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.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Lieutenant Frederic(k) George LEWIS

Frederic(k) George LEWIS was 32 years of age at the time of his death, killed in action by machine gun fire. He was born in Brisbane South, the son of John Robert Humphrey LEWIS and Lucy (or Lucie). JR Humphrey Lewis was an employee of the "Brisbane Telegraph" newpaper.

Fred had been educated at Brisbane Boys Grammar School, and was living in Wooloowin and on the staff of the Bank of New South Wales (now Westpac) at the time of his enlistment on 5 September 1916. He rose through army ranks from Private to Lieutenant with the 42nd Battalion.

Embarkation Roll:

Rank/Calling: 2nd Lieutenant

Unit: 42 Infantry Battalion (June 1916)

Ship Name: HMAT Borda

Ship Number: A30

Date of Embarkation: 5/06/1916

Place of Embarkation: Sydney

Nominal Roll:

The relevant image of his entry in the Nominal Roll can be found at:

Roll of Honour:
Rank: Lieutenant [Lt]
Unit: 42nd Bn Australian Inf
Service: Army
Conflict: 1914-1918
Date of Death: 01/09/1918
Place of Death:
Cause of Death: Killed in action
Memorial Panel: 135
Cemetery or Memorial Details: FRANCE 624 Hem Farm Military Cemetery Hem-Monacu
Next Of Kin:
Place Of Enlistment: Windsor, QLD
Native Place:
Notes: LEWIS, Lt. Frederick George. 42nd Bn. Australian Inf.
Killed in action 1st Sept., 1918. Age 32.
Son of J. R. Humphrey Lewis and Lucy Lewis. Born at Brisbane, Queensland.
II. D. 20.
Source: AWM145 Roll of Honour cards, 1914-1918 War, Army

More details to come later.

Page 11 - September 1st

Sunday Sept 1st found us out of bed at 7am. After breakfast the transports moved off with a load but we were kept fooling about, so we decided to have dinner before we set out. Eventually we started & after about a 4 mile walk we arrived at our destination & were lucky this time, as we found a hole already dug & we only had to clean it out & put a cover over it. On the journey up we passed quite a number of prisoners going back, & they kept on passing this place for quite a while. My bed here was a Fritz stretcher & very nice too. Fred Lewis was killed today - poor chap.

Fred Lewis. This is the "Lieut Lewis" referred to in an earlier entry as organising a concert. To search the records for a Lewis without other details is futile, but with a surname and a date of death it is a simple matter to find some details of the man from the Australia War Memorial website on the Roll of Honour page. With the information discovered there, particularly the full name of Frederick George LEWIS, his war records can be viewed from the National Archives of Australia website. I will do a short biography soon.

Friday Sept 1st is the day that my new-found 3rd cousin Janet came to visit, and a lovely visit, yarn, lunch and bit of sightseeing it was too. Her grandmother was born Jane Drew, my grandfather's only Drew cousin. Rain appeared to be clearing, but showers again through the day and steady drizzle at nightfall; they are telling us now that it will clear after morning showers tomorrow.

Page 11 - August 31st

Saturday Aug 31st dawned rainy but turned out very nice during the day. All day was spent working around camp & in the evening we played a few tunes for the boys. As usual we were told to shift in the morning. As you will notice most of our shifts are on Sundays.

Thursday Aug 31st also dawned rainy in the here-and-now. If only it would carry on for a few weeks, but they tell us it will fizzle out sometime soon. Over to the office, driving in constant drizzle most of the way.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Page 10 - August 30th

Friday Aug 30th broke upon us nice & mild again. After breakfast we busied ourselves making ready for the shift. At last we shouldered our bundles & off over what was a 5 mile walk. On our arrival we set to work & dug another home. How many different homes we have in this life. Anyhow we are content & make the best of it all.

Wednesday Aug 30th started by looking like more rain, and so it transpired. Across to the office again. Coming home, noticed that the temperature gauge had done a sudden jump and decided to look for a place I could pull over to check things under the bonnet. Before that could happen, had to stop at traffic lights (only a few metres short of my chosen parking area) and there was a loud 'whoosh' followed by clouds of steam and sprays of green stuff from the engine bay. Radiator hose had decided that enough was enough - easy fixed, but of course it started to rain while the fixing was happening.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Page 10 - August 29th

Thursday Aug 29th 7 am found us up looking out upon a bright mild morning much to our delight. After breakfast we were given a job to build bomb proof shelters around the horses - which of course we enjoyed (perhaps). Once again we had word of a shift so we knocked off digging & had a spell before tea - after which we had a little practice. After writing you I tumbled into my corner bed & fell into a good old sleep.

Tuesday Aug 29th
saw me out of bed early with intentions of heading across to the office. Some more showers in the night, and still drizzling at 05:00. Headache seems to have gone, which is good; don't get many, but they are mind altering monsters when they do come. Office was fairly boring, and the rain didn't continue.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Page 9-10 - August 28th

Wednesday Aug 28th broke upon us rainy & dull so we rose a little later & had breakfast at 9am, after which we had orders to pack again & go back to where we came from (how like the military). Anyhow we had to go & that was the end of it, so we shouldered our packs & went back to find our previous homes occupied, naturally, so we had to fuss about & find a new home. After a little work we made things very nice and cosy (which is always the sign of an early shift). In the evening we played a few tunes for the boys. Fritz shelled the horse lines about 75 yards away, but luckily he did no damage but frightened a good many (your humble included). News lately seems to be getting good & I think the end is in sight.

Monday Aug 28th was cloudy, after at least one short heavy shower of rain during the night. Struck down by a nasty headache, which kept me debilitated most of the day. Varnished yesterday's wood-butchering project in the afternoon, just before the next line of storms arrived with some very nice rain.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Page 9 - August 27th

Tuesday 27th dawned rather mild and pleasant. After the usual clean up & breakfast, we were ordered to pack up ready to shift so after the usual military fooling about, which lasted about an hour, we got under way & eventually arrived at our next home. After finding a decent dugout & making things cosy for the night & tailed off a good sleep (believe me kid - certain sure). That is a Yanks saying.

Have you noted that Jack treats the military with a certain laconic disdain? There is a lot more in a similar vein to come, I assure you. I can remember family Sunday lunches at Jack's where he would tell the funny stories from his time in France. Just the funny ones, never the real story.

Sunday 27th in the here and now started cloudy and with a quite humid feel about it. Maybe, just maybe, there is some rain on the way. Mum D was up not too early, so she must have slept well. The clouds kept rolling in, but no rain at all although some is predicted (maybe) for tomorrow. Did some wood-butchering today; I have been meaning to build a few more simple bookcases for my magazines (WoodenBoat already has a case; Australian Wood Review and Australian Amateur Boat Builder are still in tidy piles), so got into it and have one ready for varnishing. Also managed to get wood for more - B******s actually had plentiful stock of good radiata planks that weren't damaged, warped, or otherwise unusable.

Mum D back to the other side of town just before the tournament ended. Sister missed out on winning the tournament by a lousy 10 points on the final game - her opponent got a late 50 point bonus.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Page 9 - August 26th

Monday 26th found us up at 7:30am after a very good sleep. After the usual clean up, shave etc. we had breakfast & a parade was called for 9:15am after which men were put on cleaning camp etc. & digging the horses in. Luckily I was made Sergt Major of the camp & have a rather easy job. The day has passed rather quietly with the exception of bringing in a young Fritz, about 20. Rather a nice day.

Saturday 26th dawned with low cloud; it seems that the grassfires are putting enough particles into the air for fog and low cloud to form from the higher humidity. Today will be much running around - across town to pick up Mum D, then the shopping, and a few other errands. That trip across to the Logan Tavern (Qld Scrabble Tournament) and back was close on 80km, mostly motorway driving. Ouch. Took my daughter's little red car, so that injected an element of fun into the trip.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Page 8 - August 25th

Sunday 25th dawned upon us with orders to shift, so after breakfast we packed up, cleaned camp etc. & left about 10am for a place called 'Ebenheim'. After a walk of about 2 hours we found ourselves up within about 1000 yards of the front line (due to our officer being too experienced in map reading). Well after a lot of considering etc. the officer went back & found the Major & came back to us, so we had to walk about a mile further back.

We were rather glad to get back, & about dark we had our dugouts picked & cleaned ready to sleep in. Our pick was a German one with 5 bunks. Went to bed at 9:30pm.

Friday 25th saw me off the the physiotherapist at 8:40am, with daughter in tow as she wants to observe the flow of communication between me and the physio (for a Uni assignment). Things are looking good, but the new exercises are hard. He says it will be 2 years before the hip is feeling 'natural' again. A hot day predicted for today, and so it turned out to be. More fires fanned by the warm north-westerly winds. A phone call at night from my sister to inform that Mum D has decided that she will, after all, come to Brisbane tomorrow and stay with us on Saturday night while sister plays Scrabble. That means a morning drive for me into the foreign land of Logan Central to collect the old dear.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Page 7-8 - August 24th

Saturday 24 Aug dawned rather cold & cloudy. Fritz left us alone last night as I think he was kept busy in the line. The Aussies hopped over & kept him thinking a bit. Everything seems to be going good & the boys are still advancing & doing well.
It has cleared up considerably now & is just glorious weather. Let's hope it will continue so for a long time yet, but winter is drawing near & will soon change the aspect I suppose. We have a good view here, being up on the hill, which is a good thing as the bottom road is very dusty & we miss it all up here. Unfortunately a Tommie, while digging a hole to sleep in struck a gas shell that had gone in the bank & exploded, but somehow the gas stayed in the hole & when he drove the pick in, the gas came out & gassed the poor fellow rather severly (sic). Am expecting Fritz over tonight.

Thursday Aug 24 is another warm dry day here. Over to the office early. Mrs D appears to be well and truly on the mend, now, but still a little weak from the fever.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Page 7 - August 23 rd

Friday 23rd Aug broke in upon us with a shock as Fritz came over in the night & dropped bombs on some Tommies' horses & killed 26 & wounded 12. Awfully clear night & the old bounder could easily see where they were dropping their bombs. Expecting a stunt tonight. Rather a dull sort of day so we do not expect our usual lofty visit from Jerry.

Wednesday 23rd Aug is another unseasonably warm day in Brisbane. Up early, and over to the office to catch up on things. Mrs D starting to feel better now.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Page 7 - August 22nd

Thursday 22nd Aug dawned upon us rather roughly as we were aroused from our peaceful slumbers at 3:15am & revellie (sic) was played at 3:30. Breakfast at 4 & the Battn moved off at 5:30 to go into the line. The band & a few more were left behind to clean camp etc. After a lot of messing about they decided to keave us here so we settled down & salvaged a lot of stuff to send to the boys to build bivvies. Two of our band boys were wounded today & are now away - perhaps in Blighty. Some stunt on last night. Glorious warm day but plenty hard work.

The 'stunt' was the commencement of the 2nd Battle of Albert, from the night of the 21.8.18 to 23.8.18, where a combined Allied force took back much territory and captured about 3000 German prisoners. The first major battle involving the American forces.

Tuesday 22 nd Aug saw me up fairly early. Sister arrived home from her road trip last night, full of stories about her travels to Townsville and back. Today, Mum D to the doctor then down to the pharmacy to get her prescriptions into safe keeping so that confusion doesn't reign. Then, back to Brisbane to tend to Mrs D who is still rather unwell.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Page 6-7 - August 21st

Wednesday 21st Aug broke on us with a heavy fog which warned us of a hot day & a hot day it turned out too. In the morning, we practiced a little but in the afternoon it was too hot so we had a spell. In the evening we played a few tunes & then got our orders for the shift in the early morning. Fritz dropped a couple of shells close handy but never hurt anything. Thigns are looking very nice now & ere long we shall all be home with you all.

Little did Jack know that it would be 11 months before he set foot on Australian soil again.

Monday 21st Aug started with fog down in the low parts of Toowoomba, with a heavy dew on the higher parts. We, too, are expecting an unseasonally warm day. The wandering sister rang last night, and expects to be back tonight some time.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Notes #2

Fatigue Party
Castre rest camp on our way to Bty after Wireless Course at Bailleul

Symes R.S.
Lucas A.G.
Hopkins R.G.

Symes R.S. would appear to be SERN 20147 Reginald Samuel SYMES, of Prahran, Vic. 8th FAB

Lucas A.G. would appear to be SERN 19106 Arnold Goodwin LUCAS, of Stanmore, Sydney.

Hopkins R.G. - not clear from AWM records who this might be.

Penrose we have several choices, assuming that this was a school for artillery signallers.
Arthur PENROSE, 4th FAB
Albert Elliott PENROSE, 1st FAB
Reginald Doig(?) PENROSE, 7th FAB

Collingwood we also have some choices from among the artillery men
Edward Francis COLLINGWOOD, 8th FAB
George Herbert COLLINGWOOD, 11th FAB

Crabtree we have some artillery choices
Abraham Booth CRABTREE, 8th FAB

Research into the others, with more common names, is continuing.

Note, 31 March 2010: I wonder if O'Neil is the O'Neil whose diaries make up a goodly part of "Death Sat on a Pale Horse"? A quick check shows that it wasn't.

Page 6 - August 20th

Tuesday 20th dawned cool and raw, & at 7:30 we were up and had breakfast & after the usual clean up, we went on parade at 9am. After parade we were put on cleaning up the camp. As usual the Lieut spotted some iron on the roof of our dugout & pinched it to make a cookhouse but we were given a trench shelter so we started to make another roof. After a good afternoons work we fixed out little home up & made things nice and comfy & settled down to the evening.

Sunday 20th, and I slept in a little longer than normal. Today, back to Toowoomba for another couple of days' mother sitting.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Page 5-6 - August 19th

Monday 19th dawned rather close & muggy. At 8am we had breakfast & then at 9:50 we went to the baths for a swim, after which we came back at 11:45am & were informed that we were to shift (just as we thought)so we had our dinner & packed up ready to move & here we are patiently awaiting the time (2:45pm). Moved off at last & after a hot march we arrived at our destination & started digging in on a nice big bank. At dark we had the dugout just fit to sleep in so went to bed & tried for a good nights rest.

Saturday 19th saw me sleeping in a little, then up for coffee, a read of the Saturday newspaper, and some laundry into the washing machine. Then, the blog duties. Mrs D had a much better night last night, poor dear. Today, a solo trip to do the family shopping - Mrs D is under strict instructions to rest.

Generally, a quiet day. Prepared dinner as soon as I got back from the shopping trip, so that was out of the way. Helped my daughter with graphing of results from one of her practical sessions, something about stimulus intensity and reaction times.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Notes #1

Scattered through the diary are little notes not connected to anything in particular. Like this one:
3567 Pte Wolfe R.J. Cornet
3527 Pte Duncan H.E. Cornet
3073 Pte Madden Tenor Horn

A few moments at the website of the National Archives tells me:
SERN 3567 Reuben Joseph WOLFE
SERN 3527 Harold Ernest DUNCAN
Their service records have been digitised and are open to viewing.

Page 5 - August 18th

Sunday Aug 18th found us up at 8 am for breakfast. We finished our home this morning & made it nice & cosy so suppose we shall soon shift out of it as we generally shift just as we make things comfy. No practice all day, but played the usual few tunes to the boys in the evening. No visit from Jerry last night.

Friday Aug 18th found me off to the physiotherapist for an 8:00 appointment. After that, across town to the office. Made an appointment for Mrs D to see the GP this afternoon - a very disturbed night with pain in her bad knee and strange 'hot and cold' sensations. Turns out she has some kind of infection - results on Monday. Today was the 40th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan. Even though I was very much against the Australian military presence in Viet Nam, and even more against the use of birthday-balloted conscripts for overseas active service, this is still a day to honour the bravery and professionalism of the Australian Armed Services personnel everywhere and at all times.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Page 5 - August 17th

Saturday August 17th dawned mild & warm. 7:30 am saw us up & ready for breakfast after which we went off to practice & are now having a few minutes rest. Fritz forgot to pay us the usual visit last night, so we slept in peace for once. After the morning's practice we had our dinner & a few moments rest, & then into practice again & knocked off about 3:30pm to have a spell for the concert to be given by a few members of 11th Inf Bde. The concert was not too bad. We played from 5:30 to 6:30 pm, before the show. This afternoon, we decided to dig in & make a little shelter for ourselves & started on a place & at dark we had it fit to sleep in, so turned in & tried for a good night's rest.

Thurdsay August 17th. Indonesian Idependence Day. Cold morning, woken by galahs and Mum moving about. Mum to University of the Third Age later this morning, then I packed up ready to go home as soon as my little sister arrived to take over mother-sitting duties. Well, to be truthful, I left a little before sister arrived, and saw here heading the other way just after I hit the bottom of the Toowoomba range. A smooth trip home.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Page 4-5 - August 16th

Friday 16th
found us up at 7 am & after the usual clean up, we had breakfast & then off to practice. Dinner as usual & then the afternoon's practice. After tea we played a few tunes & now we are enjoying the cool of the evening. We are sleeping out in the open with absolutely no covering but the canopy of Heaven & it is a very nice covering too, but hardly bomb proof. CheeriO.

August 16th. A slight sleep-in for me. Cloudy, so less bird song: unfortunately, the clouds were short-lived and the skies quickly reverted to the usual clear blue of the continental high pressures that are our lot in winter. Most of the day was committed to work stuff - business development submission for WATSAN. Convinced myself (almost) that the UN Millenium Development Goals for water supply are a whole new world of pain. How on earth are we to reduce by half the number of people with no access to safe, sustainable water supply by 2015? There's millions and millions of them! The International Water Supply and Sanitation decade ended with roughly all the good work done being overtaken by population growth.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Page 4 - August 15th

Thursday Aug 15th dawned very nice & at 8 am we arose & wandered down from our hard bed, to breakfast. At 9 o'clock we started practice & had a very nice morning. After dinner we had another practice & then tea. After tea we played a few tunes for the boys & then Lt. Bauhman & Lewis arranged a concert so the Band played a couple (of) tunes & a Quartette & I played 'The lost chord'. As usual the lofty visit of the Hun was paid but no damage done.

Tuesday Aug 15th saw me awake to the sounds of galahs and Mum moving about, collecting the morning paper. Another cold morning. Took Mum downtown for a bit of shopping, and met up with one of my teachers from Toowoomba State High from 43-44 years ago. Active, but looking very frail. He was also a neighbour and school friend (Brisbane State High) of Mum back around 1938. Both lived in Cleveland (Raby Bay) at the time.

I looked up Lt. Bauhman (will all sorts of possibile spellings) in the National Archives, but to no avail. Too many hits for 'Lewis' to identify. Will try the Australian War Memorial website as well.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Page 4 - August 14th

Wednesday Aug 14. Up as usual at 7:50am & after having breakfast, came over to the Battn & played till 12 midday. Had our lunch & then played till 3:30pm after which we made tracks for home. Arrived back at 4:30 & had tea then a swim. As usual we got a hurried order to pack up & rejoin the Battn, so just before dark we moved off to the sweet strains of the bagpipes. After arriving at the Battn we had to look for a bunk & finally landed in a narrow trench & packed off to sleep. Once more the usual visit of hate was paid us but no damage done. (Oh that bed in the trench.)

Monday Aug 14. Sounds of birds in the garden to wake me once again. Generally, a lazy day. Knees and hip playing up a bit after the driving on Thursday and Sunday, so had a nanna nap after lunch. Frosty in the morning, and not terribly warm during the day.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Page 3 - August 13th

Tuesday Aug 13 found us up & at breakfast at 7:50am. After that we went out all day on a salvage party to a place called 'Hamel' & after gathering salvage until 4pm we decided to make tracks back. After arriving back & having tea, we came over to the Battn & played for an hour or so for the boys. Another nightly visit from Fritz but no harm done. Another grand day.

Sunday Aug 13 saw me up at around 6:00, which is a little later than usual. Morning paper full of woes, as usual. Not much good news being reported. Today will be spent changing handles on a chest of drawers - the originals were, to say the least, substandard, and the search for suitable replacements has been long and complicated. In the afternoon, Mum back to Toowoomba. Not a bad drive, as drives go, but getting out of the car at the end is becoming more and more difficult. Look after your your knees - you'll miss them when they've gone.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Page 3 - August 12th

Monday Aug 12th dawned very warm & muggy, & at 7am we were up & doing & 7:30 saw us devouring our breakfast. At 9am we had a parade & then had a few moments practice. At 12:30 we had our dinner & then were marched off to the canal for a swim, but wanting to get my gear together I fell out and stayed back. As usual Fritz paid us one more visit, but managed to drop his load some distance from us. Has been another grand day.

Saturday Aug 12th saw mrs d and myself off to the local stupourmarket and suchlike, as usual, for the weekly shopping. Lunch, then off up and down the street collecting for the Leukemia Foundation. One end of my area was almost devoid of householders (and donations), but the other end was very generous. Didn't get attacked by any of the local dogs, but then the worst offender wasn't in my collecitng area.

It is my youngest great-niece's birthday today.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Page 2-3 - August 11th

Sunday Aug 11th At 9 am we decided to get up, so we rose & had our usual clean up & I felt very much refreshed after the long dusty & tiresome trip. During the night our friend Fritz paid us the usual aerial visit, but dropped his load well away from us - much to our relief. After a good breakfast & a lazy morning we had dinner & decided to make tracks to find the Battn, so at 1:50pm we shouldered our packs & off we went, little knowing how long the journey was. Well we started & after wandering to Corbie we struck a place called Veaux, & after a lot of asking & finding our way we eventually met a 42nd chap & found (C Echelon) at 5:30pm. Naturally we were dead tired & were soon in bed & fell to sleep very quickly. It has been a glorious day as far as the weather goes, but a long walk.

Friday Aug 11th. Up early, as usual, to see strong moonlight streaming though the trees and casting shadows all over the back yard. Across to the office today, to find that a visiting geologist has taken over my cubic hell for the past few days - no worries, he's a good chap and I've known him for many, many years. Mind you, if it had been anybody else ...

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Page 2 - August 10th

Saturday Aug 10th dawned clear and bright & luckily we were let sleep until 7am, when we arose & had breakfast & went down to the station to catch the leave bus. At 9am the buses (9 in all) came along & we loaded up & left at 9:15am. After a ride of just over 2 hours we arrived at Querruy & I made tracks for the old camp where I left them on July 23rd & to my surprise I found two or three chaps there cleaning up, so we made dinner and had a good feed. On arrival here, they informed me I was made a Sergt. After settling down for the night we had a little music & then went to bed to try for a good night's rest after the long journey.

(What Jack means by 'had a little music' is, I think, that the other chaps were from the 42nd Btn Band and they played a little music together. Jack would have had his cornet with him, that is for sure.)

Thursday Aug 10th. Back to Brisbane with Mum today; a good drive down from Toowoomba, and the roadside bougainvilleas were a spectacular sight on one stretch of the road. My youngest sister picked Mum up from my place for a few days (and great-granddaughter's birthday) at the Sunshine Coast. Nice to be back home for a few days. Back up 'the hill' on Sunday afternoon.

Jack in Love

This is the postcard that Jack sent to my grandmother-to-be on his way back to France. I'll let you read what he had to say.

Page 2 - August 9th

Friday Aug 9th broke in upon us rather roughly as we were rudely awakened at 4am & after a wash etc, were given our breakfast at 4:45am & had our days rations issued for the trip. At 6 am we fell in and marched to the train which moved off at 7:50 am & after a long & tedious journey through St. Pol and Doulens, we eventually arrived at Pernois at 6 pm & marched to another of the famous rest camps & had tea & another night's rest. On the way down, we heard of the push now on & saw a train full of Fritz prisoners.

Wednesday Aug 9th. Again, I awoke at 6 to the sound of blue wrens outside; I could get used to that. Very cool and crisp. Attended my appointment with Mum's GP and got the full information on her medications, discovering in the process that there were two that she did not have in stock; luckily, they were not vital to her continued well-being. Filled the two 'missing' prescriptions, and discussed options for better management of Mum's medications with the pharmacist. Will follow-up next week; it seems that the pharmacy can hold her authorisations, and remind the doctor when there are no repeats left current.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Page One

Thursday Aug 8th dawned rather wet and dull, much to the disappointment of the occupant of room No. 646 Ivanhoe Hotel, London, who was aroused from his slumbers at 5am. Naturally his temper was none too sweet at rising so early and having to face the journey that lay before him back to the land of sin and sorrow. Well at 5:15am I went down to the dining room & filled up ready for the trip. After breakfast I made for the Tube at Tottenham Court Rd. & after changing at Charing Cross reached Victoria where the usual rigmarole of stamping tickets & fussing about generally took place. Anyhow at 7:45 everything was ready & after a few sad farewells the train moved out & after a run of 2 hours (which I slept through) we arrived at Folkestone where we were put in a camp & given a fair dinner. After that we had a look round the beach until 2pm when we fell in and marched to the boat "VICTORIA" which left at 3:35pm & after a run of 2 hours landed us at Boulogne at 5:35. From the wharf we march up to the rest camp & after finding our huts were given a meal & settled down to have a night's rest (quite a different night from the previous fortnight spent in England but we must take the bitter with the sweet & carry 0n).

Tuesday Aug 8th. Well, I woke at about 5:30 on cool winter morning at my mother's place in Toowoomba, to the trilling of Blue Wrens in the drought-blasted remains of the garden. Later in the morning, took Mum to the GP for a heart checkup and then I completed remounting the old portrait photograph of her grandfather. Took him out of the frame yeasterday to scan him and to clean accumulated grime off the glass. Somewhere in the day, some work done (isn't the world of today grand, with instant communications via computer and internet?) Discovered that Mum's prescriptions and medications are in an awful tangle, so I have an appointment to go back and see him tomorrow t try to straighten it all out. She does forget things, and gets herself confuddled.

August 1977, when I was in my 31st year. I was living in a flat in New Farm, Brisbane, just down the road from the Coffey office and Laboratory where I worked. My son had been born in June of that year. We had not long returned from the Larona Hydroelecticity Project near Malili, in South Sulawesi, Indonesia, and would soon transfer to Coffey's Sydney office.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Jack, the man.

Jack was born in October, 1887, in Sandgate, Queensland, at his parent's house in Palm Avenue. The little cottage still stands today, at the corner of Bevington Street. His parents, three sisters, and two brothers had arrived in Brisbane on the "Chyebassa" in October 1885.

The family had been living in the United States, around the Great Lakes, since 1867. Jack, and his brothers, were all members of the Sandgate Town Band; Jack was a champion cornet player, and had even had a Junior title stripped because he was too young. He was 8, and you had to be 13 to be a Junior!

In one of those little coincidences which follow us throughour lives, today (August 7) is my father's 85th birthday. Jack would have had little inkling that three years after starting his diary, he would be holding his day-old firstborn.

Jack joined the Naval Reserve in Brisbane but after 3 months enlisted in the army in 1916. He trained at "Fraser's Paddock" (Enoggera) then shipped to France with the Field Artillery as a signaller. He, with Gunner Ridgeway, was awarded the Military Medal in 1917 but then after wireless school was transferred to the 42nd Batallion, First AIF, and then to the 43rd Btn. In the final months of the war, the period covered by the diary, he was mostly a bandsman.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Starting at the beginning

This is the flyleaf page of the little notebook that he used as a diary. It's actual purpose was for recording notes at a radio operator's course that Jack had attended in March, 1918.

What this is all about

Back in 1918, my Grandfather Jack met my Grandmother-to-be, Madge, and this prompted him to start a diary. The diary runs from Thursday August 8th, 1918, to Sunday, 5th January, 1919.

So, over the next few months I will be comparing what my grandfather was doing with what I am doing, 88 years on. I am at a loss as to whether start on the 8th, or on Thursday. I have a few days to sort this out.