Friday, 22 May 2015

When I Get Back To Timaru

"With all kind thoughts and good wishes from Sling Camp”, by British artist C.T. Howard. 
Printed and published by J. Salmon, Sevenoaks, England, and E. Mack, King Henry’s Rd, Hampstead, London. 

The message on the back reads:

“Dear Mrs Gracie, Just a line to let you know I am great. Bayonet fighting, gas, barbing wire, machine guns and bomb throwing is the thing to make one fit. Also fifteen miles route march. They have the clock on two hours here for this daylight saving, damned rot. Got to get up at four in the morning and going all the time. Got a letter from Miss Gault the sweet kid to write and you to give her my address. Also she told me you was not well so sorry to hear it but hope you are ripping by the time you get this. So in a NZ paper the women are doing men’s work. Poor devils, as if they haven’t enough to do. Going to Grantham about the end of the war till they want us in France. Take too long to tell you all about the places I’ve seen but will tell you all when I get back to Timaru…Kind regards to the Boss & Kiddies and look after yourself. Yours sincerely, Doug Vernall.”

Private Douglas Vernall, of Orari, and serving in the New Zealand Machine Gun Corps, received gunshot wounds in the abdomen and chest and was hospitalised in France.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Schulz brothers of Makowhai

“Trentham. 1916.” This postcard does not have a postmark or postage stamp affixed. 
Note the racecourse in the centre of the picture. 

The postcard is addressed to ‘Tib’ and was sent by Lance Corporal August Albert Schulz of H Company, 4th Platoon, 16th Reinforcement, Trentham:

“Dear Tib, 
I thought that I would just send you a card to let you know that I am still knocking round the world. I have been a fortnight in camp but haven’t got hardened to it yet as the boots are like iron clads & they make my feet sore but I will get used to it in time. I haven’t been out of camp yet but I might go out this week. I might go out to Petone to see if I can find Mrs Herdman but I will write to her first. We get plenty of stew but it must be good stuff as all the boys get fat on it. Do you know what time Hugh Andrews is coming in? Gerald told me that Kate is getting married next month. 
Au Revoir with kind regards, Aug.”

August, a farmer by trade, did not survive the war. While posted to the 2nd Battalion 3rd NZ Rifle Brigade he was killed in action on 2 May 1917 in Belgium at 31 years of age. Sadly, the Schulz family had lost another son earlier in the war. August’s elder brother Herbert Alfred Schulz of the Wellington Infantry Regiment, Main Body, was killed in action on the slopes of Gallipoli on 29 April 1915.

Lance Corporal August Albert Schulz (killed in action 2 May 1917)
Auckland Weekly News, 14 June 1917.

Rifleman Herbert Alfred Schulz (killed in action 29 April 1915)
Auckland Weekly News, 1 July 1915.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Rest break on the Rimutakas

A real photographic postcard of “No.14 Platoon, ‘D’ Coy, 11th”, pictured during a rest break on their march over the Rimutaka ranges. The postcard is postmarked at Trentham Camp on 31 March 1916. 

The message addressed on the back of the card to Mr J. McCartney, Railways, Petone, reads:
“Dear May & Jim, Sorry I am unable to get down tonight as all leave is stopped so will bid you goodbye. Will write from Australia. Pick me in front. My a/d Cpl C.B.W 8/4498, 11th Rfts, c/o G.P.O. Wgton.”
The postcard was written by Private Charles Bernard Weenink, of Greymouth.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Who said Germany?

“Who said Germany?” Postcard published by E.T.W. Dennis & Sons, Ltd, London & Scarbro’, patriotic series no.5.

Rifleman Albert Walter Findlater of 32 platoon, H Company, 25th Reinforcements, Trentham, addressed this postcard to Mrs J. Allen, King Street, Otautau, Southland:

“Dear Mrs Allen, It seems quite a long time since we left Otautau. I went out to Trentham and seen Bert. He was looking tip top and enjoying camp life. The 26th seem to be nearly all drafted into the 25th. Met the other Otautau boys and they were in great form. Thank you very much for the little book you gave us. The place is alive with soldiers here. The 22nd went away silently last week. Not even a flag flying or band playing. Kindest regards to Mr Allen. Yours sincerely Beanie Findlater.”

Albert Findlater, a blacksmith at Otautau, married Robina Sutherland at Balclutha in 1915 a year after war was declared. By late 1917 he was on the battlefields of France posted to 2nd Battalion, 3rd New Zealand Rifle Brigade. Albert and Robina had been wed for a little over three years when he was reported killed in action on 26 October 1918 just a few weeks before the war ended. He fell at Le Cateau in France, aged 32 years and is buried at Cross Roads Cemetery at Fontaine-au-Bois.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Shakespeare Hut

“Y.M.C.A. Shakespeare Hut.” A real photographic postcard printed in England with a handwritten note, “my home in London”, written on the back. 

The Shakespeare Hut on the corner of Keppell and Gower Streets in London was close to the British Museum and offered free services to all sailors and soldiers in His Majesty’s Forces during the war. The hut had reading and writing rooms, a concert hall, library and accommodation. Meals were also available at low prices and were a welcome luxury when measured against the rations received on the frontline. Many New Zealand soldiers passed through the Shakespeare Hut doors when granted leave from their posting in Belgium and France.

Friday, 8 May 2015

The town of Passchendaele

Two German soldiers stop for a photograph against the backdrop remnants of a building in the Belgian town of Passchendaele. The town was the target of much shelling and was eventually reduced to rubble. The surrounding fields were pounded into a quagmire and became the scene of New Zealand's blackest days in October 1917. Over 3,700 New Zealand soldiers became casualties at Passchendaele.