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Military: Major Blair Wark V.C.- 32nd Battalion AIF

Written by RSS Poster Out of battle


Major Blair Wark, 32nd Battalion, Victoria Cross action during fighting from Bellicourt to Joncourt, France.

Blair Wark had been a militia officer in New South Wales before enlisting as an officer with the 32nd Battalion, AIF, in mid-1915. A year later he fought in the battle of Fromelles, where he was highly commended for his work, despite being wounded. Next year at Polygon Wood he won the Distinguished Service Order.

Wark’s finest feat took place during the attack at Bellicourt, on the Hindenburg Line, in his battalion’s final action. During 29 September - 1 October 1918, he constantly showed outstanding leadership, often in advance of his troops. He was responsible for the capture of some field artillery, the silencing of machine-guns and the capture of many prisoners.
An outstanding citizen and soldier, Wark was active in business and public affairs in Sydney. He was commanding a militia battalion during the Second World War when he died suddenly aged 47.


Military: Corporal James Lihou, DCM and BAR, MM.

Written by RSS Poster Out of battle

Corporal James Lihou DCM and BAR MM of the 13th Battalion AIF.

Awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal on 7 July 1918; bar to the medal, 18 September 1918, Military Medal, April 1918. Killed in action at Le Verguier, France on 18 September 1918, aged 23.

Citations:
Distinguished Conduct Medal
'For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in charge of a Lewis gun section during an attack. Throughout the advance he fired from the hip with great effect, and when an enemy post threatened to hold up the line he engaged it so effectually that a bombing section was enabled to approach it from a flank without casualties and kill all the occupants. Shortly after, when one of his section became a casualty, he carried his gun as well as his own right up to the final objective. He set a splendid example of cheerfulness and cool confidence to his men.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 31
Date: 4 March 1919
Military Medal
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 1
Date: 2 January 1919

Bar to DCM
'For great gallantry and initiative during the attack on...

Continues, Read More...


Military: Sgt. William Dobson Scorer, 8th Battalion, AIF.

Written by RSS Poster Out of battle

William Dobson Scorer, 24th Battalion, of Essendon, Vic. A clerk prior to enlistment he embarked with the 6th Reinforcements from Melbourne on board HMAT Ulysses on 27 October 1915. He was taken on strength and transferred to the 8th Battalion on 24 February 1916. After a series of promotions he reached the rank of Sergeant (Sgt) on 27 July 1916. 

Sgt Dobson was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) 'For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in an attack on Broodseinde Ridge east of Ypres on 4 October 1917. According to the recommendation "he assisted in guiding the battalion to the assembly position. During the advance he maintained direction on the flank in a most efficient manner, and, when held up by machine gun fire, crept forward alone and put the gun out of action. Though wounded, he continued at his task until badly wounded at the final objective, setting a fine example of courage and initiative.'" 

Sgt Scorer was admitted to hospital on 9 October from the extensive wounds he substained; he later developed pneumonia and died on 24 October 1917, aged 24. He is buried at Etaples Military Cemetery, France.


Military: THE WINNING OF THE MARNE

Written by RSS Poster Out of battle
This excerpt is by Fredrick Coleman written in 1917 from the book, "Mons to Ypres with General French'

He describes his first hand account of warfare in September 1914.




THE WINNING OF THE MARNE

Clean straw strewn on the stone flags of a farmyard made a bed fit for the gods, and at four o'clock on the morning of Tuesday, the 8th, I was as fresh as a daisy and ready and eager for a further push to the north.

Feranbry was a woe-begone sight on that lovely September morning. The Germans had dirtied the town inconceivably, smashing and looting the little shops and the dwelling houses. Many dead horses were scattered about the town.

We were treated to a wonderful sunrise. As we started for La Ferté Gaucher the sky along the eastern horizon showed salmon pink and palest blue. The fields by the roadside were full of cavalry units and batteries of guns. Regiments advancing over the meadows in line of squadrons, an imposing array; batteries, belated, galloping into position with an inspiring rattle and bang over any and all obstructions; motor-cycles...

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Military: The Retreat From Mons

Written by RSS Poster Out of battle
 from 'T.P.'s Journal of Great Deeds of the Great War' October 17, 1914

'The Retreat from Mons'

by W. Douglas Newton

This is, I believe, the first attempt which has appeared in print to give a full, clear, and connected account of the great Battle of Mons. Studying maps, reading between the lines of Sir John French's historic dispatch, analysing and comparing the sparse and lean accounts of the war correspondents, above all, picking- up bits here and there from the soldiers' letters, my brilliant contributor, Mr. Douglas Newton, has succeeded, I believe, in giving a picture of the battle, not merely dramatic and moving, but full and accurate. Unfortunately, he has had to break off the story at one of the most critical points ; but the story will be continued in the next number, and brought to a conclusion. This is my method of carrying out what I regard as the purpose of this publication — namely, to substitute a clear for a chaotic picture of the chief events in the story of our own army. I trust that such a narrative, brilliant, accurate, and...

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Military: With the British Army in August 1914

Written by RSS Poster Out of battle
A Soldiers tale of the Great War

'Tales of the First British Expeditionary Force to France'

'Impressions of a Subaltern'

Told by "Casualty" (Name of Soldier Suppressed)

With the British Army in August 1914

I — When The First Battalion Swung Out

No cheers, no handkerchiefs, no bands. Nothing that even suggested the time-honored scene of soldiers leaving home to fight the Empire's battles. Parade was at midnight. Except for the lighted windows of the barracks, and the rush of hurrying feet, all was dark and quiet. It was more like ordinary night operations than the dramatic departure of a Unit of the First British Expeditionary Force to France.

As the Battalion swung into the road, the Subaltern could not help thinking that this was indeed a queer send-off. A few sergeants' wives, standing at the corner of the Parade ground, were saying good-bye to their friends as they passed. "Good-bye, Bill;" "Good luck, Sam!" Not a hint of emotion in their voices. One might have thought that husbands and fathers went away to risk their lives in war...

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Military: With the English Hospital at Furnes, December 1914

Written by RSS Poster Out of battle

'A British Reporter at the Yser’ with a Volunteer Hospital' from the book 'the Soul of the War' 1915 by Philip Gibbs

 

I had a job to do on my first night in Furnes, and earned a dinner, for a change, by honest work. The staff of an English hospital with a mobile column attached to the Belgian cavalry for picking up the wounded on the field, had come into the town before dusk with a convoy of ambulances and motorcars. They established themselves in an old convent with large courtyards and many rooms, and they worked hurriedly as long as light would allow, and afterwards in darkness, to get things ready for their tasks next day, when many wounded were expected. This party of doctors and nurses, stretcher- bearers and chauffeurs, had done splendid work in Belgium.

Many of them were in the siege of Antwerp, where they stayed until the wounded had to be taken away in a hurry; and others, even more daring, had retreated from town to town, a few kilometres in advance of the hostile troops. I had met some of the party...

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Military: November by Irene Snatt

Written by RSS Poster Out of battle


In Preston Parkthere is a tank.
Relic of the Battleof Cambrai.
Its rusty treads loom over,
Threatening.

I play with Army buttons,
Unwind some tattered puttees.

On corners of the shopping streets
The blind and maimed
Are selling matches.

Some veterans march.
A brass band plays
Sussexby the sea,
And Mother sighs and says
Before the Marne,
Before the Somme,
She watched the boys in khaki
March away.

By Irene Snatt.



Military: Ruhleben Camp

Written by RSS Poster Out of battle
In the book “My Four Years in Germany”, James W. Gerard describes the prisoner of war camp for British civilians at Ruhleben.

In his own words - “On September ninth, 1913, having resigned as Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, I sailed for Germany, stopping on the way in London in order to make the acquaintance of Ambassador Page, certain wise people in Washington having expressed the belief that a personal acquaintance of our Ambassadors made it easier for them to work together.

Two cares assail a newly appointed Ambassador. He must first take thought of what he shall wear and where he shall live. All other nations have beautiful Embassies or Legations in Berlin, but I found that my two immediate predecessors had occupied a villa originally built as a two-family house, pleasantly enough situated, but two miles from the centre of Berlin and entirely unsuitable for an Embassy.”

Working for the American Government he paints a realistic picture of conditions for the prisoners of war.

“In the autumn of 1914, the British Government...

Continues, Read More...


Military: Ruhleben Camp

Written by RSS Poster Out of battle
In the book “My Four Years in Germany”, James W. Gerard describes the prisoner of war camp for British civilians at Ruhleben.

In his own words - “On September ninth, 1913, having resigned as Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, I sailed for Germany, stopping on the way in London in order to make the acquaintance of Ambassador Page, certain wise people in Washington having expressed the belief that a personal acquaintance of our Ambassadors made it easier for them to work together.

Two cares assail a newly appointed Ambassador. He must first take thought of what he shall wear and where he shall live. All other nations have beautiful Embassies or Legations in Berlin, but I found that my two immediate predecessors had occupied a villa originally built as a two-family house, pleasantly enough situated, but two miles from the centre of Berlin and entirely unsuitable for an Embassy.”

Working for the American Government he paints a realistic picture of conditions for the prisoners of war.

“In the autumn of 1914, the British Government...

Continues, Read More...




Latest Out Of Battle Stories

Major Blair Wark V.C.- 32nd Battalion AIF
Corporal James Lihou, DCM and BAR, MM.
Sgt. William Dobson Scorer, 8th Battalion, AIF.
THE WINNING OF THE MARNE
The Retreat From Mons

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Emergency Shorts:
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