Wallaby Warrior: The World War I Diaries of Australia's Only British Lion

Wallaby Warrior: The World War I Diaries of Australia's Only British Lion

Language: English

Pages: 240

ISBN: 1743316615

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Tom Richards is the only Australian-born rugby player to have played for both Australia and the British Lions. When the Australian team won the Gold Medal for rugby at the 1908 Olympic Games, the London Times pronounced: "If ever the Earth had to select a Rugby Football team to play against Mars, Tom Richards would be the first player chosen." This book will tell something of Richards' extraordinary sporting life, but it mainly reproduces highlights from the very entertaining diary he kept during WWI. He had worked part-time with the Sydney Morning Herald before he enlisted and he would write between 100-800 words about his experiences each day, giving a revealing, intimate account of what occurred throughout the Gallipoli campaign and then the Western Front, where he received a Military Cross for his courage under German fire. He was acerbic in his opinions, often critical of his superiors and fellow soldiers; he was a great observer of human tragedy and frailties, repeatedly finding fault with the British in charge, and meeting numerous important War figures, including Simpson at Gallipoli. He included vivid descriptions of football matches played in Egypt, Gallipoli, and on the Front, and there are also numerous lighter moments, as Richards sought out and was intrigued by strange characters.

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nerve-wracking work. This flank on Monday night last drove the Turks across the valley for 1½ miles but the Turks came back again and gave them particular hell, driving them (the 4th Battalion mostly) back to the trenches. We hardly know yet what damage was done to each battalion, as the Companies and men got so hopelessly mixed up in the mad rushing attack of Sunday last—an attack which will, I believe, go down in history. The more one looks at the position and the subsequent results the more

his own soldiers. The real story was that Swannell led a charge towards the Turks, forcing them to retreat higher up in the cliffs. While kneeling to show his troops how to take proper aim at the Turks, Swannell was fatally shot in the forehead. 2 Maconochie was the name of the maker of a tinned stew supplied to the Services in World War I. Chapter 6 DIGGING IN, 1915 May 25: I was sitting in my little dug-out writing room and library when I heard an unusually low kind of a noise or

fellows had a great blow out. It is strange that there were only billies enough for one between two men. I tossed and lost my interest in one. I got a set of pyjamas and any number of socks now. It seems a shame to see so many pairs of lovely home-made socks lying about. I could have had dozens of them. I feel sorry we are going away so soon as there are villages and a hot spring bath nearby that I wanted to visit. December 25: Some of our fellows have been out scouting last night and again this

two, and moves on. Almost immediately he is told that a man is knocked out; he goes back and there are several of the little party scattered about, the wounded are patched up and after separating the ‘brain from the guts’ the identification disc and pay book are found and then all hands (although many of the dead man’s mates fall back and cannot help) throw the body up over the parapet to strengthen it. Oftimes a shell will throw a body back into the trenches after it has been lying there for

us were driven in an ambulance car to the Horse Guards where we were told to take off our belts and proceed before the General, Sir Francis Lloyd. We saluted and he overhauled us one after the other, then on asking if we were under arrest, were told that we were. He wanted to know where the escort was. We had none so he ordered the orderly officer to take us away. So where we stand I don’t know. We came back in the ambulance car and have been kept inside the Hospital grounds all day. It is a

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