Received an email from Colin this week regarding George Leslie Hayward. PTE Hayward was one of the original members of the No 1 Australian Stationary Hospital serving in Egypt, Lemnos, hospital ships and Gallipoli. Unfortunately he was killed at Gallipoli after a shell hit the tent he was in. His possessions were returned to his family which included a diary that he kept. Even though he was not a detailed writer (most entries were one-liners), the diary provides information that is invaluable to this project. He also includes details in the diary such as pay, money lent by colleagues, some medicine prescriptions and addresses of people that he met and knew. One entry is special; the address of Albert Jacka VC that is obviously written in the diary by Jacka himself. Jacka passed through the hospital on Lemnos in August 1915 and members of the hospital even had a chance to take a photo with the new VC Recipient. Thanks Colin for making contact and very grateful for the information.
I have been missing in action for a little while with work and family commitments but have had a few interesting emails come through the door in the past 6 months. Another reason for the absence was due to waiting on a response regarding an application I submitted in February for an Australian Army History Unit grant which provides funding for Military Research projects. After waiting 5 months to hear, I was unsuccessful. The great thing about receiving the letter is the detailed feedback you receive on why you were not successful encouraging me to re-apply again in Feb 15. This means that the book will not be published for a little while however this was going to be the case anyway as I am still seeking further information to put in the book. I am still looking for Diaries, photographs, stories, medals or any other bits of information on the members of the No 1 Australian Stationary Unit.
Had a very successful trip to Adelaide during the Australia Day long weekend. With only two days, I had a very tight schedule but managed to fit a lot in. I was able to visit the State Library of South Australia which houses a number of collections I looked through. Some of these collections contained information about No 1 ASH and others did not. However through some of the documents, I was able to identify a few more members and take some notes that will allow me to do further research when I come to Adelaide in the near future. I also did a quick visit to Keswick Barracks to see where the hospital was raised in 1914.
During the weekend I was also able to catch up with 5 different relatives of soldiers that served with the hospital. Some of the information and photos they have were incredible and I wish I had more time to share some of the stories they told. I was fortunate enough to spend an afternoon with a grandson of a doctor at the cricket and we talked for hours about the hospital and prominent medical me of South Australia during that time.
The drive to Melbourne at the end of the trip was also surprisingly successful. I stopped in a small country town to have a break and wandered over to a small antique store. Inside a found an old dusty book on a shelf that contained over a 100 stories written by men that went to Gallipoli. In the book were three stories written by members of the No 1 Australian Stationary Hospital.
Overall a great weekend and a very successful trip.
This weekend I finished my first chapter of the book. As usual I didn’t start at the beginning but rather went with a chapter on Ismailia 1915. After the No 1 Australian Stationary Hospital arrived in Egypt in Jan 1915, half of the hospital was sent to Ismailia. Here was the scene of bitter fighting by the Turks who tried to cross the Suez Canal in early February. Suffice to say that casualties from these actions were brought into the hospital including a New Zealand soldier and a dozen sailors from a British ship that was hit by Turkish Artillery. There was even a delivery of a baby in there as well. Found some great material written by Charles Bean for a New Zealand newspaper…..of all the places.
Also involved in some great correspondence with the relatives of JS Verco and C Knuckey. Very interesting information being shared which is very much appreciated.
That’s it for now. This month hoping to work on some biographies for the Annex as well as start the chapter on the voyage of the unit from Australia to Egypt. Have a nice Christmas and that for reading.
Next year Australia will start to commemorate 100 years of Anzac. Centennial celebrations will occur both domestically and internationally from 2014 through to 2018. The pinnacle will no doubt be the 100th Anniversary of the landings at Gallipoli in April 2015. I think this period will be a wonderful time to produce the book. If it was to align with the 100th Anniversary of the landings at Gallipoli then this only leaves me 18 months to finish researching and write the book. Balancing family, work, social commitments etc will make it difficult to achieve however my two previous books were written in the same sort of time frame. So commencing November 2013, I have decide to pick up the pace and start dedicating a bit more time to my research.
I implore all readers who may have a relative of the 1st Australian Stationary Hospital who hasn’t contacted me already to please do so. I really would like to have a photo of every member of the hospital if possible including their own personal stories and experiences. I will be reaching out as well to the community of Adelaide to try and contact relatives that may still be living where the unit was raised some 99 years ago. Lastly you should start to see more blog posts which have been few and far between to date.
I received this week an email from the son of PTE Garnet Dewar. He shared some wonderful photos of his father that were taken in Jan 1916 in Egypt; a dashing young man. He enlisted in 1914 and was part of the original manning of the 1st Australian Stationary Hospital. Garnet’s son told me a wonderful and interesting story of how his father remembers mixing mustard on the beach in Gallipoli when a turkish shell landed nearby on a tent unfortunately killing all nine occupants. For the remainder of his life he would always recall this story and tell it to family and friends whenever he used mustard on his food.
PTE Dewar was a radiographer and had signifcant experience using x-rays. This would have come in very handy at the 1st Australian Stationary Hospital both on Lemnos and on Gallipoli. Thanks goes to PTE Dewar’s son for sharing some of his father’s experiences with me.
When writing books in the past, I have found it is just as interesting to share the stories making the book as it is to actually finish the book. As this is my third book I thought it would be different to blog the journey of making the book from the start through until it is published in the near future. These stories maybe interesting articles or photos that I have found or it may be a blog about some of the correspondence I have received from relatives.
Most importantly this blog will provide the readers with updates on the progression of the book on the 1st Australian Stationary Hospital. I wish to produce a high quality publication on the 1st Australian Stationary Hospital covering off the stories and experiences of the Doctors, Nurses and soldiers of this hospital during WWI.
If you have any information, photos or articles on any of the members of the 1st Australian Stationary Hospital then please get into contact.
Thank you and enjoy the blog!!