Jack's Diary

The diary of Sergeant Samuel John "Jack" Drew M.M., August 1918 to January 1919.

My Photo
Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Over 60, with a son 32 and a daughter 22. Retired on 26 October, 2007, after 37 years with the company. No matter, I've led an interesting life with much travel in Southeast Asia, the Pacific Region, and a little bit of Africa.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Battalion Diaries at the AWM

I have discovered the Battalion War Diaries at the Australian War Memorial website.

43rd Battalion
42nd Battalion
41st Battalion
8th Field Artillery Brigade

I have already discovered that I can match the War Diaries with Jack's Diary, and to photographs taken by Jack in late 1918 and early 1919. Maybe next year, I'll add in the relevant War Diary entries on the anniversary of the day they were made.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Gunner Ridgway & Baron von Richthofen

I've been looking into the matter of Gunner George Ridgway (not Ridgeway, as per the MM citation). He was from Lang Lang in Victoria, and was witness to the shooting down and death of The Red Baron. In fact, it is stated that he was the first person to reach the crashed red triplane, having watched the events from the top of a brick stack. He was adamant that it was Australian machine gunners who shot down the Baron, not the pilot who claimed the kill. It is only in recent years that Ridgway's account of events has been accepted and supported by a re-examination of the medical/forensic evidence. Ridgway also managed to scrounge, and keep, the 'number plate' of the red Fokker Triplane.

This explains why Jack was always totally convinced that The Red Baron was shot down by Australians. He, of course, knew George Ridgway very well and was certainly in the vicinity at the time.

A discussion of all this can be found at http://net.lib.byu.edu/estu/wwi/comment/richt.htm

This happened on 21 April 1918. Jack and George won their MMs together on 24 April 1918.

Note 20 March 2010: I have discovered that George Ridgway was also a witness to the death of Gunner C V Moody, of the 30th Battery 8th FAB on 18th October 1917. A pass made out in the name of Gunner Moody was amongst Jack's collection of "stuff".

Monday, October 06, 2008

Jack in 1917

This photo was found amongst Uncle Ollie's collection. We originally thought it might have dated from the time of his enlistment, but the single stripe points to some time in 1917. The crossed flags on the other sleeve denote Signals.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Loading Wagons, 1 April 1919

Wagon Park, Oisement.

Loading Water Carts, 1/4/19
3 February 2008. Found the annotated print for this one: Just pushing a water cart up on the trucks. They had to push them up this incline and along about 50 yards of trucks.

Trucks Loaded, 1/4/19

Photos of Cerisy

At the end of March, 1919, Jack took a number of photographs around the village of Cerisy, in Picardy, where he was billetted. He seemed to be fascinated by the village crosses, of which you can see an example above.
3 February 2008: I found some more of Jack's prints of these images, and on the back of this one he says: One of the many crucifixes in the village. Every time a person dies in the village, they put a wooden cross in the iron enclosure at the foot. More snaps to follow soon.

Cerisy, 31/3/19
According to Jack's notes, a wooden cross is placed at the base of the cross every time a villager dies.

Cerisy, 2/4/19

One of the streets in the village.

Main Street, Cerisy

3 February 2008: Found the annotated print for this one, too: Main street at Cerisy. Some street, isn't it? No wonder we go dull eh.

I wonder what Cerisy-Buleux looks like today?

Friday, January 05, 2007

Page 34 - January 5th

Sunday 5th Jan.

And that's it! Jack seems to have given up on his diary at this point. I do know that the 43rd moved to a village named Cerisy, where they stayed until early April 1919. They then shifted to the big camps at Codford, Wiltshire, and in June Jack left for Australia on the TSS Wiltshire, arriving back home in July.

Page 34 - January 4th

Saturday 4th Jan dawned fairly good. Up too late to play Reveille. Practice all morning. In the afternoon the football team went over to 44th & gave them a beating. Very good day.

Thursday 4th Jan spent mostly installing a new washbasin. 50 year-old plumbing can be a nuisance!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Page 33 - January 3rd

Friday 3rd dawned cold but a little cloudy. Reveille played at 7:30. Practice from 9:30 to 12, & at 2 o'clock there was a 2 mile run, but needless to say I did not start (too old). Rather a decent day.

Wednesday 3rd started off with very heavy rain at dawn. Very heavy clouds around, and showers continuing. Very nice indeed.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Page 33 - January 2nd

Thursday 2nd dawned cold & clear, so we turned out & played Reveille. Practice all morning & a free afternoon. Rather a nice day with a shower or two.

Tuesday Jan 2nd started with a nice shower in the wee small hours. Whether there is more around remains to be seen.