Newcastle Morning Herald transcriptions and Hunter Valley death details for March 17-23,1919.
The official Australian correspondent, telegraphing from Belgium, states: There are many in the Australian Force today watching with saddened hearts the sale of horses they learnt to love during the war. The order has gone forth that all horses and mules in the corps must be sold.
None will be permitted to go back to Australia. Two reasons are sufficient.
There is the difficulty of transport. Ships are hard enough to obtain for men, and there are the quarantine precautions on arrival at Australian ports.
These reasons are enough to make it not worthwhile to take the animals out of Europe.
Both the horses and mules have been divided into two classes, those of better quality being sold in England, and the remainder sold in Belgium and France.
Any unfit for these classes fall to local butchers, and appear in due course at the dinner table of some family, to whom bullock's flesh is a rarity.
At the end of January there were 22,000 horses and mules in the corps. Already 6700 have been sold, 3200 to England, and 3500 on this side of the Channel. Strict supervision is maintained over the sales. The wellbeing of the animals is watched with sound precautions.
All sales are made through divisions under the control of the veterinary service work with French and Belgium missions.
Picture 200 animals ready for sale. The local auctioneer who has authority to sell announces the fact by large bills, "Vent Publique Chevaux et Mules, Anglais." Then follows a full description.
At some place in the town the crier, most ancient of institutions, warns all the inhabitants in a deep, monotonous voice that the sale will be held on a certain day.
The day arrives. The horses and mules are mustered under the supervision of an officer especially detailed to see that none are sold for less than he thinks they are worth.
By some curious arrangement the auctioneer receives two and half cent from the British Government, and also levies 4 per cent on the purchaser over and above the price paid, thus getting six and a half per cent on each animal.
The buyer receives a certificate that the animal is free from contagious disease, and passed by a qualified veterinary officer.
In return he signs a declaration that he is able to properly feed and maintain the animals bought.
The Government reserves the right of inspecting an animal and reclaiming it if the conditions are not fulfilled.
No one of enemy origin is allowed to buy, nor may an Australian soldier attempt to purchase an old favourite.
Prices have been running high, the average for horses reaching £41, and for mules £37.
In Belgium there is not so great a shortage of horses as in France, but better prices are paid. The mule is a little known animal in Belgium.
Recent investigations conducted by the military authorities into the medical history of members of the AIF who have returned to Australia for discharge show that sickness accounted for more casualties among the troops than actual wounds received in battle.
Up to the end of last year 72,750 soldiers had returned to the Commonwealth from overseas service, and of these 30,675 were eventually discharged as a result of wounds or injuries, and 32,722 as a result of sickness.
The number of soldiers who have returned blinded from the war is fortunately surprisingly small considering all the risks of the battlefield. Out of over 30,000 wounded, about two officers and 29 men had the terrible misfortune to lose their eyesight.
On the other hand a comparatively large number of soldiers have returned from abroad with the sight of one eye destroyed.
Official records show that 18 officers and 920 men have suffered in this way.
No fewer than 31 officers and 1171 men of those who returned up to the end of last year had lost legs, and 16 officers and 584 men returned minus an arm.
While there were 20 cases of men who had lost both legs, there was not one case of a soldier who had lost both arms.
Diseases of the chest accounted for over 5500 cases of sickness, including 684 cases of asthma, 2071 bronchitis and 1531 tuberculosis.
Teeth defects led to the discharge of one officer and 43 men.
The official correspondent with the Australian forces, telegraphs: Mr C.E.W. Bean, the Australian official war correspondent and historian, is expected to arrive in Australia shortly, to begin his history of the Australian Imperial Force in the war.
It is safe to say that there is no man, whether a war correspondent or a combatant, a general or a private soldier, who has seen so much of this war, or has so intimate a knowledge of its battles and battlefields as Mr Bean.
Wherever an Australian corps, or any part of it, was fighting, there was Mr Bean.
He gleaned the smallest and most intimate details of the fights of every Australian unit, and his knowledge of the work of the AIF is unequalled even among the highest officers in the service.
His coming work, as well as his past work, is of the utmost value to the whole Australian nation.
There are few men walking about at the present moment whose lives our nation could desire more thoroughly to safeguard and assure.
Every officer and man of the AIF knows him for a walking encyclopaedia on the deeds of the Australian army.
Sergeant James Barnett, of the 35th Battalion, returned to Weston on Friday evening from active service, and was welcomed at the residence of Mr and Mrs Harper, with whom he resided prior to enlistment.
There was a good muster of friends, including Privates R. Oliver and G. Jenkins, who were with him in the battle of Passchendaele, where he was taken prisoner by the Germans. Sergeant Barnett, who was wounded in 17 places, was lying for two days before he was picked up by the enemy.
He did not appreciate his treatment by the Germans during an imprisonment of 10 months.
Private John Arthur Pead, of the 13th Battalion, who had been on active service for three years, was welcomed on Monday at the Newcastle station by the Mayor of Wickham, Alderman T. Armstrong, members of the welcome home committee, and many friends.
At his home in Maitland Road there was a large gathering to greet him. Mr W. Dennett presided at the supper tables.
The Mayor, in proposing the health of Private Pead, said he enlisted in August, 1915.
He saw much fighting in France, and was wounded in the battle of the Somme.
He recovered, and returned to the front. He was wounded again at Amiens, on August 8.
He was sent to England for treatment, and invalided home.
One of his brothers, Roy Pead, was wounded and sent home in January, 1918. Another, Arthur, is still on active service.
The chairman then, on behalf of the mother and sisters, presented to Private Pead a gold watch and chain, as it was his birthday.
A welcome home was accorded to Private David Horn on Thursday evening. Mr T. W. Kennaway was the chairman, and tendered to the guest of the evening the thanks of the people for services rendered and duty well done.
Mr E. Humble, on behalf of the repatriation committee, and Miss J. B. Craig, for the Girls' League, also welcomed the returned soldier.
Mrs G. Blatchford, president of the local Red Cross, presented Private Horn with the people's gold medal, with the usual inscriptlon.
Private Horn expressed his thanks for the cordial welcome and for their remembrance of local soldiers while at the front.
The Red Cross and Comforts Fund parcels were literally "god-sends" to the men in the trenches.
Mrs Lathlean, of Carrington Parade, has received from her son, Captain Lathlean, MC, the following letter, which was written under date September 21, 1918 by General Birdwood:
"Dear Lathlean, I write to congratulate you very heartily, on the award of the Military Cross in recognition of your conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during our operations near Hamel on the 8th August.
"You displayed great initiative and skill in reorganising and directing parties of your company which had become mixed in the dense fog, and, later, rendered further valuable service in supervising the consolidation of the final objective. Despite the heavy fighting in which you were engaged, and the difficulty of the ground, owing to the fog, you kept right up with the barrage.
"I know, too, that you personally rushed an enemy machine-gun post, in which you killed four and captured the remainder of the crew. By your untiring energy and skill you set a splendid example to your men, for which I thank you.
Since receiving the Military Cross, Captain Lathlean has been awarded a gold bar for further acts of bravery.
Private EH Cameron, who left with the 34th Battalion nearly three years ago, returned home on Monday evening.
He was met at the railway station by a number of his relatives and friends. The members of the Red Cross Society and the Weston Town Band were also in attendance.
At the entrance to the station the members of the Red Cross Society formed a guard of honour, and the band played Home, Sweet Home.
A procession was then formed, and headed by the band marched to Mrs W. Curtis' residence, in Station Street, where he received a hearty reception.
The catering for the welcome was carried out by the Red Cross Society.
Addresses of welcome were delivered by Messrs. J. Littlefair, A. Bushell, W. Butler, and M. Goodshaw.
Private Cameron was wounded in the right leg below the knee on May 8th in the big offensive, and was also taken a prisoner of war.
He spent seven and a half months in Germany, and was repatriated the day after the signing of the armistice, and arrived in England on November 23, last year, where, he states, he received the kindest attention.
When questioned relating his experiences in Germany, he replied, "I wouldn't care about telling you. It was pretty rough, and I was that thin that it took me all my time to cast a shadow."
He also stated that the treatment the prisoners received in his camp was very cruel.
On the beautiful rise in the village of Woodberry stands an obelisk of blue freestone faced with a marble tablet, inscribed with "For God, King, and Country".
A larger tablet contains the names of 15 local soldiers who had fought in the great war.
This handsome and enduring monument was unveiled on Friday afternoon by Colonel Nicholson, MP, in the presence of a large gathering of residents and visitors.
Mr D. Walker, who presided, said that the monument was a fine tribute to the memory of the local soldiers, five of whom had made the supreme sacrifice.
Colonel Nicholson, in unveiling the obelisk, which was covered by the honour flag presented to Tarro Shire for exceeding its War Loan quota, congratulated so small a community on its loyal and generous war efforts. He regretted that five out of the 15 local volunteers had fallen. Such heavy losses proclaimed the seriousness of the task they had volunteered to do.
The Colonel spoke in eloquent terms of the deeds of the Australians at Gallipoli, and later at Amiens, where they had said, in effect, to the on-rushing hordes of Huns, flushed with success, "Thus far and no farther."
Thousands of our best and bravest that day fell, but they stopped the Hun, and Amiens was saved.
In conclusion, the speaker said he was a King's man and a soldier's man, and his voice and influence would be ever at the service of their soldiers and dependents.
Amid cheers Colonel Nicholson unveiled the tablets.