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Part 2 covering the life of one of Australia's greatest soldiers. Harry Murray recalls the Battle of Bullecourt in great detail "Now, there were many furious arguments in billets and dugouts as to who — Jacka or Murray — was the Aussie with the greater number of decorations. “Murray killed yet?” Was always the first query shot at a 13th man wheneve…
 
He was the most highly decorated Australian soldier of WW1. Brave dashing and highly resourceful, Harry Murray rose from the ranks to command a machine gun battalion. This is the first of a 2 part series on the man who shunned the limelight after the war, always maintaining that he did not deserve the attention he received. Listen and decide for yo…
 
In 1916 the Imperial Camel fought the Ottoman backed revolt by the Senussi in the Western Desert of Egypt. Oliver talks about training, patrols, deaths and near deaths from lack of water, including the ultimately pointless act of self-sacrifice by a British Pilot in the desert. We meet their 'hooshta' and hear how the Aussies hated these animals at…
 
The Turks bombarded our lines and hurled half-a-dozen shells into our trench, smashing down parapets, wrecking rifles and gear, splattering bullets and splinters everywhere, and yet miraculously missing everybody. Later on, a single stray bullet found its way through a loophole, ran along the barrel of a rifle, ricocheted off at an impossible angle…
 
In this one we meet a 'gentleman' nicknamed 'Tommy' a sergeant who after the war went back to being, ahem, a gentleman... stick around for the rather long bios to hear about that. We also have Brigadier Ryrie doing chicken impressions, Oliver in his dugout, mail call, and we reacquaint ourselves with old friends, Billy Sing and the 'Old Bird' Major…
 
Guest presenters, 12 year old Abbey, 11 year old Xavier and their teacher, Mr Rob Coughlan, from St Michael's School in Western Australia bring you the story of Jim Martin, believed to have been the youngest Aussie Digger to die at Gallipoli. He was just under 14 years and 10 months old when he died of disease on a hospital ship. It is very fitting…
 
In this one the 2nd Light Horse Brigade take their place in the front line trenches at Gallipoli and have their first cracks at 'Johnny Turk.' Here is a bit of it: "The day after the big attack General Birdwood asked one of the 1st Light Horse Regiment if he had killed many Turks, and he answered, "Yes, miles of the cows." As a matter of fact the A…
 
Do you fancy a cruise? Do you like travelling with pets? What was life like on a cruise liner with nearly 500 horses on board. Oliver and the Light Horse travel to Egypt on the SS Suevic. Don't worry, it's not as boring as it may sound. So wrap yourself up in some tarpaulin ... never mind, just come aboard!…
 
In September 1914, English author and poet, Laurence Binyon was so appalled by the casualty lists coming out of France that he penned the 7 stanza poem, "For the fallen". Little did he know that the middle, 4th stanza, would become the most remembered and solemnly cited verses in at least 4 countries. From 1921 this stanza became known as "The ode"…
 
Trooper Bluegum became a household name in Australia during The Great War, a journalist for the Sydney Morning Herald he wrote numerous articles widely published in the press, turning these into 2 books after his semi-fictional "Love Letters of an Anzac". These letters were fake but his real love interest would become a Broadway Star and Oscar nomi…
 
Billy Sing was arguably the greatest sniper ever produced by Australia but as a Chinese Australian he was nearly denied enlistment and after the war almost forgotten. Billy died almost a pauper and alone at the age of 57. Here is his story. The Ballad of Billy Sing is presented with the permission of Mr Jeff Brown.…
 
The 7th and final part to the WW1 memoirs of Verdi Schwinghammer, who fought in the battles of Broodseinde and St Quentin Canal. There is no fighting in this one with Verdi sight seeing in Paris, Brussels, England and Ireland with some great observations of the immediate post era. Verdi returns home to his folks and we follow a little of his post w…
 
In this one, Verdi and 3rd Division take us through the Battle of St Quentin Canal with the Americans of the 27th & 30th Divisions, through Armistice and on to the early post war period. Of particular interest is the episode where Verdi treks through the old battlefields to find his cousin's grave and on his Aunt's request....…
 
When some of our men went to bury the dead after the Battle of Mont St Quentin, when they were lifting up some of the dead bodies, bombs would explode and many of our men were killed this way. He laid these traps for us – placing a bomb under a dead soldier and when the body was lifted the catch from bomb would be released and the bomb exploded. Th…
 
The Australian 3rd Division Memorial sits above the town of Sailly-le-Sec for a good reason.... "We eventually arrived at Heilly. Passed a few stragglers – Tommies – the remnants of Gough’s British Fifth Army, which had been overtaken by disaster. The citizens had evacuated Heilly before we arrived. Here we dumped our packs and belongings and got i…
 
We were each given a tin of fruit and a tin of preserved sausages for our Christmas dinner. My pal and I were hungry, so we both opened our tins and ate half the contents for breakfast, putting the remainder in the tin on a shelf in our dugout – covering them with a board with a stone on it. The rats were very bad in the trenches and dugouts. As we…
 
"Men do not go into battle sad and gloomy (as many civilian people wrongly imagine). They are quite the opposite, even though they know the dreadful things they have to face and that some of them are going to their death," Verdi Schwinghammer describes the Battle of Broodseinde, part of 3rd Ypres in this, the second part of his memoirs.…
 
An ANZAC Day Special .... well kind of! The first part of a 7 part series from the memoirs of Verdi Schwinghammer. Here is a taste of it, "That night a big air raid took place and we enjoyed watching our guns shooting at the German planes – which were caught and held in the searchlights – several close hits being secured. No bombs fell on us but on…
 
Simpson was the most famous 'Anzac' of all. On the second day of the Gallipoli Campaign, Jack found a small donkey, wrapped a red cross band around its forehead and started ferrying wounded men down to the beach. For three weeks he did this, slogging through the bullet and shrapnel wrapped gullies until finally... But who was John Simpson Kirkpatri…
 
This is a very short episode on the Glosters and their part at Fromelles. Short because? Well, unfortunately I can't find any written accounts of the battle by these boys. Famous war poet Ivor Gurney was in their sister battalion over to the right and one of his poems sounds just like Fromelles.Oleh Phil Mannell
 
100 years after winning the Victoria Cross in North Russia, the remains of Welsh born Aussie soldier, Samuel George Pearse are thought to have been rediscovered in a scrap yard at Archangel. At the time of his death, recently married Pearse, was already a war hero with a Military Medal won at Glencorse Wood 2 years earlier.…
 
Leon Gellert, a 23 year old Physical Education Teacher from Leabrook, South Australia is considered to be the best Great War poet from Australia. This episode focuses on his war experience and his poems. I watched the place where they had scaled the height, The height whereon they bled so bitterly Throughout each day and through each blistered nigh…
 
To the right of the Australian 5th Division at Fromelles was the 61st Division of the BEF. These were second line territorial troops that had never seen action before. They had slightly different problems to the Australians but both Divisions suffered from bad generalship and primary among these bad generals was Lieutenant General Sir Richard Hakin…
 
Pompey Elliott's Australian 15th Brigade attacked the unbreakable 'Sugarloaf' on 19 July 1916. This is the story of this disastrous attack. Teddy Roosevelt befriended one of the survivors. Hear T.R.'s words and hear his friends description of Fromelles. This is some of what he wrote: "I lay for half an hour with my arms around the neck of a boy wit…
 
13 year, 11 month old Leonard Jackson was able to fool the enlistment officers and go overseas to Egypt but his father Joe wasn't fooled. It was impossible to find the lad among all the thousands of recruits in khaki so Joe enlisted and followed the boy. Instead of bringing Len home, Joe joined him in the 55th Battalion and both fought at Fromelles…
 
'The sergeant comes up shouting, "Hey! Haven't y' gone yet? Got cold feet?" "Cold feet yourself," Ted retorts. And then seeing Bert, who has been missing for some time, Ted produces a note-book and calls, "Here you are, Bert, write your next-of-kin's name and address." There is no farewell. They grasp their rifles, and Ted slings the phone over his…
 
"A young sergeant led a section that passed in artillery formation, and I shall never forget that godlike youth while life shall last. To think of him now is an inspiration, for he was Australia, young, handsome, earnest, and grim. His eyes were lit with the flame of duty, and he never flinched beneath the swish of shrapnel that Fritz had now direc…
 
Jim finishes his wartime recollections with descriptions of his time as a "guest" of the Ottoman Empire after his capture at Es Salt in May 1918. Jim describes the conditions in the prison camp, working on the Berlin Baghdad Railway, lice, poor food, bad clothing, other prisoners and the Turkish guards. He also recounts his repatriation, first to A…
 
In 1973 Keith Tidswell placed a microphone in front of his grandfather, cameleer, light horseman and field ambulanceman. Over an hour later Jim had recounted his training, the trip over, a little about Beersheba, Es Salt and... Well, that is as far as we get in this episode. It's a "ripper of a yarn" as Jim might have said but you'll have to wait f…
 
In late October 1914, English born missionary, Reverend Cox was assaulted and flogged with a cane by several Germans and a Belgian on the island of New Ireland. What followed was one of the few blemishes on the career of Major General William Holmes. The Germans went so far as to ask the US Ambassador to London enquire about the punishment without …
 
Although a minuscule battle by WW1 standards, about 37 men were killed in the Battle of Pita Paka, the fight to take the German colony of New Guinea in September 1914. Bill Lane was amongst the fighting: "Owing to the thickness of the bush, a few of us got separated from the mob. With shooting go on all around, we not knowing whether it was the ene…
 
Who were the first Australians to die in World War 1? They were British soldiers, "Old Contemptibles" actually, but what next? Gallipoli? No! Australia fought its first land battle at New Guinea....“If your Ministers desire and feel themselves able to seize German wireless stations at Yap in Marshall Islands, Nauru on Pleasant Island, and New Guine…
 
In the final 5oth episode of Percy Smythe's diary we interview his niece, WW2 WAAF veteran, Margaret Clarke and great niece and creator of the Smythe Family History website, Jacqui Kennedy. We also hear Percy's daughter Betty's account of his and Dorrie's later years, read by another great niece, Vivienne Smythe. The last minute will leave you numb…
 
At a concert on board the ship home a scene had a "map of Australia depicted by boxes placed together with lights in them. Behind was a tableau, a "digger" just arriving home, met by his mother and his grey-headed old father, the latter holding a little child in his arms. It was very touching, and brought a choking pain into one's throat and a dimn…
 
Percy contemplates the great peace celebrations at London in 1919, "It marked the end of the years of cruel warfare and dreary hardships. It meant a lot to me. Those gaudy cloths and things expressed the joyous relief and thankfulness of thousands and millions of my fellow beings that the war is over and Peace is signed. All the people were rejoici…
 
An English wedding... On again , off again. Finally after some deceitful behaviour from Dorrie's parents, the young couple have to go to Scotland to be married. A returned Chaplain from a Scottish Infantry Battalion handles the service and greatly helps the young lovers. This one covers the lead up to the wedding, the happy day and the honeymoon at…
 
The aftermath of war..... "I saw something in the window of a house which caught my attention. It appeared to be a cut-out poster or picture of a hideous face like the cartoons one sees of mad Bolsheviks, thick grizzled beard and a mop of grizzled hair, and a horrible expression on the face. As I walked past looking at it in wonder at the very hide…
 
This one is wide and varied. Percy writes something that I have read over an over again in these diaries. To him, Armistice Day was a relief rather than a cause for merriment, and that is not just because Percy isn't a party animal, it was common among the majority of the soldiers. I love Percy's description of Christmas and the farewell dinners ..…
 
I have no doubt that this is the best from Percy Smythe, absolutely full on account of one of the main defeats of the Germans in 1918. Don't believe me? Here is an extract; "A heavy, probably a 9.2 inch, had evidently landed fair in the trench. The carnage was awful. Dead, wounded, and dying, all lay huddled and twisted together in grotesque little…
 
Percy: "I ordered the men to get the Hun gun, but again nobody seemed willing to go forward. I decided to go over first to encourage them, and sprang up on to the earth block. As I did so, a man called out, "Don't go over! There's a bomb not gone off!" The words were immediately followed by an explosion three yards in front of me! It was one of our…
 
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