Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Tommy the Pilot

This card poses yet another mystery - thanks, Grandma. RAF Waddington has not been able to cast much light on who Tommy might have been. Was he a relative from Devon? There are no obvious candidates that I have been able to track down. Was he a friend from Pinner?

There is, however, a photograph of a handsome young flyer with his Avro 504 that probably accompanied this card.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Abbeville Postcard January 1919

This could have been removed from the almost intact book of Abbeville postcards still in our possession. The note on the back says:


My Dear Madge

Just a P C to let you know things are still OK here.

Still at Abbeville, having a fair time, but very cold & plenty snow about.

Cheero dear, & may God bless you alway.

Fond love & a bundle of kisses
From Yours

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Christmas Parcels 1918

As noted, Jack received these tucked into parcels on 23 December 1918.

I wonder what happened to Mrs W H Higman of McLaren Street, North Sydney and (Miss) Juanita Tindale of James Street, Guildford, WA? Did Jack ever write and thank them for their good wishes and to tell them that he did indeed return home safely? Did he tell Mrs Higman that her outsized socks were a great comfort to him (he was a big man)?

I would like to think that he did.

Monday, August 21, 2006


43rd Battalion Greetings

The 43rd Battalion First AIF did a nice line in greetings card. This one, undated, from Jack to Madge.


Bob Chatham

I don't have a clue who Bob Chatham of the 4th Reserve Battalion of the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry might be, nor why he would be sending my grandmother-to-be a season's greeting in 1917. But Grandma kept the card safe anyway, to puzzle us all.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


Christmas on HMAS Melbourne

This probably belonged to Bill English, connected to my grandmother by virtue of the fact that Margaret English, his aunt, was the wife of grandma's Uncle Ted. I can remember visiting Bill when I was a youngster.

Anyway, it sounds like a grand Christmas Dinner. And it occurred while the Melbourne was on duty between the West Indies and New York. The Melbourne's history can be found here.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


Back to the Trenches

You are on your "Blighty" (leave in England) and somehow the Army gets one of these to you, telling you the date and time you are due at the station for the trip back to the trenches. The sort of trip described by Jack in the opening entry in his diary.


Every Good Soldier Carried One of These

This creased piece of paper has survived 90 years, including some 3 years inside Jack's pay book. The wording might sound a bit 'old fashioned' to us now, but the content has a lesson for us all, even today I think. You might be going into the greatest sh*tfight thus far known to mankind, but that is no reason to throw off common decency and respect for others. Grandad Jack was, from my memories, an exemplar of the behaviour cited above; I never heard him disrespect anyone, as would be expected maybe from the son of a Wesleyan lay preacher.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


What is this about?

My grandfather, Jack, and my grandmother, Madge, were great 'keepers' of the little things that are often lost from family history. As they met during the Great War of 1914-1918, I have an accumulation of bits-and-pieces pertaining to that era and it is these that I will be presenting in here.

These fragments were kept in two wooden boxes (a Saxon nail box and a Darling Downs Co-operative bacon box) in the shed of the house where my father now lives, and only came to light when Dad was searching for a particular piece of sheet music. So he passed them on to me for sorting and preservation. I figure that showing them to 'the world' is one method of preservation that should not be ignored.

Besides the 1914-1918 stuff, the boxes contained; photographs taken when Jack and Madge were getting to know each other, newspaper clippings about my grandmother's family and friends back in the UK, cards sent to my father and uncles by their grandparents during childhood, postcards from family holidays in the UK, and photographs of family and friends (not always clearly identified).

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