King's Business - 1968-11


I b e l o n g e d to the 8th Battalion of the Australian Im p e r ia l Forces of World War I. I joined my battalion on Gallipoli not very long before the evacuation, when all the forces occupying that fate­ ful peninsula, the Dardanelles, were secretly withdrawn without a casualty. For several months after this we were encamped on the Greek island of Lemnos. Then we were sent to the Suez Canal to guard it from possible Turkish attacks. However, this failed to eventuate, and as a result we were soon transshipped to the Western Front. Our cheers were loud and long when our General announced this plan to the assembled thou­ sands o f “Aussies.” We had had more than enough o f desert sands and intense heat. For a time after our arrival in Europe, we were attached to Eng­ lish divisions, but later we oper- ated as a total Australian Army Corps. We were subjected there to various Fronts, and progres­ sively to “hotter” spots in succes­ sion. Soon we were veterans, along with later reinforcements, o f regular trench-life as it was on that very long European battle front. The great Battle of the Somme meant the uprooting of the enemy’s trench system which he had built up and held almost since the beginning of the war. Our enemy was entrenched in deep underground rooms, s tr o n g ly built and fortified, large enough to shelter a great number of men!; What a mammoth task it was for the Allies to attack these strong­ holds, and get the enemy on the run! History tells the story of the ghastly sacrifice necessary to bring this about. As is always the case, it was the offensive who carry the main burden of the con­ flict. Transportation in those days meant a daily march, carrying full packs for a great distance, to toughen us up physically for the coming ordeal. The Somme cam-






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