Archive for the ‘Published works’ Category

Feast at Bussy

4 February, 2010

AWM Souvenirs Collection – Menus, 13/4/12.

Last week I happened to find a menu from a special dinner held by the 56th Battalion in France among the Souvenirs Collection at the Australian War Memorial’s Research Centre.

On the evening of 11 June 1918 the 56th’s CO, Lieutenant Colonel Cameron, hosted a dinner at the battalion officers’ mess at Bussy-les-Daours.  Brigadier Stewart was the guest of honour and the COs of other units in the brigade also attended.  The menu includes signatures of all the officers who attended, as well as a list of songs played by the 14th Brigade Band.  The following includes my probably imperfect understanding of what the dishes were.  I wonder what the other ranks had for dinner that night… (more…)


Harold Williams and the Gallant Company

5 September, 2008

In writing a history of the 56th Battalion, we feel blessed that at least one its members published his story, providing us with much valuable information and insights not found in the official papers.  Lieutenant Harold Williams is our saviour in this respect, as he produced two books in fact; The Gallant Company (1933) and Comrades of the Great Adventure (1935).  Both are well-written works being very informative and descriptive (particularly of people and landscapes), and not at all dull to read.  Early reviews of the books seemed very good.  5th Division commander, Lt. Gen. Sir John Joseph Talbot Hobbs in writing the foreword called it ‘the best soldier’s story I have yet read in Australia.’

From the two books we have learned quite a bit about Williams himself, but not enough.  We would very much like to find any of his descendants to learn more.  We know basically what he looked like, yet have no photo of him.  We know some of his thoughts through his books, but nothing more; nothing about his life after the war for example.  We know he kept letters and a diary, so what became of them? Surely they must have survived.  At the beginning of The Gallant Company, Williams noted: (more…)

Postwar journal/newsletter

11 March, 2008

From the Reveille journal, we know the 4th and 56th Battalions formed a joint association for ex-members after the war and usually held reunions around Easter time each year.  Based in Sydney, it seems a G. W. Hewitt was the contact person for the association and possibly their secretary.  This man was probably George Witton Hewitt (No. 787A), who served for a time with 4th Battalion.

So far we’ve found no evidence that the association produced a journal or newsletter, but naturally we’d be delighted to find out that they did. 

Can anyone help here?

District contingent publications

14 December, 2007

bathurst.jpg    wellington.jpg    parramatta.jpg    yass.jpg

I’ve been going through a few publications held in the Australian War Memorial’s library, about the contingents of men who enlisted from the various regional districts in New South Wales.  The 56th Battalion was recruited from the southeastern triangle of NSW, including Sydney, the Hunter, Central and Southern Tablelands, the Southwest Slopes and a little farther west into the Riverina districts.

I’m finding these a very useful source for checking against the nominal roll we’re compiling and for finding photographs.  They seem to be quite well researched and comprehensive, and in some cases they also provide short biographical details on individual soldiers.

Apart from the four shown above, I’d be glad for any advice on other such books people might recommend.