Signals Officer, J.R.R. Tolkien:
The most improper job of any man … is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity
One has indeed personally to come under the shadow of war to feel fully its oppression…By 1918 all but one of my close friends were dead
Mendinghem Military Cemetery, 2012. Image: Wernervc — Wikimedia Commons
In June 1917 P.G Taylor received devastating news. In 1960 he made a pilgrimage back to a place long buried in his memories.
Left;The London Gazette Ay 11, 1917 www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/30064/supplement/4592 The Gazette retrieved online 24/04/17. Right; Military Cross. Source: Wikimedia commons
On the 24th of July 1917, 2/Lt. P.G. Taylor was awarded the Military Cross and promoted to Captain. Unfortunately, he received terrible news in the following days which overshadowed this prestigious honour. Today many of Bill Taylor’s belongings are kept at the Australian War Memorial.
Strike-breakers at Taronga Zoo viewing the monkey enclosure, 1917. Their tents can be seen in the trees behind them. Stanley R. Beer Studio (National Library of Australia)
Sarah Laing’s letter asking after her son (AWM R149302)
Photographs of strike-breakers at Taronga Zoo and a digitised image of a letter written by a Mosman mother enquiring about her son, give us a glimpse into Australian society in the early 20th century.
The Australian 53rd Battalion suffered over 75% casualties in 24hrs at Fromelles. Three men from Mosman did not return. They were among the thousands ‘missing’ in the Great War.
One mother died in 1919, it is said of a broken heart. The other spent a lifetime grieving unable to come to terms with her loss. In 2010, the mystery that had haunted one family for generations was finally resolved…
Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery