Centenary of the Great War

Newcastle Morning Herald transcriptions and Hunter Valley enlistment and death details for June 24-30, 1918.

HORRIFIC: The Australian official photographers were the only ones who could properly convey the desolation caused by the war. Photo: Courtesy of Juan Mahony

HORRIFIC: The Australian official photographers were the only ones who could properly convey the desolation caused by the war. Photo: Courtesy of Juan Mahony

AUSTRALIAN CASUALTIES

Casualties in the Australian Imperial Force to date total 259,201. They are made up as follows: Dead, 48,743; missing, 363; prisoners of war, 3288; wounded, 134,367; sick, 72,227; unspecified, 213.

TANKS IN A RAID

Mr Philip Gibbs reports that the British, during a raid near Bucquoy, introduced a new feature into this kind of warfare, sending out tanks to open a way for the infantry. The latter were unable to go as far as they intended owing to the enemy being in strong force, and got heavy machine guns to work.

AUSTRALIAN WAR RECORDS

In these days, rich with details for the future history of the Australian Army, the War Records Staff is collecting souvenirs and pictures taken on the actual sites of battles in order to preserve the story of these wonderful days, and reveal subsequently what is impossible now to people at home, the full colour of these scenes of action.

Future historians and novel writers should not fail to find in the museums and libraries of the Australian cities and in the archives of the Australian Defence Department, a great store of material for the instruction of children for generations to come in the deeds of the magnificent little force which made the name of the Commonwealth renowned throughout the world.

Many Australian artists are making pictures on the spot, but probably the finest record pictures of all are those which the official photographer in France makes in places where even front line soldiers admire his daring. He records scenes in the front line, often going out into No Man's Land in order to do so. He photographs every battlefield from every point of view.

The recent exploit illustrates both the faithfulness of his work and the absolute authority the Australian soldiers have obtained over the enemy opposite. In order to record the actual scenes of the Australian advance early this month, he accompanied an officer of the unit which made the attack around No Man's Land in daylight, with the object of taking this view of the battlefield both from our side, and the German side, and also photograph a German field gun captured, and lying on the edge of our outposts. The little party crawled under a shallow bank beneath the very noses of three German machine guns. Then one ‘digger’ calmly sat on a German gunner's seat at the gun, while the picture was taken. The German machine guns were then less than 50 yards away. Any enemy not thoroughly subdued would have made such an enterprise impossible.

The Australians here are accustomed, however, to absolute sway in No Man's Land by day and night. On the same day two ‘diggers’ walked out in full view of the enemy, to raid a German machine gun post. The Hun occupying the post saw them coming. He stepped aside a little distance, and aimed his rifle, thinking he would ambush them.

The Australians were too wary to fall in to such a trap. They caught the rustle of his movements, and manoeuvred round him, and threw a bomb, which incapacitated him. Believing that there was a further ambush, they then returned to their own lines to inform their comrades of the situation. They then went out again to pull in the dead Fritz.

TRIBUTE TO THE ANZACS

Mr Fisher, the High Commissioner for Australia, presided at the Australian and New Zealand Luncheon Club's lunch to Mr Hughes and Mr Cook at the Savoy Hotel. There were 250 present. 

Mr Hughes, responding to the toast of his health, referred to the cheering news from the Italian front. He said that while the internal condition of Austria might pave the way to a separate peace, nevertheless, with a great enemy unshattered anxious days were still ahead.

“But,” he said, “we will meet them with calm confidence.”

He dealt at length with the Australians' part in the war, saying, “Our children's children will read with glorious pride the history of the Anzacs, and recall memories of the men whose imperishable deeds made Australia a nation. The new spirit of Australian nationhood born at Anzac has permeated every atom of our being. Since then the names of Mouquet Farm, Bullecourt, Bapaume, Messines, Passchendaele, and Gaza have been inscribed on Australia's banners. Australia owes everything to heir soldiers, and the duty devolves on her of preparing a place for them in Australia. He was glad to meet his fellow-citizens in London, and tell them that Australia's war spirit was keen as ever.

Mr Cook congratulated the club on its inauguration. Australia and New Zealand, he said, were as one in the Southern Seas, and would take an important part in the destinies of the Pacific. Time was when cricket and football served to advertise Australia in the Homeland, and these Australian sportsmen rallied to the colours and played in the greater game as Englishmen should. Today they had an advertisement of another kind. The Australian boys had written their names deep in the history of the world, and their glory would not fade.

Australia would some day be as big as the United States. She wanted population, for the time might come when she would have to put up a big defence in the Pacific, although he hoped the occasion would never arise. He paid a tribute to Mr Havelock Wilson’s attitude in preventing pacifists coming to England. One of the most brilliant chapters of the war would be that recording the work of the men of the mercantile marine. Who had a better right to say what should be done to these peace babblers than those representing the men murdered on the high seas?

MAGNIFICENT FORM

It is impossible to exaggerate the splendid fettle of the Australian battalions. Their health has been nursed all the winter, and the patrol fighting in No Man’s Land in Flanders has raised the men individually to a high pitch of efficiency.

They have thrown themselves into this tremendous battle with an ardour that no troops surely have ever excelled. Their high moral and enthusiasm, their soldierlike efficiency, are the admiration of French and British alike. The spirit is accounted for by several reasons. They are tried and trained soldiers, and like all good soldiers they welcome the open battle.

The change to unravaged country of hills and woods from the desolated plains of Flanders is a tonic to them in itself. Besides that, the valleys of the Ancre and the Somme between Amiens and Albert are as well known to many of them, every inch of the ground, as their own home towns and paddocks in Australia.

They rested here behind the line during the Somme campaign, and up and down these very hillsides and among these selfsame woods they carried out their training and practice manoeuvres in the summer of 1916 and the succeeding winter.

Our men are stirred, too, by the noise of a battle which looks like the last round in the war.

AUSTRALIAN CASUALTIES

The 411th list of Australian casualties, issued by the military authorities Monday morning, contains 475 names. It shows that 40 were killed in action, 25 died of wounds, and five died from other causes. In addition, there are 12 reported prisoners of war, three missing, 299 wounded, 80 ill, and 11 injured.

The 412th list of Australian casualties was released for publication by the military authorities Wednesday. It shows that 14 New South Welshmen were killed in action, seven died of wounds, 305 wounded, 32 ill, and seven injured.

PREMIER SWIMMING CLUB

The annual smoke concert, presentation of prizes, and welcome home to returned soldier members of the Premier Swimming Club took place at Way’s Cafe on Saturday night, and was largely attended.

Mr T. Blackall, president of the club, presided. After the loyal toast, the Mayor of Newcastle (Alderman Kilgour), in proposing “Success to the Allies,” said he was proud of Newcastle's many efforts for patriotic funds, and more so of its record of enlistments. He was also pleased to be associated with the club, which had contributed such a large number of its members to the fighting forces of the Empire.

 Mr M. J. Dillon proposed the toast “The Boys at the Front,” and eulogised the Australians for their many gallant deeds.

The club had sustained a distinct loss in the death on active service of four of its most popular members, viz., Private F. Minter, Corporal A. W. Dodd, Gunner W. A. McLeod, and Sergeant George Duthie. Several others were wounded.

A special tribute was paid to all those who had fallen by those present standing in silence while Mr J. Bannister accompanied by the orchestra, sang “Absent”.

ASH ISLAND

Private G. S. Bernes, after two and a half years' service in France, was welcomed home at Ash Island. Mr D. Walker, who occupied the chair, said that he was pleased, on behalf of the residents, to welcome Private Bernes home again, and hoped for an early recovery from his wounds. Mr A. E. Elliott, on behalf of the Soldiers' Committee, presented Private Bernes with a gold medal, inscribed, and a silver cigarette case, thanking him for what he had done for King and country, and wishing him a speedy return to good health. Several others present joined in wishing Private Bernes prosperity and good health. Private Bernes briefly returned thanks for the gifts and kindness shown him.

HEXHAM

Private Adolphe Tillitzki, who recently returned from the front, was accorded a public welcome on Thursday evening, by the members of the Red Cross, and the Citizens and Parents' Association.

Mr Jones, the chairman stated that Private Tillitzki was an ex-pupil of the Hexham Public School. He had been twice wounded, on the latter occasion by an explosion of a bomb from an aeroplane. The presence of such a large attendance proved the high esteem in which the guest was held by the residents of Hexham, and their pleasure in being able to welcome him home, and they all hoped that he would soon recover from all effects of his wounds. On behalf of the people of Hexham, he tendered Private Tillitzki a cordial welcome. Mrs. F. Robinson, on behalf of the Hexham Red Cross Society, presented Private Tillitzki, with a gold medal, suitably inscribed. Mr Jones, on behalf of the Hexham Parents and Citizens' Association and many friends, presented Private Tillitzki with a gold battalion signet ring, as a small token of their gratitude to him for his great sacrifice for them. Mr Tillitzki responded on behalf of his son. 

WESTON

A public welcome home was held in the Olympia Hall on Thursday evening, in honour of Sergeant-major McFadden, Corporal Stevens, Private Alston, and Private Heuston.

Mr J. Littlefair presided, and introduced the guests of the evening, whom they were all pleased to have home again, after having so nobly risked their lives. He then presented each guest with a gold medal, suitably inscribed, on behalf of the citizens of Weston, with their best wishes. The guests were then presented with parcels of woollen comforts. Sergeant-major McFadden, in responding, said that they were all pleased to be home again, and to receive so warm a welcome. He also desired to thank the Red Cross and other patriotic bodies for their gifts of comforts during their time away, which were of great value to them, and were much appreciated.

ENLISTMENTS

David Searle Brady, Allandale; John George Brien, The Junction; Alexander Cairus Dunn, Newcastle; Raymond Edmond, Adamstown; Victor Alfred Ford, Kurri Kurri; Magnus Stanberry Fraser, Newcastle; William Alfred Garner, Hamilton; Neville Wallace Gregory, Linwood; William Griffiths Jones, Merewether; Joseph Kenyon, Hamilton; Bertie Leonard King, Millers Forest; Frank Pepper, Raymond Terrace; Herschel Stanley Smith, Lambton.

DEATHS

Pte David Fleming Clarke, Kurri Kurri; Pte Patrick Joseph Cleary, Morisset;  Pte William James Griffiths, Stockton; Pte Francis Joseph Herbert, Allynbrook; Pte Thomas Aubrey Kirk, Weston; Pte Leo Aloysius McGuinness, Toronto; Pte Joseph Parrish, Boolaroo; Pte Sydney Edward Smith, Cessnock.

David Dial OAM is a Hunter Valley-based military historian. Follow David's research at facebook.com/HunterValleyMilitaryHistory