Saturday, 8 November 2014

Lest We Forget (2/4)

Unlike now, there was a slender thread of communication between each theatre of war and the home front. Nowadays, soldiers ring their mother from the chopper airlifting them to MedVac.
Gallipoli and The Somme were unheard of prior to 1915. Those who waited at home received nothing for months on end. Basic materials for the task were not easy to come by.

In June and July 1915 there was a paper shortage on Gallipoli, so the soldiers became quite inventive in their attempts to keep in contact with their families and friends. Sapper John Howes of the 3rd Light Horse Signal Troop was so keen to write home that he cut off a piece of his uniform sending it like a postcard.
Each year, in early spring, I spend an afternoon in the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. It is a sombre afternoon, with much shaking of head, wrinkling of brow, and heart-felt gratitude.
This post is dedicated to:
William George Cole Riddle (born 1883)
Royal Welsh Fusiliers
Enlisted 1916
Killed in Action 8th October, 1918
Buried Bois-des-Angles British Cemetery, Calais, France
My second cousin, twice removed
The grand-nephew of my Great-great-grand-father, Stephen Cole
Note: These are my shots of the original image in the Australian War Memorial. The badge of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers I sourced here.


Birdman said...

Here's what he's writing:
cottage cheese
ice cream
cat food

William Kendall said...

There is a letter here in our war museum from a child to a father that really catches my attention as well. The family donated the letter and a small teddy bear to the museum- the father had died in action on the western front during that war.

Julie said...

Hah, BM. That is very much a list as written by someone from the USA. But, you are right. The thing he would have craved, as much as loved ones, were the foodstuffs he enjoyed. He must quickly have tired of bully-beef, and weevil-infested dry biscuits.

Joan Elizabeth said...

Today people can't comprehend that we got by with a weekly letter to/from my parents and an annual one week visit home each year ... no phone calls they were way to expensive.

It's hard for me to comprehend a much longer wait between letters and the worry of whether loved ones were still alive. I delved into the WW1 archives that are now online with the war memorial regarding some of my great uncles (5 from the same family went to war). There was a series of letters from family looking for information on one of them from whom they had heard no news for a long time.

Stuart said...

I have Riddles in my ancestory as well. I guess we're all related if you go back far enough. A very moving post.