I have been researching the service of my Great Grandfather in the last 12 months and came across this image of him in his later years ( Likely during WW2 ) having tried on his original WW1 Australian Army service uniform. He had just sent his two sons ( My Grandmothers younger brothers ) off to WW2 and I am guessing he tried his old uniform on as a show of solidarity at the time.
My Great Grandfather was an English immigrant to Australia from Birmingham, England, in the early years before WW1 broke out. As soon as WW1 did break out he joined up straight away with the Australian Mediterranean Expeditionary Force - it must have been odd for a recently arrived Englishman. He enlisted on the 23rd August, 1914 and was immediately assigned to the 1st Field Artillery Battalion, 1st Battery, 1st Brigade - his role within the FAB was that of the rank of Driver. Drivers were men who commanded and rode a team of 6 horses that towed a Limber of 18 pounder guns, ammunition and shells - at other times they assisted and crewed the guns.
My Great Grandfather's battery were the first and only gun that went ashore during the first landing at Gallipoli and were the only gun firing that day. I have access to his complete war records ( And the Brigade War Diaries ) which are many pages long given his service from 1914-1918. He spent 3.5 months fighting at Gallipoli ( A long time by Gallipoli standards! ) before he succumbed to dysentery and was removed to a hospital ship - then later removed to England to convalesce. It is said that more men went down to dysentery at Gallipoli than were killed in battle or shot.
Once back in England he recovered and was then sent to France to fight in the trenches with the 1st FAB where he served at Amiens, Ypres and the like. He was once more removed from action due to trench foot and was laid up in England for a few months during which time he went AWOL to make a baby with his wife, which was to become my Grandmother. Upon his return he was docked a weeks pay and confined to barracks ... this was upgraded to two weeks pay due to insubordination to an officer. During his stay at barracks he was promoted to the rank of Bombadier ( Corporal ) but once he was returned to the field in France his rank resumed to that of Driver once again.
He served out the entire war from 1914-1918 and served in both France and Gallipoli ... how he survived is beyond me because the life of an Artillery Driver was a very dangerous one. The Germans knew the roads that the Drivers traveled and had them specially marked for artillery barrages of their own - in order to disrupt supply of guns and artillery shells. A Driver spent his days racing 6 horses and a Limber loaded with explosives up and down the line to supply his Brigade, all the time trying to dodge incoming German artillery. I look at this picture of a proud elderly man in his Uniform and can only shake my head in amazement at what he must have seen and done in his time.
This was his son ... my Great Uncle Lawrence who served during WW2 with the Australian Army. I'll save his story for another time.