Newcastle Morning Herald transcriptions for April 21-27, 1919.
The Defence Department has compiled a return showing the nature of the injuries received by the 72,750 discharged members of the AIF. Those discharged for wounds or injuries sustained on active service numbered 30,675. Of the remainder, 32,772 were discharged owing to sickness, and 9304 for miscellaneous reasons. Two officers and 39 men lost the sight of both eyes, while 20 soldiers returned with both legs amputated.
ANZAC DAY IN LONDON
In the Anzac Day procession in London the mounted men were a splendid body, representing the heroes who captured Gaza, Jericho, and Damascus. The Australian Artillery was represented by an 18-pounder battery, followed by General Glasgow and Brigadier-General Heane leading the first division, whose battle honours included Gallipoli, Pozieres, and Bullecourt. General Rosenthal, Brigadier-Generals Wisdom and Robertson led the second division, who fought at Broodseinde, Mont St. Quentin, Mont Brehaim, and Cellibrants. Brigadier-Generals McNicoll and Jess rode ahead of the third division, which was formed on Salisbury Plain on July 16, 1916. They fought at Messines, Passchendaele, and the Hindenburg line. General Maclagan and Brigadier-General Leane led the fourth division, of which the fourth brigade partook in the Anzac landing and the battle of Sari Bair.
Functions in connection with the celebration of Anzac Day in Newcastle on Friday were restricted by the epidemic regulations. At 11 o'clock in the forenoon there was a gathering of soldiers and civilians in front of the soldiers' monument facing Newcastle Post Office. About 80 returned soldiers, about 50 of whom were in uniform, paraded in charge of Lieutenant Baxter and Sergeant-major J. Taylor, the fall-in being sounded by Bugler Smith. The gathering was presided over by Alderman R. Gibson, Mayor of Newcastle, and associated with him were Lieutenant Littler, MC, and Mr W. Owen, vice-presidents, and Mr P. Vercoe, secretary of the Newcastle sub-branch of the Returned Sailors and Soldiers' League, the Rev. S. Varcoe Cock, and Brigadier Bickerton, of the Salvation Army. There was a moderate gathering of civilians.
The Mayor in his address said that the heroic deeds of the Anzacs at Gallipoli constituted one of the greatest and yet one of the saddest pages in the history of Australia. "It is well," said the Mayor, "that once a year a day should be set apart to commemorate the deeds of Anzacs and to keep alive the memory of the valour of our brave boys, and especially of those who sacrificed their lives at the call of duty. In doing so, we are reminded of the patience, the sacrifice, and the forebearance displayed by the parents and the nearest and dearest friends of the absent boys who were fighting in their defence, and also of the wonderful work done by the patriotic bodies to assist in keeping the flag flying." The speaker said that he considered it the bounden duty of every large employer of labour, municipal councils, and the Government to render every assistance possible to the returned soldiers, so that they could feel that all that a grateful country could do had been done for them.
The official Australian correspondent in France telegraphs: The Australian Government has decided to erect a memorial to each division on the sites in France and Belgium most closely associated with various divisions. In a recent cable message I gave a story of the Second Division memorial to be placed on Mount St. Quentin. That still holds good as a memorial of the Second Division, but the other memorials will be all of one design. The obelisk will be of blue granite of a texture and colour similar to the Malmesbury stone used in Melbourne and other Victorian towns. It is thought that a plain obelisk will stand for all time requiring no attention. The height of each obelisk will be 35 feet, and the base eight feet square, on a platform 30 feet square with three steps on each side. There will be a bronze sunrise on one face of the obelisk, and below a tablet in commemoration of the battle or action most representative of the work of the division. These are not yet chosen. The selection of the sites is left to General Hobbs, commanding the corps, who has decided on the following:
First Division at Pozieres, beside the Gibraltar Dugout, known to everyone who fought on the Somme in July and August, 1916. Third Division at the Junction of the Bray-Corbie Bridge, made famous by the division in August, 1918. Fourth Division, in the Hindenburg line, near Levergnier, east of Bellenglise. Fifth Division, the Butte at Polygon Wood, well known to everyone who fought in that area.
All the sites have a commanding view.
Besides these memorials, it has also been decided to erect an Australian national memorial on Hill 104, at Villers-Bretonneux, the site typifying the great Australian stand against the German offensive last year.
There is a possibility that there will be another national monument in Belgium, at the cross roads, on Broodseinde Ridge, on the road leading from Zonnebeke. It is hoped, with the First Division site to include two acres of ground round the memorial, for many graves lie close to the spot chosen.
Each division is responsible for the foundations, and the engineers are already at work.
General Hobbs hopes that these memorials will be completed in four months.
It is stated that 2440 Australian officers, 55,348 men, 1901 wives, 414 nurses, and 3452 munitioners, have been repatriated in sixty five transports and five passenger ships. The total number of Australians in Europe is now 85,000, of which 27,000 are in France. The returning men are sailing for Australia at the rate of 500 daily.
The Defence Department has decided to add a star to Mothers' medals held by mothers who have lost sons at the war, but the work of manufacturing the stars has not yet been entered upon. Captain Spain's department at the Hyde Park depot is receiving applications, and is making proper inquiries well in advance. They have received over 250,000 applications for Mothers' medals, but until quite recently the business of distribution was slow. Thanks to the business capacity of Warrant Officer Kerry and Sergeant Ferguson, of the Hyde Park depot, the medals are now being rapidly distributed through the registered post.
The Federal Cabinet has decided that the peace celebrations be confined to two days - Sunday as a day of thanksgiving, and Monday as a public holiday. This means eliminating the children's day, but the State Governments will be asked to arrange something for the children in Monday's events. The peace medals will be distributed to the children when ready. It was decided that the celebrations would commence as soon as possible after the declaration of peace. Mr Watt, the Acting Prime Minister, said the only outstanding feature was how far would the influenza restrictions prevent large gatherings of people at the celebrations.
In a cable message to the Defence Department the commandant at A.I.F. headquarters, London, requests that the public should refrain from posting newspapers to individual members of the A.I.F. The message stated that 60 per cent of the letters had to be redirected, and the position was becoming acute. So many troops were either leaving their units either for the purpose of receiving educational instruction or, in order to embark for Australia, that it was quite impracticable to undertake the redirection of newspapers.
The troops from Bagdad and Mesopotamia, who reached Sydney in the steamer Janus on Tuesday, were landed Monday. The contingent consisted of 130 members of the Australian Wireless Signal Squadron, and most of them had seen a good deal of active service. The troops were welcomed by Brigadier-General Lee, the State Commandant, and Mr. D. Storey, Honorary Minister, on behalf of the State Government. There was a large crowd at the Anzac Buffet to meet the men.
Lieutenant H. T. Lewis, who enlisted from Carrington in 1916, arrived in Sydney by the transport Anchises last week. After three days' detention, he arrived in Newcastle on Saturday night. Lieutenant Lewis, who then held the rank of sergeant, left with reinforcements for the 35th Battalion. He received his commission on October 17th, 1917, after the battle of Ypres. He was wounded and taken prisoner at the battle of Villers Bretonneux and taken to the officer prisoners' camp at Pforzheim, Baden, in the south-west of Germany, where he remained till after the signing of the armistice. Lieutenant Lewis states that the prisoners were fairly well treated during the time, and received parcels regularly from the Red Cross. The residents in the district in which they were imprisoned were very short of foodstuffs, and constantly complained of the hardships they had to undergo through the British blockade. At the time of their leaving, they had a quantity of food on hand, which they handed over to the Mayor of the town for distribution amongst the children. Upon reaching neutral territory, they received the very best of attention from the branches of both the British and Australian Red Cross Societies at every place of call. After the battle of Ypres his wife received information from the authorities that he had been killed in action, a further intimation being received at a later date that he had been taken prisoner. Lieutenant Lewis, at the time of his enlistment, was employed on the McMyler hoist, and lived in Gipp Street, Carrington, but his wife and family removed during his absence to Newtown, Hamilton, where they now reside.
Nurse Allardice, eldest daughter of Mr K. L. Allardice, of the Railway Department, was met at Newcastle station last night by the Mayor of Hamilton. Subsequently at her father's residence, Myra Street, Hamilton, Nurse Allardice was extended a hearty welcome by the Mayor and numerous personal friends. Nurse Allardice has been two years with the Army Medical Corps in Salonica and Egypt.
Private J. Dagwell, of the Aviation Corps, second son of Mr C. Dagwell, of Bennett Street, Hamilton, returned on Monday night after two years and a half active service. Alderman Wilson, the Mayor, met the returned soldier at Newcastle station, and conveyed him to his father's residence, where he was given an official welcome home by the Mayor. At the conclusion of the function, Mr. C. Dagwell moved a vote of thanks to the Hamilton Welcome Home Committee, and specially mentioned the service of Mr J. a'Beckett.
Mr M. Scobie, of Oakhampton, has been advised that his son, Sapper W. W. Scobie, is returning by the transport Port Macquarie, due in Melbourne on May 9. He has been on active service for over three years. His brother, Sapper T. B. Scobie, is in Belgium.
Mrs E. Platt, of Pittown, Wallsend, has been advised that Sapper Walter Sneddon, of the 1st Tunnelling Company, is returning to Australia by the transport Cluny Castle, which is due in Melbourne on May 4.
A sad home-coming was that of Driver H. J. Deveraux, who went away with 'Newcastle's Own' Battalion, and returned Friday night. His mother died Friday morning, and his father, Mr Henry Deveraux, died shortly after his son left on active service. The family are well known in Wickham. Driver Deveraux was met at Newcastle station by the Mayor, Alderman Cameron, and the town clerk, Mr W. Brown, who extended him a welcome, and expressed their sorrow at the circumstances under which he was returning after his service to his country. He was escorted home by the town clerk, and his sister and brother-in-law, Mr and Mrs R. Arthur.