine. Paid 40 Francs today.

Sunday April 30th    
There was another hostile gas attack last night.

Monday May 1st        
Relieved 18th tonight, weather fine.

Friday May 5th        
Still in trenches, had 23 casualties since Monday night. Yesterday six of our own. 9.2”shells dropped into our trenches. Salient but luckily not one exploded. There is to be an enquiry today into it.

[Wounded in Bombardment]

Saturday May 6th        
Commencing at 7.30 until 9.30p.m. Yesterday we were under terrific bombardment; the enemy is sending on one sector about 8000 shells. Varying from 6” to 9.2” one came through five foot of sand bags them exploded. Killing Son wood, Jack McNeill, G. Harding and wounding J. Morris, Vic Braddock, Arch Mullions and L. Hughes, HS Edgar and myself. The first I felt was a hit in the chest, which must have been concussion, then poor old Son fell across me and never moved. The rest of the wounded were behind us. Jack McNeill and J. Harding were outside when it happened. We were working all night and today on the wounded. So far our casualty returns are wounded 171, killed 25 and 3MG. Missing 7 – 11. Our trenches are blown to pieces it is a miracle how many of us are alive it was indescribable. One poor fellow, all that was found of him was put into a Billycan. My wound is slight on the left forearm.
On Friday morning, a German Taube dropped a red parachute where the bombardment was severest thank god I was ready if the call had come to me.
Article:  A report on Rudy's frantic work to save the wounded despite being wounded himself.

May 9th    
it is raining today, they are bombarding our billet; I suppose we will have to sleep in the open tonight. Luckily we could sleep in our billets.

Monday May 15th
we came back to the transport lines today. The doctor would not let me go into the trenches. He said my nerves were too bad.

Tuesday May 16th    
The Battalion went into the trenches again last night.

Thursday May 18th   
Received 12 letters today

Monday May 22   
Still at …….. with the transport. Raining this afternoon.
        Notice on Board outside German trenches on May 3rd
    NOTICE For our English Expedition of the most civilized people Esquemausae and suffragotten. Miss Parkhurst desired all other races present. The-coin-of-the-fulgression.

Saturday June 3rd        
Still with transport on water duties.

Wednesday June 7th    
ome into trenches again tonight feeling better.

Friday June 16th        
Still in trenches, have lost 5 officers this week.

Monday June 19th   
 There was a raid last night preceded by a bombardment. We had four casualties, one killed. It is misty rain today.

Wednesday June 21st   
Relieved by 18th today and went into Billets at Bos Grenier.

July 1st ’16    
Relieved by 15th Battalion last night and proceeded to Jesus farm.

Friday July 7th    
Still at farm. Saw F. Poole and W. Burrell and both well. It is raining today also saw W. Hooper.

Sunday July 9th        
Left Llahallabion at 11a.m. today. Had dinner on road. Arrived at Strageole at 6:15PM         Hot tea ready when we arrived there.

Monday July 10th    
Left Strageole at 10AM arrived Ebbingsham at 5:30PM

Tuesday July 1th        
Left Ebbingsham at 8:15AM arrived a Arques at 11AM. …… town market Square. Intramid Weighed 64 kilos passed through Calais Bologna Enthalpies. Arrived Arnriens at 12PM arrived at Picquigny at 10 AM. Picquigny We are billeted on the banks of the Somme.

Thusrday 13th   
July Still at Picquingy. It is a very interesting village. I went and saw an old castle this afternoon. It was very interesting.

Sunday July 16th   
Left Picquingy at 12:30 today. Arrived at Petit Cardonnette at 6PM

Tuesday July 18th     Left Cardonnette at 1PM arrived at 5PM Herissart.

July 19th     Paid 40 Francs

Thursday July 20th    
Left Herissart at 10:30 arrived Warloy baillon at 2:30 PM stayed the night.

Friday July 21st       
Went to service in St. Pauls Church this morning. Still at Worloy Baillon.

Saturday July 22nd    
Have received packing orders left Warloy at 6PM arrived at Albert at 10:30PM. There was a big bombardment on at the time.

[Battle of the Somme - July 1916]

Sunday July 23rd        
We leave here tonight to go to the front line and then to charge. If anything happens to me, I am ready to meet my maker. I have no fear. We leave our packs behind. I believe I am coming through all right. I have a savior who will be with me all the way.

Monday August 7th    
we arrived back in Warloy Baillon last night after putting in an awful fortnight. We successfully took gun hell but our boys were cut up awfully. I came through all right We took a lot of prisoners.

Tuesday Aug. 8th        
Left Warloy at 10AM and arrived at La Vicogne at 5:30 stayed there for a night.

Wednesday Aug 9th    
Left La Vicogne at 8:30AM and arrived at Halloy Perrois at 7PM.

Thursday Aug 10th    
Still at Pernois

Wednesday Aug 16th    
Left Pernios at 10 AM arrived La Vicogne at 4PM

Thursday 17th        
Left La Vicogne at 10AM arrived at Harponville at 4PM

Sunday Aug 20th        
Left Harponville at 10AM arrived at Albert 5PM had tea left 7PM went to Sausage Gully. Bill Williams went to hospital.

Sunday August 27th    
Boys relieved tonight after a wet week casualties slight.

Monda Aug 28        
Stayed at Albert all day. Teeming rain all day.

Tuesday Aug 29th    
Left Albert at 8.30am arrived Warloy Baillon. Thursday Aug 31st Inspected by Gen. Birdwood this morning who presented Hernoro. Left Warloy at 3PM arrived at Beauvil at 8PM a real nice town.

Friday Sept 1st        
Had photos taken today

Wednesday 6th    
Left Beauvil  at 12:30 marched to Doulens entravid arrived at Poperhinge at 2AM Poperhinge a nice town. Went to pictures 2 shows

Saturday 9th        
Left Pop at 6PM arrived at 11PM

Sunday 10th September   
Came back to transport lines tonight received parcel from Mary today.

Wednesday Sept 13th   
paid 40 Francs today

Tues Sept 19th       
George Jake man goes on leave to England tonight

Wednesday Sept 20th   
went up to the line to take Georges place

Sept 27th           
Paid 40 Francs

October 3rd   
George came back last night so I go back to transport lines again. It has been pretty quiet all my stay at the Cow Farm

Friday Oct 6th   
Left Lincoln farm and marched to Steinvoorde and camped in a barn two miles from town

Wednesday Oct 11    
Left Steinvoorde marched to Coperhinge camped just behind the station. Bought Mandolin

Sunday Oct 15th        
Left Poperhinghe today marched to Reninghlest

Tuesday Oct 17th       
Left Reninghlist and marched to Stienvoorde. Stayed overnight

Wednesday Oct 18th   
Marched to Noordpeere in the teeming rain

Thursday Oct 19th   
Still at Noordpeere living at a Chaleon which has been deserted. It is a lovely place, practically furnished. Tick and Reg …. Leave tonight.

Saturday Oct 21st   
Left Noordpeere and marched all day a distance of 31 kilos and arrived at Zaraf-ques. Day tired and stayed at the best billet we have had and the nicest people. We go round the fire all the cold nights.

•    Mademoiselle Marthe Mesa Verde, Zouaf-ques La Recouage Pas-de-Calais*

Monday Oct 23rd       
the doctor went to England today

Wednesday October 25   
Left Zouaf-ques at 10:30 last night and marched 4 miles to Ardawick and entrained train pulled out at Port Reny at 11”:30. Our billet was in a barn.

Thursday Oct 26th   
Left Port Reny at 7PM matched 6 miles and caught motor Charabangs. Drove through Picquigny and Ameins and arrived at Ribermont at 8:30. Slept in a passage way covered in mud and as cold as ice. We were wet through before catching the motor and consequently had to sit in a set clothes in the motor for seven hours. Result Rheumatism in my arms and legs.

Friday Oct 27th    
Freezing cold and still raining. Half the Battalion had no billets last night and had to bivouac… in the rain. This is a big railway center and there are a number of German prisoners working here who seem very happy and contented. The transport have just arrived having come by road from Port Remy.

Sunday October 29th   
Church parade this morning. It is still raining with plenty of mud. We were paid 40 francs today received 6 letters yesterday. Wrote to Grace McAndrew today, also to Bob Morton and Poll oodland. Wrote to Mum, Flo, Alf, Walter’s, Mary, Alice, Jean Ellis and Capt Chapman yesterday.
*Addresses     Frau Ida Madson, Falkensalle 47/2, Fredriksberg, Szalland, Denmark.
    Pte W Shipley, 563 B Coy 36th Batt
    Pte L. Searle 4269 B Coy Killed, 2nd Battalion. July 1916 *

Monday October 30th   
Still very cold, attended sick parade. Half the boys were very rowdy last night. Had a few beers in and….. Each man was issued with a sheepskin vest today.

Tuesday Oct 31st   
The weather is still very rough. 70 reinforcements joined up this morning, the 13th …. Wrote to Aunt Lou, Ethel and Uncle Jack today. Also Eric Ballard. Pte E Ballard B2 L ward. 1st Southern Gen. Hospital, Edge Buster, Bermingham.

Wednesday Nov 1st   
Weather finer but still plenty of mud everywhere. Went to Corby this afternoon a distance of 9 kilos. It is a very nice town as big as Pop. The Church, which has twin towers is about the best, we have been inside of so far. There is a nice big square and the 19th Div. Band played a program in the rotunda. Between here and there, there are hundreds of prisoners doing road repairs. On the journey we passed through Merricourt and …..

Thursday Nov 2nd   
the weather is a little better but still plenty of mud. We were given moving orders but at the last moment they were cancelled. McLeod and Corpl. Storey had a tussle tonight. Nucca is in clink.

Friday Nov 3rd   
Still plenty of mud, we are going out on Maneuvers this morning. The boys carried out everything successfully and we arrived back nice and hungry in time for dinner.

Saturday Nov 4th   
received moving orders. Packed up and left at 9AM.  Marched pretty well all day and arrived at Mametyn at 5PM. It is a very big camp in comfortable huts 32 men to a hut. Outside is mud inches deep. We passed through the rains of Becorded, Fricourt and Mamety. Met Wilbur McCall on the march, he looks well he is in the 56th.

Sunday Nov 5th   
Still at Mamety a boisterous wind is blowing which is drying up the mud.

[Somme Winter - 1916]

Monday Nov. 6th   
Left camp at 2PM and marched through slush and mud up to our knees until 2AM with nothing to eat nor drink passing through Ginchy Longheval and Flers and a last arrived at our reserve trenches in the teeming rain. Had to lie in six inches deep in water.

Tuesday Nov. 7th   
still lying in the sap, can hardly move for Rheumatism. Still raining.

Wednesday Nov. 8th  
 Saw the doctor this morning and he ordered me straight away. Went trough the 6th Fld Amb and walked down to Bazenton le petit and caught a train. Sat in it until dark then we steamed for recount, arrived at 5th field ambulance and received dry socks. Sent from there per motor to 38th CCS. Had hot drink and put to bed.

Thursday Nov. 9th    
Still at 38th CCS put in a bad night, cold and aching all over, entrained at hully onto hospital train at 12’clock. Passed through Amiens and arrived at Rowan at 11:30PM. Motored to Number 10 general hospital. Had a hot bath and went to bed.

Sunday Nov. 12th   
Still in bed and feeling about the same, have been on milks since my arrival.

Wednesday Nov. 15th   
Still in bed feeling better, had a fish diet today. The hospital is packed, Medicine: Miel sod sal 4 hourly, Capsicum ointment

Thursday Nov. 16th   
Aim to get up today, medicine changed to eastern Syrup and aspirin XU and still ointment.

Saturday Nov. 18th    
Still at hospital, weather is awfully cold, there was about two inches of snow fell last night followed by rain..

Thursday Nov. 23rd   
Back on Sid Sal and Capsolin Ointment. Expect to go out tomorrow. Weather fine and cold.

Tuesday Dec. 5th    Still in hospital, marked for England yesterday.

[Evacuated to England - December 1916]

Thursday Dec. 7th   
Left hospital, at 12:15, very sorry to go, motored to station entrained arrived at the Le Havre at 1AM.Embarked on Carisbrook Castle Hospital Ship.
Left Harbor at 7AM and arrived at South Hampton at 6PM. Entrained and arrived at Bristol at 8:45. Motored to Beaufort war hospital Fish Ponds. Had a bath, put to bed in ward 15.

Saturday Dec. 9th   
The Red Cross Society gave us a shaving outfit and Chocolate this morning. I gave the particulars of my death and burial. This hospital used to be a lunatic Asylum.

Friday Dec. 15th   
Allowed out of bed today. I am not sorry. The weather is very chilly at present.

Christmas Day   
Had a jolly good time.

Boxing Day   
Went to the Lord Mayor's Banquet in Bristol Hall.

Thursday Dec. 28th   
Sister Wilson gave a Whist drive and supper to the Ward. Had a photo taken today?

[1917]

Tuesday Jan. 9th   
have not been out since Boxing Day but feeling better now. Bill Burnell admitted today.

Jan. 23rd    
Still in Beaufort Hospital, improving slowly. Weather very cold.

Wednesday Jan. 31st   
Still at Beaufort, went to pictures last Saturday with N.S.
Miss N. Sibthorpe 13 Leeson Park Dublin.

Feb. 15th Thursday   
Still in hospital, feeling better. Weather awfully cold.

Wed. Feb. 28th    
Still at Beaufort. Nurse Sudlow transferred to W16. Last Saturday on night Duty.
Mr. S. G. Blackman, Wargrave Lodge, Wargrave, Berks

April 15th       
Still in Beaufort, leave for Weston tomorrow.

May 2nd 17 Wed.   
Came back from Weston on Monday. Had a fine time stayed at the Sanatorium right on the sea beach. Was marked out yesterday leave here on Friday for Furlough. The weather now is lovely.

[To Scotland]

Friday May 4th ’17   
Left Beaufort at 8AM by motor left Bristol at 9:35 for London. Left Kings Cross at 10:30PM arrived Edinburgh 8:00AM, Musselburgh 9:00AM. Saw Tom Goodhead home on leave he looks well.
*3211 Pte O Marklew 211 Clyton Road Aston. Birmingham *

Monday 7th   
Went to the Army last night. A small corps, nice band and songsters.

Tuesday 8th   
Went to Edinburgh last night saw Holyroad Palace and Castle, two fine places. Also saw where the Zeppelin dropped bombs.

Thursday 10th   
Went to Mrs. Ellis Edinburgh. Today saw Art Gallery Scotts Monument etc.
*Miss M. Ellen 3 Starhope Place, Edinburgh*
*Miss D. Sudlow, Singletom, Arklow c/o Wicklow*

[Back to Bristol]

Friday 11th May   
Left Edinbugh at 4:45PM arrived at Bristol 5:40 AM went straight out to Mrs. Couzens.

Saturday May 12th   
Went over the Downs with P.F. Had a good time, went to the Citadel Bristol at night.

Sunday 13th May 1917   
Went to meetings all day, had a good time.

Monday May 14th   
Went to Weston with Marklow.

Wednesday 16th   
Went to Coombe Dingle with F.W and P.F. for the afternoon. It is a pretty place, had a good time.

Thursday 17th May   
Raining all day, went down and said good-bye to all of the hospital hands.

Friday 18th May   
Cold day went to Cheddar and Gougha Caves. They are wonderful. A miniature Jenolan Caves.

Saturday 19th May   
Left Bristol at 7”45 and left London at 12:30. Arrived at Warcham at 3:45, camped at Flines 23. Met Tom Robbin who has a good job here.

Monday 21st May   
Inoculated today, TAB 48 hours no duty.

Monday 18th June   
Still at Warsham attached to the Depot band.

Friday 27th July   
Have been confined since June 20th
*Captain M Beagle, S A Hut G Lines Middleton Road South Camp Witley Milford Surrey*

Sunday Aug 19th   
Had leave from August 9th to 11th, Captain Beagle and Lt. Paddock left here on Thursday, we missed them very much. Adj. Raind.

Saturday 26th Aug. 1917   
It is still raining, I have a had a rough time with the old complaint all week.
     *Capt. V Pennington 4 Hsias Fangchai East Pekin China.*

 [End of the Diary]


1916-17.  2997 Private Richard Haddon Curtis, 5th Field Ambulance, standing beside an ambulance in France.
A grazier of Glen Innes, NSW prior to enlistment, Pte Curtis embarked from Sydney on board

HMAT Ceramic
(A40) on 25 June 1915. He transferred to the 1st Divisional Supply Column and was

remustered to rank of Driver on 2 January 1917. In May 1917 Curtis transferred to the Australian Flying Corps (AFC)
as a Second Airman. He marched out to the AIF Headquarters, London, on 6 July 1917; having qualified

he was appointed Second Lieutenant (Flying Officer Pilot) on the 2 October 1917.
Curtis proceeded overseas to France and whilst serving with No 4 Squadron (AFC) he was killed in
a flying incident on 6 January 1918, aged 23.

He is buried at the Sailly-Labourse Communal Cemetery Extension, France.



Ypres area Belgium.  19-20 September 1917.  Wounded soldiers being treated at an advanced dressing station near Ypres.
Identified: 4186 Private Albert Doust, 5th Field Ambulance (left foreground);
B. Barwick [probably 2807 Basil Cecil Barwick, 5th Field Ambulance] (partially obscured by Doust, writing on a pad);
Sergeant C W Smith (extreme right background, standing up);
F McCaffrey (standing, right foreground, bandaging a patient's left arm);
possibly 3109A Private (Pte) Herbert Alfred Hunter (centre, seated behind man with sling).
Pte Hunter, of the 5th Pioneer Battalion, a farmer from Wagin, WA was killed in action on 30 July 1918.



December 1917.  A view of the distant German lines as seen from a forward trench occupied by the AIF.
3896 Private Clifford James Searle MM, 5th Field Ambulance and the probable source of this photograph,
was a stretcher bearer who recovered many casualties from front line areas like this. The row of trees
are not as shell damaged as they appear but have been pollarded in the typical French rural fashion.
 

Rudy's Army Personnel Record describes his  postings in 1917 (working in England after his recovery) and 1918 (mainly in France).
(Also War Bride documents.  - And a ridiculous charge while he was on the ship Main returning to Australia.  Welcome home!)


Article: February 1919, Rudy was hospitalised in England suffering debility.


Article: Rudy left England for home on 25 July, 1919.


Article 1938: Rudy plays the bugle at a large Lithgow commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the Armistice.


Article: The 1949 Marriage of Rudy's only daughter Muriel to Lloyd IRWIN, who served with 3 Squadron RAAF in WW2.


VALE to our long-standing Association Member…  Muriel IRWIN.
Died 2nd June 2021.  [Only six months shy of her 100th Birthday.]
- Widow of 3SQN SGT Cook Aubrey Lloyd George IRWIN.
The Association will dearly miss Muriel’s cheerfulness. 
She brought a smile to our functions, especially our annual Richmond Anzac Pilgrimmages, where she represented the Association on occasion as wreath-layer.  (Even when she could no longer drive, Muriel arranged for her carer to bring her along.)  Loved mother of Glenyss, Geoff and Roz; grandmother and great grandmother.  Muriel was buried on 26 June 2021 at Lithgow NSW, her home-town for her entire lifetime.

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