Archive for June, 2008

Soldier profile – Private John Jameson

27 June, 2008

John Jameson (No 3151), 56th Battalion AIF

One of the better and more comprehensive collections of personal letters from a 56th Battalion soldier is that of John Jameson (No. 3151).  I was very fortunate to be contacted by his daughter, Pam Shadie, who kindly lent me his collection of letters and portrait photograph.  So I just thought I’d introduce Jameson and provide some brief biographical details on one of the characters who will likely surface in the book from time to time.



Progress update – slowly but surely

18 June, 2008

Fletch and Dan coming back to Igri Corner from Lagnicourt

Well I haven’t posted anything on the blog for three months which is probably a bit slack of me, so I thought I’d provide this quick update – just so you know we haven’t turned up our toes or anything…

Nick and I have both been very busy with work commitments, managing our sections at the Memorial, preparing the next Memorial exhibition, Advancing to Victory, 1918  (due to open late October), and Nick has also been over in France and Belgium for a couple of months, leading battlefield tour groups.

But anyway, work continues on the 56th Battalion book, slowly but surely.  Nick’s been working on 1916, while I’ve been concentrating on 1917.  I’ve been reading a lot about Bullecourt, just going over the events to get them firmly in mind so I can get a better perspective on it.  Not that the 56th played a very large role there – they didn’t, really only coming in for the last week of fighting there during mid May.  Still, it was a very hot few days in the cauldron where they suffered quite a few casualties and played a small part in repulsing the seventh and final counterattack of the Lehr Regiment.  I’ve also been piecing together events of a milder nature, during the so-called ‘long rest’ between the end of Bullecourt and Polygon Wood, and working on expanding the lead-up to the Polygon Wood battle.  Last year I wrote a short article about this battle which will form the nucleus of the chapter on one of the unit’s key events.  You can read this article online.

Apart from that, I’ve also been reading my way through several collections of personal letters and diaries which always make fascinating and fulfilling reading.  I’ll make a few brief posts on some of these individuals over the next couple of months I imagine.  Another task has been the ongoing compiling of a nominal roll.  So far we’ve identified about 2,000 men.

It’s great to hear from relatives and other interested parties who have, over the past few months, been steadily emerging as they hear about this project, and offering up photos, letters and diaries.