Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

Cull letter diary, 1915-1918 / Capt. William Ambrose Cull
MLMSS 1165

[Transcribers’ notes:
The letters cover William Cull’s journey by troopship to Egypt; service in the trenches at Gallipoli; a period of time in hospital in Malta; return to Egypt and another period of hospitalisation there; voyage to Marseilles and travel through France to the area round Ypres; service in the trenches around the Somme; his wounding, capture and internment in an officers’ prisoner-of-war camp in Germany; transfer to Montreux, Switzerland, for specialist medical treatment under a prisoner exchange arrangement; and conclude with news that he will be transferred to England and then home to Australia. Also included in the document are some notes on trench warfare at Gallipoli (pp 101-103), two pages in French in what looks like a different hand (pp 519-520) and an issue of the British Internees Magazine (pp 521-540)

Some letters are out of date order.
Some words are partially obscured by tape or binding on the originals; probable completion of the word, based on context, is indicated by square brackets.
Notes on mis-spellings are at the end of the transcript.

Embarked on transport ship Euripides and sailed from Melbourne on 8 May 1915 via Colombo, Red Sea & Suez Canal (pages 2 to 20).
Arrived Alexandria Egypt 10 June 1915.
Camped at Heliopolis near Zeitoun from 12 June 1915 to 28 August 1915 (pages 21 to 64).
Commissioned Lieutenant on 23 August 1915 (page 64).
Sailed on transport ship Haverford from Alexandria to Lemnos Island (page 71) and on to Gallipoli.
Disembarked at Anzac Cove on 4 September 1915 (page 80).
Pages 77 and 78 are official notes regarding offensive and defensive tactics at Lone Pine, issued to officers of the 23rd Battalion, including Lieut. Cull, when they relieved the 1st Infantry Brigade on 4 September 1915.
Pages 95-96 give some details of life in the trenches at Gallipoli.
Pages 101-103 give detail of some aspects of trench warfare.
Wounded on 5 November 1915 and evacuated to Malta, arriving 12 November 1915 (letter dated 14 November, page 126).
Left Malta for Egypt on about 4 or 6 December 1915, arriving at Part Said on 8 December (page 150).
Moved to Cairo on 9 December and on to Tel-el-Kebir on 24 December 1915
Relapsed and hospitalised in Cairo on 24 January 1916 (page 191).
Returned to Tel-el-Kebir in early February 1916 and then moved to Canal Zone, Sinai Desert on 5 February 1916 (page 223).
Moved to Alexandria 20 March 1916
Embarked on T.S.S. "Osmanieh" for Marseilles on 22 March 1916 travelling via Malta and Toulon (page 251).
Landed at Marseilles on 30 March 1916 and travelled by train to Rouen and on to Wittes, near Aire-sur-la Lys on about 5 April 1916 (page 258 ff).
In Fort Rompu by late April 1916 and in Armentieres from late May (page 280 ff).
Moved on to Pozieres and then Ypres in early July 1916 (page 324 ff).
Promoted Captain on 12 August 1916 (page 350).
Served in area around the Somme through remainder of 1916.
Several letters include references to support of a "Yes" vote on the failed Australian referendum on conscription (mid-late 1916; pages 361 ff, 379 ff, 398-9).
Became engaged to be married to a young Frenchwoman (Marie Vasseur) in December 1916 (pp 382 and 442).
Hospitalised (Field Hospital) on 4 February 1917 with tonsillitis.
Re-joined unit on 8 February 1917 (page 412).
There is a gap in the letters from 21 February 1917 to 8 May 1917, the period when he was wounded and captured.
On 8 May 1917 he writes from Germany, badly wounded and a prisoner of war in St Elisabeth Hospital, Bochum, Westfalen, Germany (page 422).
Discharged from hospital on 19 June 1917 then held in officers’ prisoner of war camp in Karlsruhe, Germany (page 445).
Program of prisoner of war concert pages 452 to 455.
Moved to officers’ prisoner of war camp at Freiburg, Baden on about 31 October 1917 (page 480).
During his period of imprisonment he did not receive letters from home and this was of great concern to him.
On 7 December 1917 writes to tell his family his transfer out of the POW camp (via prisoner exchange) is about to occur – arranged because he needs further surgery.
By 10 January 1918 he is staying at the Hôtel de l’Europe, Montreux, Switzerland.
On 17 January 1918 he writes to his family, distressed that the parents of his French fiancée will not allow her to live outside France – see p. 497.
On 24 January 1918 (page 502 to 508) he writes in detail about his wounds and prospects for treatment, tells his parents more about his distress regarding his French fiancée, and gives a little detail about how he was wounded.
He writes on 25 February to say he has suffered a nervous breakdown and is to be sent home for any further treatment (page 510 ff).
He gives more information about his injuries and likely outcome on page 516, with a diagram on page 517.
Pages 519 and 520 are in French, written in a different hand; transcribed but not translated.
Pages 521 to 540 are an issue of the British Internees Magazine (volume 2, no. 1); not fully transcribed.]

[Page 1]
I Armadale St.

Principal Librarian & Sec. "Mitchell Library"

Dear Sir,

In response to your invitation to forward letters, trench maps, sketches etc. I send this day, by registered post, packet containing same.

Yours faithfully
Ambrose Cull

[Business card attached:
Captain Wm. Ambrose Cull
1 Armadale St.,

[Page 2]
Off Queenscliff
Saturday Night 8-5-15
On Board the Euripidies.

Dear Dad Mum & All –

Steamed from Town Pier Port Melbourne – at 2.45 pm, to-day – We are now Standing off Queenscliff for the night.

I really don’t suppose that we shall get out of the Heads tomorrow, for I suppose we shall have to wait for convoy I was unable to see Jack, George or Cecil after we had gone on Board, for civilians were not allowed on the Pier George sent me a fine Prayer Book a real beauty –

I’m having a jolly good time – A great many of the men know me - : a number of them I have had in one or other of my Coys.

They still salute me with absolute regularity and address me as Sir or Mr Cull -

I drew their attention to my shoulder straps, and reminded them that I was not entitled to such Compliments They still persist though, to address me as Sir or Mr Cull –

Macdonald had been informed at the Eleventh Hour that his he would

[Page 3]
go away with his Commission – He was well on the way to fixing everything up, when he was told that his Commission with the A I F was not approved – Macdonald is not a trainee. He is 22 years of age – He is with us as a Sergt. Three of us in the Same Regts are Platoon Segts. – Macdonald – Blight and myself – one is a Corpl. – Johnson R. I have an idea that I shall not be long without my Commission.

The "Euripidies" is a fine Ship of 15000 ton, and travels as a feather on a mill-pond –

Sergts have a first class mess. Almost as good as the mess we had at the Depot We sleep in Hammocks which appear to be perfectly comfortable.

We also have Smoke Room where we may retire to write or read – It is rather comfortable: In short we have almost every comfort. The "Euripidies" was an Aberdeen Liner carrying 1st 2nd & 3rd class passengers – I fancy that I shall make a far better sailor than I ever expected So far its delightful – What shall I say of it – you ask – after clearing the Heads two or three days

[Page 4]
My answer I think will be – much the same as at present – "Grand"

I thought – to day Dad, when moving away from the pier that it was just 38 years since you sailed from England .. even I believe to the day – 8th May – Is that so – I am with Captain Brazenor a fine little Officer, a man every inch of him –

I don’t know dear people when I shall get the next letter posted to you. You will get one though when ever we have the opportunity of sending it.

This letter will be taken from the boat to-morrow morning 8 a.m. Always Steam the stamp off any letter I may send with one on you may find something under it.

We need not Stamp any of our letters now – but must write on the envelope – ON ACTIVE SERVICE WITH A. I. F.

I have made my allotment as follows The pay of Sergts in Service is 10/6 2/- is deferred – nett pay 8/6 I had to do a lot of worrying before

[Page 5]
I could make up my mind what I should draw, then I had to take the advice of others I am drawing 3/6 per day – 5/- per day 35/- per week will be forwarded to you – 2/- per day deferred – I suppose we get that at lump sum – I feel sure that I will not waste 3/6 a day – but I shall soon re-a-djust matters - in such case –

I don’t know what I have written only that I have a few minutes to post this, – make up my bed - & turn in – So must close with best love from your aff – Son & brother
Will A Cull

Sergt ––
No 12 Platoon
"C." Coy
23rd Battn
6th Inf Bde
A. I. F.

[Page 6]
No. 3
At Sea

Dear Dad & All

6 pm on the fourth day of our voyage and I am well again – for since last Sunday – afternoon I have had a deuce of a time – Sea sickness – Im dashed if I know what to write about – we may not mention the name of the ship, the date or our locality – the weather I cannot write about nor the ship – for I don’t know the bow from the stern.

I had my Photo taken before I left. I don’t think that they will be much good. Jack will see that they are sent along to you. You might send me one of each, so that I might see what they are like.

Our clothing and equipment issue is rather complete – Together with the many articles of clothing and equipment with which we are issued – we have a Hold-all containing Razor & Brush – Hair brush & Comb – Knife, Fork & Spoon Tooth-brush, Needles, Cotton etc – I mention this so that you might know how complete is every thing which might lend to our comfort.

In fact it’s a real fat job.

What do you think Dad – "Kings Regulations" provide that, any person who gains his Commission while on Service is entitled to £100.

Something tells me that the "act" will apply to me – at any rate I hope so

[Page 7]
I wrote home to you last [censored] – immediately I got on board, and again [censored] while [censored] I suppose you got them – I have also written to Jack, George, Cecil & Jess – I suppose they got them.

In future my letters to home – (addressed to Dad – will be numbered – this one is No. 3. You will now be able to tell if you receive them all

I would like you to give Tatlock one of the Photos – for I promised him one long ago – I hope you will like the Photos Mum – I don’t think that they will be any good –

I didn’t find out if George got that big job or not. I hope he did.

Before leaving Camp I directed that several articles of mine be sent home – among them is my Sam Brown Belt which Jack was so very anxious that I did not return to Store. Apart from that I have sent home 2 Greatcoats which must be returned – I don’t know if there is anything else – my Cap & Stretcher etc – which I sent home belong to us – The Bed has a leg broken, and the wires a bit bent – but I feel sure some-one at home will be able to mend it for you so that its as good as ever - My box of course I never got, and it had in it – Teeth – & many other things that I wanted –

Tell me when you write – if you got my letters –

Well Dear people I will sign up with best love to All from your aff. Son & brother

[Page 8]
every every every

Rev I Barber officially reported that Pt H. Waters died of wounds 14th Kindly inform father M Waters of Miller St of sad news – & convey regret & sympathy of King & Queen Aust Government in loss sustained by death of his son Kindly write to him you do this reply paid

[Page 9]
No. 4.

Somewhere [squiggle] At Sea

Dear Dad, Mum and All.

A little note to let you know how I am getting on.

I hope that you have all been well at home: I am splendid. As expected, I had a bad time for a few days. As soon as we got through the "Heads" I began, and Oh! You know don’t you?

I have quite got my Sea-legs now, though, and am really enjoying the voyage.

There is nothing much that one may write about: of course you understand it: no names, date, numbers, ports of call or probable ports of call etc. We are getting it very hot now: the nights are terribly close.

I suppose you have the Photo’s by now. I don’t expect them to be any good.

I had no intention of getting them taken in Melbourne. I intended to have them done in Camp.

My sword had been in the Cloak Room at Flinders St, and on my way down for it, I noticed in a photographers window, the Photo of a officer, taken with his sword, in the same manner

[Page 10]
as I afterwards was taken.

Well Dad nothing has been done yet re my rank, or rather nothing material.

But it will be, for I shall never be contented to stop in one place.

I have had to take the buffet, which makes me the more determined to place myself in a position from which I can so some of the buffeting.

I am cram full of hopes and anticipations.

I am, I suppose, what you would call a dreamer, confident though, that I shall not always remain such, for after all my dreams are not so vast nor so infinate that they are beyond human strength and capacity: and so with the help of God, a little of the determination which I think I have, and the opportunities which the service should open up for me, I may yet place Two roses in the chaplet from which one has fallen.

Fight as one may, there is only one real way to succeed, and that is to hold the key to success – (do you follow) for instance Mr Bemrose holds one of the keys – you never held one – Bemrose wanted you to: you know what I mean. I had not intended to worry you with my hopes, but to tell you of them when, and only when they had taken some shape. But looking at the note you put in my hand before when

[Page 11]
I last saw you, I cannot but feel, that my hopes, fears and anticipations are yours, so that it would not be wise for me to have my hopes pent up within myself. Well then, I have great hopes of something – very soon. Within a few weeks time I hope to be able to let you know that I have been fixed up.

Re my pay. I’m not sure if I explained how I alloted it.
10/6 per. diem. 2/- a day deferred pay. [symbol for ‘therefore’] nett pay 8/6
3/6 a day I am keeping back – 5/- a day. you should draw 35/ week.
I think that I shall make a slightly different allotment when we get to our destination. I cannot see yet what I shall want with 3/6 a day. per. Sensible though in case of emergency.

I expect the two Greatcoats were returned to "Warren" were they.

Well dear people, nothing other to write about so will fold this up

Best love to all
From your aff. son & brother
W. A Cull

P.S. always tell me if you have received all my letters. This is No. 4 – & don’t forget to number yours.

Did I win that £500 – you should know by now.

[Page 12]
Platoon Sergt. No 12 Platoon
"C." Coy. 23rd Battn
6th Inf. Bde
On Active Service Abroad with the A. I. F.

[Page 13]
[Envelope; postmarked A.I.F POSTAGE FREE; stamped A.I.F PASSED CENSOR]
[Beside stamp – probably under stamp originally before this steamed off]
On Board
2 days Albany
Good Bye

Mr John F Cull
Bree St

[Page 14]
No. 5

At Sea

Dear Dad Mum & All.

We are about to drop another mail and so, for the fifth time since the commencement of the voyage, I send you my love and the assurance of my own good health. I hope that you are all very well at home.

I’m tip-top and am enjoying the voyage immensely.

Day by day the voyage becomes more interesting and instructive, and I find myself now taking a real live interest in history. I’m afraid Dad that you had better be prepared for me making myself quite a nuisance to you, for when we really get settled down, I shall be asking you to explain in your letters many fine points of Ancient, as well as, perhaps, more modern history. I’ve just been thinking how grand is the history of that old land of Sixty Centuries.

Can you guess why?

It happens that I have read its history, but in a truly casual kind of manner and now that I am beginning to realize and appreciate the greatness of that history, I fell feel that I should know a great deal more about it.

One has only to recall its first date recorded in history 4241 B.C. to form an idea of the astonishing scope of that history.

Shall we go there?

[Page 15]
Great as is its history I trust that "Rumour’s" agency may again prove un-reliable, for I should much prefer to study more closely, the history of THE Isles in the North Sea.

By jove it has been awfully hot.

How dashed strange it all seems: I have only left home a month, yet I have experienced, in a fashion, three of the four changes of the year, which mother nature imposed upon us, when she created the "Seasons".

A few days of "Winter", then a few bright, mild days of "Spring sunshine", while for the past two weeks the oppressive heat of "Summer".

We have had but little news of the War.

How are things now about H’mton, Same as per usual I expect. What are you doing Dad? Have you got anyone in the big house yet.

Tell me how Warren is getting on: he was very anxious to get into the Training Depôt, after completing his month at the School, B’meadows. Did he manage it? Im nearly sure that he hasn’t a chance. I cannot imagine him getting there Of course when he mentioned its it to me, I didn’t care to dis-courage him.

I hope Jack is not worrying himself about that affair, for its not worth it.

We are taught to believe that every thing is done for the best; at anyrate let us hope so

[Page 16]
We have no R.C. chaplain on board: but on Sundays we gather together and say the Rosary, Litany and a few other prayers.

I have left this rather late, and so have not time to write at length.

Well dear people I shall draw this note to a close
with love from your aff. son & brother
W. A. Cull

P. S. I often look at that letter you gave to me, and I’m trying hard to have a Bayard always with me.

Just got news of sinking of Turkish Transport. (Three cheers for good old navy.)

Great Coat numbers
5 5 2

5 7 5

[Page 17]
Just a few Memories, of the Voyage with the 6th Bde – A. I. F.

To Annie & Maggie for Spelling & English

Dear All

Leaving Town pier Port Melbourne about 3’o-clock in the afternoon of May 7th, the T. S. S. "Euripides" with the 23rd and 24th Battns of the 6th Inf. Bde. on board sailed to for a destination, which to rank or file alike, could be no more clearly defined than by the employment of that broad, but acceptable designation, "The Front".

Our sister Troopship the "Ulysses", carrying Bde. Hd. Qrs. and the 21st and 22nd Battns, weighed anchor later in the afternoon.

The "Euripides" Aberdeen line is of 15000 tons and is capable of steaming 15 knots, while the "Ulysses" Blue Funnel line, is of 14 500 tons and is capable of steaming 12 knots. As we drew away from the pier, the Captain of the Ship, who, throughout Embarkation had exercised an excellent outward sufference, must nevertheless have damned most generously that noisy, khaki clad mass of humanity, that clamoured and fought for a position on decks, boats, or rigging, from which they might look the longer on that land from which perhaps fate, and the fortunes of war might decree, that they never return.

That night we lay n the bay, somewhere off Mornington. Early the next morning we passed through the "Heads". Nothing happened worthy of record until the afternoon of Thursday 13th when we anchored for a few hours off Cape Leewin, a steam pinnace taking off our mail. When first we sighted the Westralian Coast, it appeared quite grand, but as we drew close, I found myself wondering what Dad’s first impressions were, when some thirty-eight years ago he set foot on that inhospitable looking land About 8 o’clock that night we weighed anchor.

I believe that it was May 21st that we crossed the Equator.

On the morning of the 25th May we anchored at Colombo. Steaming into the harbour a grand picture unfolded itself for the admiration of the seeing.

Far out to the horizon many little objects silvery in the

[Page 18]
early sunshine, represented as many fishing yaghts, while dancing round us were dozens of crude little craft, with crews of infernally crude looking niggers.

Colombo, seen from the ship, is a delectable place of palms and shrubbery *: which opinion was quite readily confirmed by those few who were fortunate eneough to have spent a couple of hours there. Before noon we had commenced coaling: after coaling through-out the night, we were able by 5 o’clock on the afternoon of the 26th to commence another stage of our voyage.

It was as good as a play watching the niggers coaling: as the coal barges came alongside, one simply roared with laughter for the barges were packed with these chattering, black-faced, milky-toothed beggars, whose professed civilization has not, at least, to any very appreciable degree, affected their manner of dress.

They commenced their begging almost immediately they came alongside: without a doubt begging is a profession with them. Silver simply rained down upon the barges for a time. only for a while though: the cunning black beggars then thought to revive this foolish generosity, by lustily rendering that which seems to me to be both their 99th Psalm, and National Anthem :– "Ta Ra Ra Bom De A".

Their singing brought no coin so that they called out and signed to us to throw "Munish" in the water and watch them "die" (dive) for it.

They are very clever at this diving, never miss a coin. For hours then we would listen to this monotonous chant of "die, die, die, die, me die Mistah".

It was fine sport watching them squabbling over the ownership or just division of the coins.

Their shrill voice tones and extravagent wealth of gesticulation would certainly have lead one to believe (had they been Europeans instead of niggers) that some blood-letting affray was imminent.

Not so with them: in another moment all the heat of the discussion was over, the ownership or division of the coin was satisfactorily settled, and they too had joined in the general chorus, "Munish Mistah, Munish Mistah" They always carry with them a little of the betel nut and leaf, which they chew in order to preserve their teeth.

It was at Colombo that we dropped our third mail.

[Page 19]
Two of our men were buried at Colombo, while six others off the "Euripides" died while we were crossing the Indian Ocean and of course were buried at Sea.

We were steaming through the Red Sea when we awoke on the morning of June 2nd, having passed Aden during the night. We passed the Islands of Perim, (fortified) The Twelve Apostles, The Brothers & through Hell’s gate: On Sunday evening 6th we passed the Shedwell Islands.

On the morning of Monday 7th the most beautiful picture revealed itself that ever one could wish to see.

A sea picture in deep blue with a frame work in beautiful contrast of color.

It was as though one watched a cinematograph screen. The rising sun lent to the rugged African coast on the West a rich golden tint while to the East even the sandy waste of the Arabian desert seemed to hold some extraordinary beauty.

It was truly a fine sight; one that I shall not forget.

A British and a French light cruiser were in the Port. During that day sand-bags were hoisted on the Bridge Machine Guns were mounted on the Fore-well deck, and a Guard was posted on the Sun-deck: it was expected that we might get a shot at a Turk during our passage through the Canal.

7 o’clock on the morning of the 8th we entered the Canal. We saw much to interest us: after being on the ship for four weeks without hardly seeing land, it was quite a pleasurable change to steam along, with land so close on either side.

For a while the chaps would almost climb over one in order to see a camal –

A great number of English and Indian troops are posted along the Canal –

We were greeted by each unit, with loud cheers, to which we loudly responded, and to the opening question of "who are you", we answered with one proud voice "Australians".

We passed a British and a French light cruiser on a small lake in the Canal (one of the Bitter Lakes) We dropped anchor at Port Said about 9.30 that night. The following morning I was on deck by reveille, taking in all I could see.

Three British and three French Cruisers were in the Port We each give the other the General Salute, the French-man

[Page 20]
take the General Salute playing, "God Save the King", while we return the honor with the "Marsaillaise".

It was intended that we should pull out of the Port about 4 o’clock that afternoon, but it happened that a small steamer was sunk just in front of us, so that we were delayed until a passage was cleared a little farther down. We weighed anchor the following morning – June 11th . At Port Said we were told to have out Equip. ready so that we might, if necessary, dis-embark in an hours notice.

Many believed that this would mean a route march at Alexandria, while a few guessed that we should dis-embark at Alexandria to commence our training.

I believe that I was counted among the few, although I hoped that I might be wrong.

We arrived at Alexandria on the night of the 10th and because of the great number of transports in the port, we were unable to dis-embark before the morning of the 12th – Saturday. I’m quite sure that at least 57 steamers were in the Port, the greater number of them being transports.

One looks with a strange feeling on a City with the history of Alexandria.

I thought of how about 300 B.C. Alexander after taking over Egypt then a Persian province (that is, after his conquest of Persia) choose a little town for his capital which he re-named after himself "Alexandria", & so to create one of THE present time Cities of the World: of how Egypt came under the rule of Arabia, after the conquest of "Alexandria" about 600 A.D.: of Napoleon storming "Alexandria" about 1800 supposedly but not truly in the interest of Turkey: of how the British were driven out of Alexandria, by the Turks, under Mohammed Ali, in the year 1807 –

We entrained on the pier, so was unable to see as much of the City as I should have wished. It is, I believe, about 80 miles from Alexandria to Cairo –

We de-trained at Zeitoun about 8 mile North of Cairo and marched into our Camp at "Heliopolis" (City of the Sun) about five o’clock in the afternoon –

"Heliopolis" is about six or seven mile from Cairo. North.

Annie may punctuate* and correct my spelling and English in her spare time – – I shall give you my impressions of this place when next I write. I have written this note in record time, for the mail is about to close, & I have not had the chance of writing before this.

[Written vertically, in left-hand margin:]
I should now be writing up notes, for I am behind with them; so that you understand that this is a memory in the rough, and nothing more.

Best love to all –
Your aff. Son & brother

[Page 21]
No 10 "Heliopolis" Egypt

[From] W A Cull
23rd [Batt. .. Reg’t] "C" [Coy.]
Tenth letter

Dear Dad Mum & All.

Your 3rd letter dated 31st May to hand.

I received the Photos which I think are a [squiggle] able – I hope that you have torn all the full length ones up, I don’t like the sword, it looks ass-ish – if you can make out what ass-ish is – you supposed that I should write on the 26th for despatch from the region of Colombo:

You could not have calculated more accurately: we were at Colombo on the 26th and I posted a letter from there, which you must have received about 16th June – Of course it had to be written a few days before we reached Colombo.

Thank you for news cuttings, very interesting –

I have told George to send you a Copy of the Evening Echo Saturday May 22nd – McGrath is responsible for a most interesting para. appearing in that paper, entitled " Social Influence". It is well worth reading

Re pay I am now drawing 3/5 per day – one whole penny less – consequence of allotment decided on by Defence Department – Sergts 3/5 –

We have completed our course of Instruction, which at least was a good refresher course.

There are certainly a number of new points we have learnt, more particularly with regard to Entrenching with Small Tools, Field Fortifications generally & Bayonet Fighting.

[Page 22]

Dad I want you to keep, for reference, a record of my Service – I may want it when I go back and I don’t wish to forget all the dates. For instance .. Training Recruits – Broadmeadows – commenced 23rd Novr 14. – Officers Training School – B’meadows – approx. 28th Jany. to 26th Feb. – Training recruits – 27th Feb. to 7th May – 15 – Three weeks course of Ins. at Zeitoun, Egypt 26th June to 17th July Commandant of School – Major Coulston – Grenadier Guards – I shall leave it to you, for you know my service as well as I do myself.

I would just about have arrived in England now, had I had recourse to follow my intentions and book by the PO boat "Commonwealth", which was to leave about 6th June –

I now have, at least, the satisfaction of knowing that I would not have been turned down there: an offer of a Commission in the Regular Army, too

I feel sure that before this note reaches you you will have got a cablegram from me stating that I have won my Commission in the Australian Imperial Force –

I have been advised by the Adj of my Regt not to go to England that I should have my Commission with the A I. F. in a few days – Dad, have you any idea what part of England Major Fleming is stationed

If you get any letters from me, stamped, or with stamp paper on them steam them off carefully, give the stamps to Jack or anyone else –

Don’t forget -

I forgot to number my last few letters, but I fancy this is no. 10 We shall call it 10

[Page 23]

I saw a copy of an old Hamilton Spec – in which appears extracts from a letter from "Swing Cross" – it is characteristic of "Swing" says the Spec (So I should say) He writes of how he will be into it in a week or two now – and the Spec remarks that this how "Swing" would talk of his favourite pastime football –

I had to smile for the letter was written early in May, yet "Swing" is here now as large as life, at least I was speaking to him about three weeks ago, and his temperature was not then above normal –

Jim, Henry, Maston, Moore, Coulter and I believe quite a number of other Hamiltonians who left Aus. with the 1st Contingent are still here They are with the Army Service Corps –

Buchanan is with the Signallers – I have seen him a couple of times

Captn Brazenor is a Briton – He’s an officer that I am content to follow

He has told me that I should soon be fixed up and "by heavens," he said "I hope you are fixed up with me for I want you –"

I can tell you I am dead anxious to stay with him I have every confidence in him and I think that he has in

I am in a fine platoon, the best in the Coy real grand crew of men, and they think that the Sun shines in me –

Lt Ward is our platoon commander [indecipherable] he is a very decent kind –

[Page 24

We are quite settled down now and our work is not monotonous –

Seven and a half hours work each day ie Reveille 5 a.m 1st parade 6. a.m to 9 a.m. – Breakfast – 2nd parade Lectures – 10.30 to 12 noon – Lunch – 3rd parade 5 pm to 8 p.m – and the time between parades to your-Self is not conductive to vapours –

We have a good Sergts. Mess –

It is rumoured now that we shall go to France There is also great talk of our going very soon, but I put it down to wind –

My tip is that we shall go about 2nd week in Sept but I have no idea where we shall go unless it is "Gallipoli". I would like to go to Flanders – Next time I write I must give you my impressions of this place in detail & relate some of my experiences

Love to all
from Your aff Son & brother
W A Cull

[Page 25]
"Heliopolis. Camp
Egypt – 4-7-15

Dear Dad Mum & All

Yours dated 21st and 22nd May received yesterday – June 3rd. Referring to yours of 21st – I’m jolly sorry that you were caught for 13/- I gave a chap 2/6 to pay goods rate on that trunk: he has evidently pocketed the 2/6 in addition to the tip which I gave him.

As for Camp bed and parcel: well the chap whom I left them with to send home had eight shillings belonging to me – and the least I expected of him was to pay goods rate on these things

Thank you for the little packet: I was glad to get it: fortunately I had no accident with my "upperwork"

Did I tell you of the chap, who was

[Page 26]

rejected, at Victoria Barracks, as Med. Unfit on account of his "Upperworks"

Well he was not to be beaten on the post so went along to the P.M.Os building and after a little trouble, the P.M.O. initialed his papers: he was then able to return to the barracks and Sign on.

Re your proposed visit: I’m sure that we may arrange with the Aerial authorities to respect your conveya[nce] I would advise that you have paint on the wings something of a distinctive character, such, for instance as the "Kaiser" impaled upon the "Tride[nt"]
I have just received the answer to my cable dated from the "War Office" Apr 15th-15 and dated on from Broadmeadows 1-6-15.

The reply is as follows:–

[Page 27]

War office
London SW
15th Apr. 1915.


In reply to your cable-gram dated 10th instant. I am directed to forward the enclosed Forms M.T. 391B and 393, and inform you that if you return to England and are eligible in every respect, an application from you for a tem. Commission in the Army will receive careful consideration, but the best course for you to pursue would be to offer your services to the Military Authorities of the Australian Commonwealth and endeavour to obtain a Commission with the Australian Force –
I am
Your obedient servant
(Sgd) A. H. Farquharson
for/ Director of Military Training

Lieutenant Cull

[Page 28]

Form M.T/391 B:– is conditions to be fulfilled by candidates for 1st appointment to Tem commission for the period of the war. Form M.T/393 is – Application for appointment to Temporary Commission in the Regular Army, for the period of the war – The conditions, I fancy I could have fulfilled without trouble.

I have already caused quite a Stir with my offer, from the Imperial Authorities of a Commission in the Regular Army – I am now doing a three weeks course of Instruction at "Zeitoun". Sixteen N.C.Os from each of the four Battns. were selected. I have a good chance of getting my Commission out of it –

Our Instructors, Imperial men, have all been to the war.
Their names are:–
Commandant – Major Coulston –, Grenadier Guards

[Page 29]

Adj. Captain Cooke, Connaught Rangers
Ast Adj Lieut. Clarke, Dublin Fusiliers
Corpl. Major Shead, Royal Horse Guards
Sergt Chick, Scots Guards -
" Geraghty, Welsh Regt -
" Miller, Notts & Derby Regt -
Machine Gun – Sgt. Major Jones, Royal Horse Guards
Signallers – " " Merrick, Border Regt

The officers were through the great retreat from "Mons" and, I think, most of the N.C.Os were as well –

It was promised us faithfully, before we went to the School that, we would at the end of the course, be sent back to our Regts – that we need not worry about missing the Bde

It is now rumoured that a number of us may have to stay behind to help train the next mob – nothing official of course –

I shall throw stones, if I am told to remain. – OVER –

[Page 30]

I am very anxious to make my debut, and that if possible by my 21st birthday.

We are told that we may make a move at any time –

Well, I’m having a grand time, I couldn’t feel better – I can wish for only one thing more – and that is to quickly join the hunt for "Balkan Buns".

I have been all over Cairo, the dirty filthy place – "Heliopolis" is much nicer than "Cairo"

I have been to many places of interest – included among them being the Pyramides, the Zoo at Giza, the Native Bazaar & some Mosques – I am now about to visit the "Citadel" and some of more Mosques also the "Mesrian" Next week I may go for a trip

[Page 31]

down the Nile – I shall visit the Old City of "Memphis" and the Step Pyramides.

Well dear people I must close for my friend with me has just informed me that the mail is just cleared – I shall hurry & I may catch it yet –
Your aff. Son & brother
W. A. Cull

P.S. Mum’s birthday on 29th – Many happy returns of the day

Sunday 11th
I was not able to catch the mail on the 4th and have not even had the time since to write you a good letter – I may have strained a point and written you a letter of interest but

[Page 32]
I determined that you would consider it more of interest to know later that I had, been putting in some good work, when while I should otherwise have been only anticipating the good work – Well, I have been putting in some good work.

So far we have had four exams –
In 1st Musketry I got 89&percnt:
In 2nd " " " 100&percnt:
I was the only candidate out of either Officers or N.C.O Class to get 100&percnt: in 2nd musketry.
In Drill – Company Drill I got 98&percnt: & for a general appearance 95%.

I feel sure that I shall get my Com. Five officers are being sent back – incompetence & one is going back (Cold Feet.)

[In left-hand margin:]
Do excuse this fright of a letter, but I’m being hurried –
Your aff. Son Bill.

[Page 33]
Egypt 1.8.15

Dear Dad Mum & All.

Your No. 5 dated 20.6.15 to hand last Thursday 29.7.15.

I intended writing a few days before this, but could not get a moment to myself.

I should be annoyed but not supprised if I am too late for this mail even now.

Yesterday was my birthday, thanks for your good wishes am glad you have all been well, I am splendid.

Yes, dad, as you say, t’would be truly grand if we could meet to talk over all that I have seen, and we shall, that is , as soon as this little work that we are engaged with is completed.

’Tis a lengthy subject, for I have been all eyes since leaving Australia.

You are right, t’would not be worth while sending either papers or socks, the camp is unindated with papers, and as for socks, well I fancy that we are surely the finest clothed and equiped troops in the world.

Yes t’would appear criminal that there should be industrial unrest at a time when every fibre of the

[Page 34]
the nation should be strained together in one direction. I do hope there is no strike in Jacks trade.

I am sending you another "School Certificate" gained at the Zeitoun School. 94&percnt:.

Our work is of a very solid nature now, not much time for any thought, other than military thought.

I have not seen a quarter yet of what I should like to see here our time is so taken up.

Reveille 5 a.m. 1st parade 6 a.m. till 9 a.m. – Breakfast 9.15 2nd parade – Lectures 10.30 till 12 noon. Lunch 1.30 pm. 3rd parade 5 p.m. till 7.30 p.m.

Saturday is a half day, and on Sunday we are usually finished after church parade unless of course we happen on Guard or other Battalion or Brigade duty.

Bivouac is getting a regular part of our training now. On two occasions within two weeks we have marched out in the desert, probably six mile, and bivouaced for the night, carrying out a very strenuous exercise the following morning.

I appears that we shall not get away for another two month yet. Two occassions now while on manoeuvre a certain N.C.O – Sergt in my "C" company 23rd has been given a unit, with the injunction, you know the work, take this unit and carry on. On both occasions a Subaltern, and by the way, one who gained his Com at B’meadows inspired by his own profound knowledge, has [indecipherable]

[Page 35]
his frame in – the result – a d-d mix up. In the second case our force was fighting a rear guard action – the N.C.O was sent on the extreme left of the position with his unit.

When the action developed it was seen that the enemys whole movement was directed against our left flank, they made a desperate attempt to turn our left and so repeat our performance when they were fighting the rear guard action on the previous occassion. During that action we turned their left and took up an entrenched position directly in rear of them, thus completely surrounding them.

During this last action they could not manage the turning movement, and indeed admit that they were badly beaten. The Brigadier said that our action was just as he wished it to be, and the N.C.O who carried out the action on the extreme left was complimented by his Coy Officers.

This is where the fun comes in – the Sub aforementioned was sent back from our first defensive position in order that he might select our successive defensive positions. During the retirement he wanted to make the N.C.O take up positions which were altogether ridiculous, failing to manage this he gave the Sergt an order to detach a Section under its section commander; to take up this impossibly ridiculous position a position from which, the Sgt told him, they would surely

[Page 36]
be annihilated.

They were under two fires and it was a position impossible to retire from.

Later on he sent this section, of dead men, to take up a position which he considered to, be, the last defensive position, the position the whole force were, according to him, to make their last stand.

If Bob were to select such a position, I should feel like kicking him.

It was an isolated hill, and at most could only hold a section, and a position quite impossible to retire from When the Sgt retired to his last defensive position, he found his captain there and so reported to him why the other section had been left behind.

Just imagine what a sane man would say – and our Cap is a sane man.

You can imagine that something happened the Sub to cause this glorified being to approach the N.C.O on the march in – You know, he said, I didn’t wish to take the control of the unit out of your hands.

The Sgt – Excuse me Sir, I think that you did, I was at one time an officer, and if I detailed men to do a certain job and a N.C.O superceded me in that com[mand] I should know what to do with the N.C.O. (Sub, grasping at that which appears to him a last straw) Oh well

[Page 37]
I can’t see through your action, I cant follow your retirement from a tactical point at all.

(Sgt) No Sir – possibly you cant I was guided in my action by the elementary principle of tactics: you were not. Continuing the discussion the N.C.O pretended not to know that the Sub had detailed the Section Commander to take his section to the hill which he considered his last defensive position (as it truly would have been). and so remarked:– That which annoyed me most of all was the absolute stupidity of Corpl. – in taking his section to that hill where he was so easily surrounded, retreat was impossible, an awfully stupid thing to do.

Oh! Sgt C – I told him to go there, you see I thought – (Sgt) Excuse me Sir, Im sorry – (Sub) You see I thought – (Sgt) Yes Sir I quite follow – It is an awfully elastic subject, Tactics.

Well the outcome of the affair is that in future – no officer below the rank of the officer who details this Sgt. for any duty, is to interfere with him in any way. On manoeuvres he will practically have a lone hand at least he will not have any suggestions from the majority of Subalterns. It is only the aforesaid impossible who would interfere, the other officers know this N.C.O and of what he is capable –

[Page 38]
I hope that you can glean a little from this note, it is a real scribble, but I cant help it, for I am called out on some duty or other every other minute

A rough Schetch is attached, I’m sure you will find it a real puzzle, I’m sorry that I have not the time to make a good Sketch, or to explain it as fully as it should be.

Love to all
from your aff. Son & brother
W A Cull

[Page 39]
A A 1st Defensive Line.
B N.C.O with his unit on extreme left.
xxxxxx Main part of our force on first retirement & the successive retirements
C Position taken up by N.C.O after his first retirement.
E ….. " " " " Enemy " our first retirement.

Notice. That N.C.O on Hill "C" can enfilade enemy at position "E".

N.C.O sent out Scouts from HILL "C" in direction of HILL "D"
Scouts soon reported large body of enemy marching down VALLEY F
N.C.O them immediately swung section round to position marked G G from which position they command HILL "D" and at same time swings remainder of unit to Slope of HILL "C" marked "S".

Had they not been swung round in that manner preparatory to appearance of ENEMY at "D" probably not a man should have been left alive to retire.
G is not under the fire of ENEMY at E (protected by HILL. C.)

Next retirement was to position "H" from which position was screened from the fire of Enemy at "E" by hills on our right & so it was possible to direct every effective rifle at Enemy "D" who has now begun to make their desperate attempt to turn our left.

At this juncture the Glorified Being appeard, and said that position H was wrong & that the position taken up should be at "I".

If you follow, on sketch, the dotted line, between "I" and position D you will readily see that HILL "C" would have afforded masked any fire from position "I" and would thus have afforded and easy and covered line of advance for enemy "D"

He succeeded though in detaching me of my sections and sending them to position "J" from which position they could have been enfiladed by enemy at "D" at the same time they were under direct fire of Enemy at "E".

All the impossible [squiggle] could think of was the enemy on the right – the fact that we had dead ground on our right, caused him concern – exactly what wat was wanted, our job was on the left – to prevent the turning movement –

When enemy had worked over hall HILL "D" into valley. K. N.C.O immediately retired to position "L" – During this retirement the glorified being came to light again and detached his section of "dead men" making them

[Page 40]
take up the position which he considered … (as it truly would have been) the last defensive position – that is hill marked M

They would have been all shot down trying to retire, or of cou[rse] captured if they held on.

Last retirement as shown on sketch – to position "N." which provides an excellent field of fire, – a terribly hard position to take.

I know how terribly hard it will be for you to decipher the schetch, it is such a bad one, – or for you to glean anything from these scribbled notes, they are so hurried.

My caligraphy should be evidence in point of the little time at my disposal.

W A Cull

[Page 41]

Mr John. F. Cull
Bree St.,

[ [indecipherable] CAPTAIN
"C" COY. 23rdt Battn.]

[Page 42]
No 12

Egypt 13.8.15

Dear Dad Mum & All.

Your letter dated July 6th. came to hand to-day.

I cannot imagine why the papers were not allowed to publish the fact that we disembarked at Alexandria on June 12th.

I can think of very little to write about unless I continue on the above and give you a rough idea of what I have seen since dis-embarkation on at Alexandria on June 12th.

It was a grand run for some eighty miles along the bank of that grand & ancient and river the river which for generations has supported and fed the oldest of all civilizations supplying all their wants. The greater part of the country over which we passed was beautifully mantled in deep green, the mud villages like an inky smudge on an oil painting, seemingly set there to mar an otherwise almost incomparable picture. (Tis that alright – as Garvice would put it)

We passed miles of, what I believe was, Maize and Cotton fields.

[Page 43]
The palms looked so stately and grand – Sixty to eighty feet high they stand, slender, slim, and dusky-stemmed and high up at the top of the trees stretch the glorious fern like fronds of foliage.

I saw the Egyptians plowing: they still scratch up the flats with the same old stile of wooden plow that was used 5000 years ago.

At Kafr Zayat, a great native centre we got our first view of the Nile; the railway crossing is on a high iron bridge.

Tantah, which is about half way to Cairo is a large and important native city.

A famous and holy saint, Seyyid Ahmed el-Bedawi, is buried here, and pilgrims come from all over the Moslem world to visit his tomb.

There are three annual fairs to his honor, of which the most important is in this month, August, to commemorate his birthday.

Benha, is the next large place, the junction of the railway to Port Said and Suez.

After leaving Benha, all eyes are looking for the Pyramids, which, though seven miles beyond Cairo, loom up presenting on the horizon to the left of the railway line.

Within a few moments the main station is reached – in the

[Page 44]
heart of Egypts metropolis.

Situate about six miles from Cairo, on the edge of the desert is the celebrated rival of Thebes – "Heliopolis" (City of the Sun); here our camp is pitched within a quarter of a mile of the "Heliopolis" – "Cairo" electric tram.

Heliopolis, held a great reputation and was recorded I believe as the centre of religion and philosophy which is explained by the fact that the greatest sages of Greece, Herodotus and Plato came to stay here.

All that remains now of ancient Heliopolis is a single Obelisk.

The Heliopolis of to-day has sprung up within the last few years.

The finest hotel in all Egypt and, I believe, one of the finest in the world is the Heliopolis palace Hotel which is now – No. 1 Australian General Hospital. The interior of this building is simply magnificent. The lamps, which I believe come from Damascus, are said to form a collection unequalled for beauty and number in any other building in the East, and that the cost of these accessories alone would have been sufficient to build an ordinary hotel.

The interior decoration is truly magnificent.

[Page 45]
The quickest and most comfortable manner to get to Cairo from Heliopolis is by the "Metropolitan", an electric railway which covers the distance in about 12 minutes. Modern Cairo is described as covering the quarter of "Abbassieh" called after the Khedive Abbas I who laid out part of it himself.

Shoubra, north of Cairo, about three miles from the Capital is a splendid palace, built by Mahommed Aly, and beautifully laid out gardens abound on the bank of the Nile.

To the West of Cairo is Boulac, the Nile harbour supposed one of the biggest business centres in Egypt in connection with river borne produce.

Opposite to Boulac is the Ghezireh Island on which Ismail Pasha built a magnificent palace, since turned into an hotel.

To pass from Boulac to Ghezereh you cross the Kasr-el-Nil bridge, a wonderfully fine bridge.

To the East of Boulac is the Ismailia Quarter which covers the Opera Square and the Esbekieh Gardens, a regular rendervous for Europeans and better class Egyptians. I have spent pleasant hours in the Esbekieh Gardens; its almost a physical relief to see some flowers or a patch of living green, here, in this desolate emptiness of Sand.

[Page 46]
The equestrian statue of Ibrahim Pasha facing the gardens served as a landmark for many of us as new arrivals.

To the West of the Gardens in Moushy Street is the Egyptian Bazaar, a real delirium of bustle: here one may spend and interesting if not profitable hour. It is here where the chief oriental curiosities, Oriental and Persian Carpets, silks, etc. can be bought. Bargaining is of course essential and incidental to business in these bazaars, or indeed the great majority of native business places, 50% being the usual discount from the first price asked.

The intimation "Special prices for Soldiers" is a decoration which appears prominently on almost every business place: one soon learns t give a very wide interpretation to the phrase.

As a result of the men of the first contingent scorning the Milleme the Egyptian deals now only in piastres, the men to suffer most as a result of this is the unfortunate British Tommy, whose pay is so small.

To be contd

[Page 47]
I am called on duty so must cut my note short. What I have given you is only a rough introduction – I have yet to tell you about the People – Native Quarter Pyramids, Mosques, Zoo at Giza, Museum and many other things of interest.

Thank you so much for sprig of wattle; I showed it to my cobbers, and was at once noted "a lucky beggar". The arrival of each mail revives a keen rivalry amongst us: one hopes for a greater number of letters than the other, and the chap who is the unlucky one, and gets the least number generally swears by his own name, that so many of his letters have gone astray.

I shall continue this, next Tuesday, for I shall be on Guard untill to-morrow night (Monday).

Our mail closes in ten minutes so that, I shall send so much of a letter this mail, the remainder will follow.

I think that this may be our last mail from Egypt It is thought that we shall go away in about a weeks time. I hope so, at any rate.

I am
your very aff. son & bro.
W A Cull

[Page 48]
contd from last letter

Undoubtedly the great attraction for us a new arrivals was the Ghizeh Pyramids.

On the journey to these gigantic Pharaonic tombs we cross the great Nile bridge, Kasr-el-Nil bridge, stretching its length of 400 yards to Ghizereh Island. Early in the morning you may see crowds of natives pass over this bridge trudging on their way to the markets with their various wares. Camels, many almost disappearing under vast loads of maize or other merchandise, with mules and donkeys pulling strangely constructed two-wheeled carts move on towards the city in long almost un-interrupted procession.

In the afternoon for certain hours, the bridge displays another phase, being closed to traffic and opened to let through the river craft.

It is a wonderfully fine bridge.

Its a nice drive along the Pyramid road which is lined on both sides with high shady trees and terminates at the now famous "Mena House Hotel", which is directly facing the great pyramid of "Cheops".

[Page 49]
[Note written in different hand on reverse side of page 47:]
Private Cecil Cull takes this opportunity of saying Goodb[ye] to his many friends – acquantances & football comrades – he ha[s] gone to join comrades men who have already "turned up" and hopes to see many more " In the Call" in the more noble struggle for freedom

[Page 50]
It was intensely hot the day on which I visited the Pyramids, and for that reason I didn’t climb to the top. I do intend to make the climb the first chance I get. The entrance to the interior of the pyramid is about 50 feet from the ground.

Its wonderful inside: a long weary passage leads to the Queens chamber and higher still to the Kings chamber It is necessary for one’s own safety to take his boots off before making the entrance, even then one must exercise great caution for the Passages being of marble with only a very shallow step about every three feet, a slip or a false step, and you go down headlong for many feet – quite far enough to break your watch-glass

Close to the Pyramids and facing Cairo his features greatly mutilated stands "Mr Spinks", as the natives call the Sphinx, searching as it seems for doomsday, stareing into endless futurity.

Of course you know that it was hewn out of the living rock. The length of the body of the Sphinx is about 150 feet. The head is about 30 feet long and the face 14 feet wide. From the top of the head to the base of the body is about 70 feet. The paws are about 50 feet in length.

Near the Sphinx is a large granite and limestone temple known as the temple of the Sphinx.

[Page 51]
Statues of Chephren, now in Cairo Museum, were found at the bottom of a big well in this temple.

My guide got himself into an awful scrape here: he would chip off a piece of granite as a keepsake for the "Effendi" and was unfortunately caught in the act by the Arab guardian.

The shining eyes of the old Arab and his vehemence of gesticulation, I thought heralded something more serious than any ordinary dis-agreement, and so warranted my intervention. I got between them and then delivered an ultimation to my guide – "Emshi Yalla" – which means in Arabic – Get out quickly. He obeyed quickly! telling me later of how he must get revenge for such insult to his family (by the Arab)

(I have got the piece of granite which I must send home to you)

Possibly next of interest is the Citadel and Mosques. The Citadel which dominates the Cairo, was constructed 1166 A.D. by order of Saladin and formed the key of a system of fortifications built by him for the protection of Cairo. I made two visits to the Citadel; it was very interesting. I spent a long time talking to the Indian soldiers in the Citadel hospital: they are a fine body of men, men that have been fighting at the Dardanelles – Sihks, Ghurkas and Punjaubas. The Ghurkas are small men with hair close cropped – The Sihks and Punjaubas are very big men.

[Page 52]
The Mosque of Mahommed Aly, situated in the centre of the Citadel, was commenced in 1824, in the reign of Mahommed Aly and was completed during the reign of Said Pasha, in 1857.

It was designed by a Greek architect after the style of the famous church of St. Sophia of Constantinople I’m told that the architects eyes were afterwards put out to prevent his designing a duplicate of the building elsewhere. The interior of this Mosque, known either as Mahommed Aly Mosque or the Alabaster Mosque, is simply gorgeous, so richly decorated.

In one angle of the Mosque is the tomb of Mahommed Aly, surrounded by a beautiful railing. The Columns and walls are of pure Alabaster hence the name of Alabaster Mosque, by which it is generally known.

One of the Mosques, known as the Ibn Kaloun, dates from 1317 A.D a large enclosed court at the Alabaster Mosque is paved with pure Alabaster: you can just imagine how fine it is. About the centre of the court is aWell, known as the "Well of Joseph", which is not named after the biblical Joseph but in compliment to Saladin’s first name which was "Yussuf", or "Joseph".

This well, sunk by the ancient Egyptians is about 300 feet deep and is sunk to the level of the Nile.

[Page 53]
The narrow road by which we ascend to the Citadel was pointed out as the scene of the Massacre of the Mamelukes which took place in the Year 1811, by order of Mahommed Aly, the only Mameluke who succeeded in getting away, jumped over the battlements about 50 feet down, making his escape.

I stood on the battlements at the place the Mameluke jumped over; I’m satisfied the poor beggar deserved his escape –

Another great Mosque is that of Ahmed Ebn Tooloon. I’m told that it was built a century before Cairo was, it took three years to build and cost £72000. It stands on the spot which according to Moslem tradition was the hill on which Noah’s Ark rested after the Great flood. The Mosque of Sultan Hassan, dating from 1357, is perhaps the finest in the City.

It is built in the form of a cross; the interior decoration is superb.

it is said that the Architects hands were cut off to prevent him designing a duplicate.

Mosques can only be entered with slippers over the boots, which can be had at the door for a piastre.

The tombs of the Khalifs and Mamelukes are situated to the north of the Citadel.

I have not yet had time to look through the Museum: I must take the first opportunity to have a look through.

[Page 54]
It is an immense building neat the Kasr el Nil bridge, and cost over £200000.

I must make a visit to the Nilometer on Rodah Island: the Nilometer is the barometer for measuring the rise of the Nile. I have not yet visited Sakkarah and Memphis so can write little about it other than that the ancient Capital of "Kemi", is about 14 miles from the present Capital and that the famous Step Pyramids are at Sakkarah.

The bulk of the people belong to the agricultural class, the Fellaheen.

They live in mud villages, filthy little hovels, in which goats and fowls herd together with them. Among their most prized possessions are the pigeons which they keep in a dovecot in the roofs. Their dress is a garbadine of many colours – any kind of old rag round their head, while their footwear is conspicuous by its absence.

An introduction to these native people and their customs is calculated to provide more laughter than the play "Charlie’s Aunt". Almost as soon as we pass out of our lines a number of donkey boys surround us shouting

Varry good donk, Sarshant Major; Varry good, varry nice.
"You have this donk, Sir."
They generally address us with the next higher rank.

Just to hear the donkeys braying: they posess a throat structure which enables them to emit roars quite as loud as those of lions or jaguars. Two or three donkeys are equivalent in vocal accomplishment to a menagerie at feeding –time.

On the streets we see some funny sights –
Here squatting like hens by the wayside, crying the value of their respective wares a number of filthy native men or women, or more amusingly still – big strong looking natives with possibly six boxes of matches as their sole stores, others with a water melon or a basket of tomatoes perched on their head or still others who hope to make their fortunes by the sale of their ten piastres worth of postcards, move lazily up and down the streets singing some awful Arabic dirge.

Then again some filthy old clod from the banks of the Nile will hold unpleasantly close to you, a string of very high smelling birds – these dirty looking over-ripe birds, are "For Sale".

It is nothing unusual to see a native cutting a fowls head off on the footpath, or indeed urinating in the streets is not uncommon. Hard to imagine isn’t it – such filth – Take my word for it though, for I’ve seen it.

[Page 56]
Or you wonder how these women with the faces half hidden by a veil, can move along so easily balancing on their heads that large basket of eggs.

Once in the street you get no peace from the bootshines until your boots are cleaned.
"Cleaner Buts, Sir, half piastre – no good, no money."

Then to the accompaniment of a jingle of bells and strange cries a donkey decked out in necklace of glass beads and stamped brass discs is steered along the crowded street by a soldier in khaki, his driver trotting along by his side, paddling along in the dust with his hard pancake feet.

The sanitary system is deplorable.

As a matter of fact the only sanitary provision in most places is a pit in the basement. This I’m told, is supposed to be cleaned every six weeks or so. The smell from some of the old places can be noticed even in the streets and the people inside must live in a constant atmosphere of it.

Those are the dirty beggars who might next moment be on the streets offering for sale fruits, drinks and cakes.

To clean strawberries, for instance, a salesman will put them into his mouth, lick them all round, and lay them on green leaves, and with larger fruit’s and

[Page 57]
vegetables, if water does not happen to be handy, (it is laid to their charge), they will not hesitate to use a much filthier method.

For this reason I generally avoid fruit that cannot be peeled, and buy only from Europeans.

Many other places things I could tell you of this place and its people, had I the time to write it down

To wind up I shall give you my own and a Territorials impression of Egypt in a few words.

I can best describe Egypt as "A land of high temperatures and low morals, while Cairo is in every respect truly its Capital".

A territorials Impression of Egypt, entitled, "Sand" is –

’Oh mentioned and! Soft searchin’ sand,
As trickles through yer pockets,
That clings arahnd yer as yer stand,
An, clogs yer joints an’ sockets.
There’s sand in ’eaps, and sand in piles,
An’ sand in shiftin’ ridges,
It’s sand an’ sand for miles an’ miles,
An’ wot ain’t sand is midges.

Wot! Margit! Margit, beach is just a
A little sort o’ sprinkle
You’d lose the lot in this ’ere dust
Unless you spied a winkle.

[Page 58]
An’ bathing! W’y Rud Kipling’s pen
Would fail its charms to scribble.
We bathes all day exceptin when
The sharks is on the nibble.

Its prime to see the crocodiles
A-basking on their tummies,
While all the fellaheen beguiles
Their time in fakin’ mummies.
And if our grub weren’t sand and stuff
We’d say no place ’ud beat it
We likes old Egypt well enough –
But not enough to eat it.

Love from your aff. son & brother
W A Cull

[Page 59]
Egypt 20.815

Dear Dad, Mum & All

This is possibly the last note that I shall write to you from Egypt, before embarking for Gallipoli.

In my own mind I believe that we shall be here for another two long weeks yet.

The fifth brigade moved off five days ago – last Sunday: it was generally believed that they were to go straight to Gallipoli, but I believe that they are still at Alexandria, awaiting the rest of the Division.

At last I believe that I can send you some real good news. I have been selected, from a number of applicants in the 23rd Battn., for my commission. Major Knox who is acting C.O of the 23rd Battn. and who will soon have command – since Colonel Morton, is, unfortunately found to be not physically strong enough for service, recommended me very strongly.

I was then paraded, by the Major, to the Brigadier, who in turn saw fit to recommend me to the General – General Legge The Brigadier remarked upon my action, Enlisting for Service

[Page 60]
in the ranks & so forfeiting a Commission as praise-worthy. I wish to tell you, he said, that I think no less of you for it.

The Major told me that I can consider my Commission a certainty. For myself, – to say the least, – I am sanguine, but am not advertising it.

I suppose that you were supprised to get my cablegram. Well, I was told by Captn. Lath, at Alexandria, that Bill Head who was in the same Coy., had been killed at the landing. After writing a letter of condolence to his people, through Elsie Lone, I found out that it was a mistake, so thought to anticipate the mistake my letter would convey – hence my cable-gram.

I am going to send you the names of the men in my present platoon. They are a fine lot of chaps, and I do hope that if I get a platoon, I shall have them I can tell you that I shook things up with them: I found them rather slack, but now, they have a showing of what you could call "Discipline".

It was a task, but I managed it, after having a Sergt. reduced to Lance Corporal, a Corporal to private and another Lce. Corporal was reduced on his own application. Its purely a waste of time trying to discipline men

[Page 61]
and have bad N.C.Os – so that I started on the N.C.Os

I knew quite well that they should dislike me for a time – that is the N.C.Os. – as an instance of what they think of me now: a N.C.O when reduced must be transfered to another platoon. The N.C.Os to whom I referred were transfered to other platoons, but soon made application to be transfered back.

I was very solid with the men, but they were overheard to say that they didn’t mind how strict I was with them, because I knew my work.

I am sure that with the exception of one man, and he is a cold-footed waster who is being left here on garrison duty, No.12 Platoon would follow me anywhere.

Lt Ward is not going back, little trouble clouded over.

I will mention the names of some of out Officers, you may see the names again some day.

23rd Battn.
Major Knox, whom I expect will soon be Colonel Knox and C.O of 23rd Battn. He is a first class man and is liked by every man in the Battn.
Captn. Brind. Adjutant. (he knows me as Cully).
Coy. Officers. A. Coy. Captn. Baird, whom I expect will soon be Major Baird and 2nd in Command of the Battn. he is the late – Baird – M.L.A.
Captn. Beith. Lt Lloyd, Parkes, Hain. Conran.

[Page 62]
"B." Coy. Captn. Matthews. O.C.
Lt. Main, Atkinson.
"C." Coy. Captn. Brazenor O.C.
Captn. Morris 2nd in Command.
Lts Ward, Galbraith and Raws.
"D" Coy. Captn. Kennedy O.C.
" Smith 2nd in Command
Lts Addison, Gaynor, McDonaldMacdonald.

Some names I have left out because I am not sure of them others may be transfered to the Battn in their place. I shall send you the other names, those of the men in No. 12, sometime this week.

Well dear people I must finish this letter, for the mail closes in a few minutes now.

I have twenty pages in this letter, yet, I expect to send you, in a few days, better news in about five words, that you cant find in the whole of this scribble.

Best love
from your aff. son & brother
W A Cull

[Page 63]
[Notes written on the reverse of page 62.]
16 2nd
4 1st
8 Capt.

[Page 64]

Dear Dad Mum & All

Long before this reaches you I expect I shall have received my baptism of fire.

Everything is now in readiness for us to move off at an hours notice Our boxes have been packed and sent along to "Cooks" in Cairo for storage.

We march off to-morrow, Sunday evening, and I expect that we shall be in the trenches this day week. You can just imagine how jolly pleased we are

Of course you will know that I have my Commission – It is dated from the 23.8.15 I am Platoon Commander of No. 9 Platon – "C" Coy 23rd

I have made a slight alteration in my allotment. I have now allotted 10/- per diem £3-10 a week – which you should now draw. My deferred pay is now 3/- per diem

Officers, of all ranks go into action wearing Web Equip but carry no Rifle – just a revolver – uniform of course is just the same as the mens – Well dear people I cannot write at length for I am in a deuce of a hurry and bustle
Must say good bye for present – with best love from your aff son & broth Bill

[Page 65]
[Postcard image: Military band]

[Page 66]
Somewhere at Sea

Dear Dad Mum & All

You will notice by address that we are on the briney again – bound for – you may guess where! I hope that you are all enjoying the best of health – I am splendid – Of course you will have received the intelligence re my promotion. Yes!, [censored] is very modest. Its awfully comic isn’t it all their gusto about a promotion made on the field.

They should remember that officers are not more immune from the effect of an ill directed bullet than is the commoner gardener Private and that as the officers are knocked out – somebody must of necessity take their place –

[Page 67]
Well dear people I am nearly on that job now that I have been anxiously looking forward to for so long, and I am so happy – as happy as the proverbial "sand-boy".

The next letter will be from the trenches, I hope.

Good bye for the present
Will best love from your very aff. son & brother
W A Cull

I suppose you will soon get my 20 page "ramble – I can imagine your look when you get such a long ramble & from me too.

[Page 68]
[Two postcard images: ship; illuminated scene]

[Page 69]

By the time you get this note you will be able to say that your son has been in the trenches for some weeks – that is of course should the few who seemed so keenly anxious still appear anxious re my where-abouts and intentions.

They could know of my applications, eleven I think, of my six month at Broadmeadows, (five of the six, instructing recruits – of my offer of a Commission in the Regular Army – etc.

One thing I should like and that is for a few of the old people up Casterton way to know how things are with me and d – mm H’mlton.

Yes, Dad – "Caution" is, of course part of that "Duty" which I owe to my country, and I certainly recognize it. It is part of our training – as witness the farewel farewell words of one of our

[93 LE CAIRE. Le Grand Pont de Kasr-el-Nil. – LL.]

[Page 70]
[Postcard image : Kasr-el-Nil Bridge, Cairo, Egypt]

[Page 71]
I have lost record of my letter again but I believe this one to be no. 19

Lemnos Island
On board the "HAVERFORD"
September 3rd.1915

Dear Dad Mum & All

On Sunday evening 29th at about 11 pm we entrained for Alexandria & arriving there in the small hours of the morning we immediately embarked on the T.S.S. Haverford. We did not weigh anchor until about 6 p.m. that day, Monday 30th.

We have had a very fine trip so far, beautifully exciting.

Just about two weeks ago the "Royal Edward" with 1500 troops on board, was torpedoed, about two days out from Alexandria and about half of them were lost.

We had to cross practically the same waters our only protection being our own Machine guns and a guard which was posted on decks.

Yesterday when just three days out from Alexandria, the "T.S.S. Southland" carrying Div. and Bde. Hd Qrs., the 21st Batn

[Page 72]
and "B" Coy. of the 23rd was torpedoed at about 10.15 a.m.

The "Southland" was proceeding us by a few mile.

When we got up to her, most of her boats were out and the poor old Southland had a list to Starboard. It looked so curious the number of boats rafts, deck chairs, buscuits tins etc. floating about: the boats and rafts literally alive with men – The poor beggars on the rafts were up to their necks in water, but singing and cheering the whole time.

We stopped near by and a volunteer crew was called for to man a lifeboat while the ships crew got out another boat. Myself and another officer were called for to report to our C.O. Colonel Knox on the bridge.

I had just got up the steps and the C.O. called to me to take charge of

[Page 73]
the boat with the volunteer crew.

I got down off the bridge in double quick time, leapt into the boat, kicked out four of the crew and yelled to lower – It seems that, our officers were betting that my boat would be out before the crews – so that it was a race, altho I was not aware even, that the other boat was being got out, for we were on the Starboard bow, while they were on the Port side.

It seems that I was winning, and the old beggar of a Cap on the Bridge yelled for us to "make fast". I’m now jolly glad that he did for we were ordered to – "Proceed on Your course at once" so that the boat which did go out was left behind to be picked up by some other ship, probably a cruiser would pick them up.

The "Aboukir", "Hogue" and "Cressy" incident has learnt the navy to have done with any such sentimental consideration.

[Page 74]
The old Southland is still afloat, and has struggled into Lemnos –

The Submarine beggars must be awfully annoyed, for they made an awfully poor fist of that particular job.

Our Brigadier and as far as we know about 20 men were lost.

Two officers are yet missing – Lt. Colonel Hutchinson and Lt Main. In such a little time after the "Southland" was struck the water round her was humming with Torpedo Boat Destroyers and Cruisers –

Its really wonderful how quickly they appeared on the scene.

The "Southland" was the only ship of the four, carrying our Bde, that had a gun on board.

She had a 4.7 gun on board They had a shot at the Submarine, and its said that they got her, but whether that’s true or not I can’t tell.

To-morrow we trans-ship and complete the remaining stage of this trip

[Page 75]
We are landing at "ANZAC" – The name "Anzac" is taken formed from the first letter of each word of the following – Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.

To-morrow evening then we should be in Gallipoli.

Well dear people I must close this for its getting very late

Best love to all
from your aff son & broth

PS. I have a very fine friend on this boat who is taking this letter back with him to Alexandria, and he will post it for me there, otherwise of course I could never let you know what I have done: It would surely be crossed out –

Love to all
W A Cul

[Page 76]
[Reverse of letter]
Friday Sept 3

[Envelope; postmarked Alexandria]
3 Sept. 15

Mr John. F. Cull,
Bree St.

[Page 77]
Issued to Lieut. W. A. Cull – "C" Coy 23rd Bn 6th Inf. Bde –


TACTICAL 1. The total perimeter of the position, including the front line and the rear line, is about 750 yards, and the garrison required is about 770 men.

The best garrison would be a battalion – less details left in rest camp. The Bn. Cooks and a night reserve of 100 men may be kept in BROWNS DIP.

The position has hitherto been divided into three Sections, in each of which the firing recesses are numbered from the right. Each of these usually is manned by 6 men and 1 N.C.O., of whom two men are always on duty, one observing and the other sniping at loopholes, enemy if visible within effective range, or enemy’s sandbags.

WEAK POINTS of the position -
(i) The S.E. angle has an old enemy trench within 20 yards which is sometimes occupied by the enemy’s miners and bombers. Upon this point machine gun and artillery fire can be brought to bear from our main position to the S.W. by previous arrangement. Vigorous bombing has hitherto driven the enemy from his trench.
(ii) Sap B on the extreme East of the position is a salient and was originally an enemy Communication trench. We have erected barricades in it and use it as a bombing hole. Should the enemy ever get into it it would be necessary to bomb them out by a vigorous bomb attack.
(iii) ’The Circus’ on the extreme North is a salient relying for protection on fire from the Northern front and from the old firing line 150 yds. West

The Machine Gun Positions and arcs of fire are shown on the Map. four M.G’s. in LONE PINE used at night, 7 M.Gs. in old firing line capable of supporting fire which is given at night if a blue light is shown fm Lone Pine

Rear of Position – The Western or rear face of the position is watched at night by sentry posts and piquets in B54 and B8 Saps.

Mining and Engineering – On the SOUTH and East fronts a number of small galleries have been driven towards the enemy which are used as a safeguard against mining by the enemy. These may be eventually driven up to or under his trenches and used by us for the capture of the trench after the enemy have been shelled and bombed out of it.

[Page 78]
Sniping and Bombing. Sniping by day is best carried out by using periscope rifles, and if the enemy’s snipers are not within 80 yards, using telescopic or Service rifles through loopholes. In every case at least one observer using a periscope should observe for the rifleman.

Enemy head cover within bombing distance should be consistently bombed with double Lotbinière bombs ("hair-brush") bombs or Trytol bombs.

Enemy should be kept out of near trenches by bombing all along them and throwing occasional bombs back at the parts previously bombed.

Any enemy bomb attack should be met by 2 bombs at least to every one that he throws.

[indecipherable] ENEMY 2. The enemy’s counter-attacks to try and re-take LONE PINE took the form of an advance of Columns storming along their communication trenches and throwing bombs rapidly from the head of the Column. They lost very heavily.

The enemy having been taken in by our throwing an unlit "hair brush" bomb with an instantaneous fuse, which they lit in order to throw back and were blown up, tried the same ruse on us but without success: they threw in two or three unlighted bombs which were found to have instantaneous fuses.

The enemy on the North in JOHNSTON’S JOLLY have sent bombers at night to the South edge of OWEN’S GULLY to bomb our North front, but they have now given this up and use rifle and M.G. fire at night or sniping by day.

The enemy’s artillery is probably aware that we use B5 and B8 Communications: his principal targets in the position are (i) S.E. firing line from S.E. and N.E.
(ii) Eastern firing line between S.E. angle and Sap A from SE. and N.E.
(iii) The highest point of earth heaps East of Hd. Qrs. of N81 Sec.
(iv) Old Turkish firing line near East end of B5, from N.E

His times of firing are generally 2 or 3 shots 6 A.M., 12 to 30 shots 10-11 A.M., 4-5 P.M., 6-7 p.m.

[indecipherable] 3. The garrison is relieved every 48 hours, one section at a time at an interval of one hour or more in the forenoon – The times are changed and precautions are taken to give no clue to the enemy that any movement is in progress.

The men’s meals are cooked in BROWNS DIP and brought into the position. In case of emergency a Reserve of biscuit and 1 quart of water per man are kept in the position.

All periscopes, periscope rifles, and special sniping rifles, S.A.A., stocks of bombs, tools and stoves are handed over to relieving Units.

Telescopic rifles are kept with Units.

[signed] M Smyth Colonel
Commanding 1st Infantry Brigade


Orders issued to Officers of 23rd Bn. – relieving 1st Inf Bde.

[Page 79]
Do keep these notes.
The first issued to me on Gallipoli.
I have other souvenirs which I intend to send.

[Page 80]
No. 3 from Gallipoli

From the "Trenches"
[censored: Gallipoli]

Dear Dad Mum & All

Disembarked at "ANZAC" on the 4th September.

The zip, zip, zip if the bullets overhead and the occassional boom of the big guns, seemed, contrary to general belief, to hold no terrors, nor did it seem even to herald that other phase in this great game to which we have so anxiously looked.

As soldiers, few of us, even now that we are actually in the firing line seem to realize that we have arrived at our Mecca – of course we will when we get a "Charge". Our particular part of the line is a part known as "Lone Pine" and the trenches are at some parts only a few yards from the enemy.

[Page 81]
We do 48 hours in the Firing line and 48 hours in reserve – You can imagine that we get little rest in the firing line, but when in the Reserve trenches we have a good rest, excepting when it happens, as it often does, that fatigue duty has to be done which in many respects is far worse than the firing line.

Only once have I had a real good view of a Turk, in their fire trench, and that beast ducked before I could get a shot at him.

O, I did have a bit of fun yesterday, I noticed thro my periscope a few Turks, working like fun at a small bridge in the valley, some 700 yds distant. I had a shot at them – smoke, you should have seen the scamper.

After a while one or two returned but not for long. Their work was then suspended for the day.

[Page 82]
Often during my tour of Duty I pick up a rifle and have a shot. I get the satisfaction from this that you do from your pipe.

Bombs play a great part in trench warfare – I think that we are far superior to them with the bombs –

Looking out of my dug-out now, I can see an aeroplane of ours, and even as I watch the little white puffs of smoke, all round her, (which denote the burst of the enemys shells), my longing to be an aeronaut is made stronger than ever. Such a proud, majestic bird, it seems to say – "Monarch of all I survey". The value of the aeroplane has been demonstrated to us in a practical manner

A few days ago a Taube flew over a gully in which we were

[Page 83]
resting – circled round a few times and flew off. Within half an hour the enemy were shelling the valley. This and such like is no longer looked upon, by us, as novel; but is taken in the programme along with the other items. I was at mass last Sunday – my second Sunday in Gallipoli.

Only a few must have known of the service – as a matter of fact there was only seven of us kneeling before the little alter which was placed on the side of a hill that had been ploughed by many a shell – even since we have been here – I’m sure you would think it impressive – I did –

I was speaking to the chaplain in the morning and asked him where and when I could see him for Confession – Here and now, he told me, just while we walk along

[Page 84]
We have just come out of the firing line this morning and will go in again in 48 hours time and as tomorrow is Sunday I shall have the opportunity of again attending mass –

Did you get my letter with few lines about one of our Transports. Torpedoed. It seems that the submarine discharged two torpedoes at us –

You will, I suppose, already know, from the papers of our loss. – Our Brigadier and about 33 others.

I hear them say that mail is to hand. I shall wait for the letter now, I’m sure of my letter from home.

Yes a letter from Dad – one from Jess and one from Bob. Your letter Dad is No. 8 and is dated July 27th.

Reference – "Local Chat" Isn’t it funny – too funny – Do you know I have seen a great number of these alleged Of-----s since we have been here – They would almost make an Officers sorrowful.

[Next line shows through from following page:]
By the way, £15 (clothing allowance)

[Page 85]
Yes I can understand it – "Our boys will soon be in Constantinople" It’s a long long way to Tipp Constantinople No farther now than the day they landed – We could easily get to the beach for a Swim.

I have ommitted to number my letters – of late, and so have lost count – so shall make a fresh start. I have already sent two, Service Post Cards since landing in Gallipoli so that this letter will be numbered 3 –

Writing home on one occassion I told you not to send any Socks etc. Well had I made arrangements in Cairo I could have had a regular supply of any such things I needed I couldn’t foretell how things would be, and now I can see no way of getting money over to Egypt to have anything sent to me –

I think that we can overcome the difficulty though.

I shall write to a firm I know of in Cairo for anything I may want – (other Coy. officers are in the same boat) and it will be debited to my a/c at the Base pay Office.

By the way, £15 (clothing allowance)

[Page 86]
is to be credited to my a/c at Base Paying Office, Cairo, or probably to Allotment – so that you may draw that. I’m telling you so that you will not be at a loss to know what the £15 is, should it be sent to you I have a good stock of most things but winter is almost upon us, so that a pair of socks every two month would come in handy –

Don’t send more because I have five pair of good socks now, and socks are issued from time to time, and farther I hope to be able as I said before to arrange with this firm in Cairo for anything I may want –

One of our Officers was lucky enough to leave a few pounds (sterling) with a chap in Alexandria – & so was able to sent over for a few things for us. Jelly crystals, chocolate and such things, if you please –

Thats another thing you could send a couple of shillings worth of chocolates – plain chocolate. Don’t forget only send a very little for I fully expect to have a supply from Egypt before you could get here –

[Page 87]
If Cecil should go into Camp, tell him to try to get either into Reinforcements to the 23rd Battn or into a Brigade, and don’t forget to notify me in your letter of about the time he would expect to sail and with what unit he is with. As soon as he landed in Egypt he should make a claim to be transfered to the unit in which his brother was serving – He can demand it. I would like a snapshot of Joes painting.

Bill Head was killed. I thought such a lot of him and him of me. His people you know were very anxious to see me before I left but I was unable to go.

I got a letter from them a few days back enquiring about Bill Head Could I find out about him. He was killed the first day, yet was reported wounded on June 10th. If you have a Photo of myself to spare

[Page 88]
I should very much like you to give it to Loves to send to Will Heads people. I have a photo of him at home somewhere – If you can find it keep it for me please – a rather violent Artillery duel is now in progress and I must prepare for any eventuality – You see I am at present with the reserve, just came out of firing line this morning.

Very best love to all
from your aff. son & broth
W A Cull W A Cull

P.S. Don’t send all kind of things to me now, only what I mentioned – I have good warm clothing for the winter – Cardigan Jacket, Woollen Muffler, etc

Im sure that I’m getting heavier every day I’m feeling grand – only one thing has annoyed me & that is the smell – we’re getting used to it now tho.

Best love to all
W A Cull

[Page 89]
[Envelope; stamped: passed by censor Brazenor]
Mr John F Cull,
Bree Street,

[Page 90]
No. 4 from Gallipoli

From the

Dear Dad Mum & All

Your No. 9 dated August 1st came to hand yesterday. No need to say how pleased I am to get your letters.

And Cecil is now in Camp. I hope that he does not come away with reinforcements – unless ’tis reinforcements to the 23rd Bn.

As soon as he gets to Egypt – if with a Bde., he must make application to be transfered to reinforcements for the 23rd Bn. Mind you, he can demand to be transfered to the unit in which a brother is serving,

How jolly deacent ’twill be to have him in my platoon. Just the man I want.

[Page 91]
Some of my N.C.Os have not much jaw-bone. Cecil would be just the man.

A Non Com here requires to be a practical man with character, common sense and determination.

The N.C.O no longer an Instructor of his Section must have developed that tact which is to enable him to get the maximum of work from his men with a minimum of grousing from them. He must, of course, remember that grousing is to some extent a soldiers only priveledg but the fact that a man will growl when detailed for say a fatigue duty should not cause a strong Non Com to waver – rather should it make him the more quitely determined that this particular man carry’s out that duty – and well. Such a Non Com is a treasure.

Un-happily tho the some will immediately look round, to see who else they may detail: invariably a double duty falls on

[Page 92]
a poor unfortunate whose mind you imagine is inflamed by those words "Yours not to reason why" etc.

It needs a man that will not close his eyes and throw a stone to wake the man who sleeps on his post 20 yards from the enemy. In such cases his heart must be of stone. With such real Non Coms the Imperial army is blessed.

For courage tho it needs no saying – Our army is second to none – Why should we be different – less (or more) coragious than our brothers from The Isles. Tales daily appearing in our papers – of Unparalled bravery – Never to be forgotten heroism Dash – Daring and Unconquerable spirit casts a cloud veil of unimportance over such historic work as Poitiers, Agincourt, Cressy or of Mons.

Numerous Accounts, gaining great prominence in the columns of our daily: tell of how I (the great King I am) killed seventeen Turks –

[Page 93]
or of how I charged a Howitzer Battery – slaughtered the gunners and carried the Guns away on my back –

Why John Falstaff was a fool and Don Quixode pales into the realms of the unknown by way of comparison.

Platoon Commanders censor their platoons letters. It is somewhat interesting. My own are censored by –

Soldiers generally are considered to have an elastic imagination, but oh, such liberties some take with the truth. Some of their letters almost make me feel indignant – One impossible, writing home to his people told of how he had received his first wound – a bullet an inch and a half or two inches into his head – as a matter of fact it was a piece of periscope glass; the doctor picked it out with a needle –

A rather violent Artillery duel has been in progress here these few days – I think it the prelude to – (big work)

[Page 94]
We have had very few casualties to date In trench warfare generally – few casualties are suffered.

In my last to you, I mentioned that I was trying to arrange for a regular supply of Good things from Alexandria – Things, I fancy are fixed up.

We, Coy. Officers, have compiled a fine list of good things, which we expect to have from Alexandria in a few weeks – you may send the socks though – that is, a pair once in a while –

Dont worry about Cecil – for I shall see that he is just as comfortable as I am. About the chocolate – you might send that one little packet – in time for Xmas.

Had a letter from Tatlock a few days ago – Tells me that his father was writing to me – Sent me a couple of papers and a magazine. Very good of him – one hasn’t time tho to bother about magazines – I have a book tho that I occasionally spend

[Page 95]
a few minutes with.

I spent one evening hunting Cairo for a good book – the only thing I could pick on was – you would never guess – Longfellow’s Translation of Dante’s Purgatoria – Tatlock tells me that he intends to enlist.

Just an idea of how we live in the Trenches –

Each officer has his batman – two batman from each Coy. stay out of the Coy. Firing line – to prepare the meals – with a selected cook from the Coy. – for their Coy. Officers the other batmen go into the firing line. At present we have a rotten cook but we intend to change him – We get fresh meat and bread every second day – or we’re supposed to.

Our Menu –

[Page 96]
Menu somewhat as follows –
Porridge – made from wheat-meal buscuits – very good

Tinned Beef


Sometimes our Cook wakes up – and has a pan-cake for us –

[Page 97]
Re my C.M.F. Commission – Major Brazenor (promoted you note) told me while in Egypt – that he had seen in a Ballarat paper an extract from "District Orders" (D.Os) in which my name appeared among the names of other Ballarat Officers, as having been officially gazetted Lieuts. from such & such a date. Major Kirby promised me faithfully that he would look into the matter – he admitted that I had been wronged and said that my appointment would be dated back to that date at which it should first have appeared in orders – I feel sure that he must have done it.

At any-rate I intend to write to him Colonel R. E. Williams – Ballarat – is a/Commandant. If in Aus. now I would have no trouble to get away and with my rank too.

I met Colonel Williams at Broadmeadows

[Page 98]
sometime last December –

Major Dudley who was so anxious to get me away with reinforcements in Decr. last, has been acting D.A.Q.M.G. – I fancy that he has a training depot now – Then again there is Major Sauer Capt Vickers and quite a number of other officers, who know me well, are now acting, in some capacity or other, on the Staff.

I have given you no idea yet of what the Country is like in which we are operating.

Nature of terrain – Steep Slopes; stunted bush in places; clay soil with a sand gravel and soft lime stone admixture. Timber very very scarce; Soil terribly sticky after little rain.

at present – beautiful warm days Frightfully cold nights.

[Page 99]
What have you done with my sword I do hope, that they have not asked for it to be returned – I don’t think that they will – I hope that it is occasionally shined up.

If you should come across my "Record Book" C.M.Form 7 please keep it till I return –

Hard luck for Jack – breaking his proboscis.

I hope that you are all well I am splendid.

Must close now with best love from
your very aff. son & brother
W A Cull

Address – same as before – only delete Sergt and substitute Lt

PS. Re packet you sent me – I’m quite certain I recognized receipt – You could not have received that letter

[Written vertically, in left-hand margin:]
Each time you write to me – please enclose an envelope an paper for answer – Paper and envelopes are scarce now.

[Page 100]
No 5 from Gallipoli
No 5


Dear Dad Mum & All

Cannot write you a long letter this time – but will make up for it next letter. I hope that you are all well at home – I am just the thing, excepting for an attack of Diarrhoea – quite a common ailment here –

It is twenty-eight days to-day since I went into the firing line.

It will take a lot of Active Service to make me old and weary looking – Not nearly the worry of the drill parade –

You say that the mail does not arrive in Australia every week – that you have a bye – every so often. Then at times you should get two letters per mail from me, for I’m sure that I have written almost every week. I shall drop you an Active Service Post Card as well as letters, for you are rather certain to get the Cards, even when letters may be kept back, as I believe they sometimes are – the Cards would be promptly delivered – and they do Convey one bit of intelligence – that at time of posting – I was well –

We have had some good news from the "West" - The set-back in the "East" seems to have been seized as the favourable opportunity for the promised drive – at anyrate it seems that things are a-doing.

[Page 101]
As far as we are concerned in this quarter things are quiet eneough – too quiet.

Air craft and Artillery have been fairly active – but nothing much beyond that.

The trenches are quite a complicated feat of engineering, with its barbed-wire entanglements and steel plated parapets (loop hole plates) its overhead cover against shrapnel shells and the completedness of its drainage and sanitary system. Every here and there are large underground "scurry-ways" or tunnells along which reinforcements move

Our firing line is from ten to one hundred and fifty yards from the enemy.

My particular Sub Section is about twenty paces from the enemys.

Bombs play a most important part in trench warfare.

Up to fifteen or twenty paces – bombs can easily be thrown in by hand – over that and up to 150 yards the "Trench Mortar" is used.

The mortar is best described as a minature howitzer capable of throwing a hand grenade or bomb with great accuracy a distance of 150 yards or so.

It is suitable only for trench warfare but for that purpose is extremely efficacious and easy to work, needing little skill on the part of the gunner –

We are far superior to the Turks with the bombs –

[Page 102]
Their Snipers are beyond doubt good shots and very daring men. There is one thing which has come as a suprise and a revelation to most of us: the use our adversaries are making of spies in Uniform – sometimes their own uniform – sometimes ours – according, of course, to Convention, a soldier is not a spy who seeks to obtain information openly – that is while in his own uniform – Some of them have been actually caught (at night) in our trenches. They have often been caught giving orders to our men, while an Attack was in progress etc. – Bold aren’t they Beyond doubt great modifications have been introduced into warfare by the advent of aircraft.

We see evidence of it here, almost everyday. They easily replace mounted troops so far as strategical (wide area) reconnaissance is concerned – As regards tactical (local area) reconnaissance the honors are still with the skilled scouts afoot.

As a destructive agent, from what I have seen of them, the aerial bomb-thrower, is much of a joke. French ‘75’s captured in transit thro Servia, I believe, by the Turks during the Balkan war, cause us far greater concern than all their other Artillery – they are grand guns.

Its good, I can tell you, to see our howitzer shells lobbing in their trenches – just twenty to thirty paces from us – great pieces of earth and rocks are thrown fourty to fifty feet into the air, and when smoke and dust has cleared away – great gaps are seen

[Page 103]
where their parapet has been taken away.

I must pull up very abruptly – for I go into the firing line again in a few minutes – I have written far more than I thought I could write in the time – and I have such a lot to say yet – All in good time though.

Have just got my mail - one letter from Jessie – They tell me that is all – but I feel sure its not – I will surely get the letter I expect every mail.

The mail closes in about an hour, so that I cannot leave this open for a while.

Hoping that you are all well
I am
Your aff. Son & brother
W A Cull

[Page 104]
[Envelope; postmarked Heliopolis, Egypt]
8 18/7/15

Mr John. F. Cull
Bree Street


[Page 105]
[The Young Men’s Christian Association with H. M. Mediterranean Expeditionary Force in Egypt.]
Trenches in Gallipoli

Dear Dad Mum & All

In answer to your No. 10 dated Aug. 13th and bearing post mark date 23.8.15

Last letter I wrote to you, I said how dis-appointed I was at not having got your letter – I got the letter the following day and was jolly pleased. Yes, Dad, your letter did reach me before my birthday – I fancy that I got it on the 30th – I made reference to it in previous letters

Most unfortunate, the outbreak of meningitis – I suppose that it has an effect upon recruiting – Re presents – they were nothing – I’ve just been thinking – Prior to leaving Egypt I gave instruction to my batman to make a small packet of a few odds and ends that were in a white bag and send them to you – I had collected some foreign coins – a piece of Alabaster from the Alabaster Mosque and such like I believe that he has sent old buttons and other rubbish including an old ring – You will think it an odd parcel

[Page 106]
Have written to Major Kirby re exam – He is an Area Officer now – You remember he wanted me to put in for an area at Ballarat.

I do hope that you go my Cable – My promotion is dated 23-8-15 – I am ever so glad that my promotion was not made while actually in Action – I am glad that, it was made in Egypt – Got Major Flemings Address – One never knows; it made come in handy – Seems to be something a doing in the "West" Naval men here are betting that they will force the Narrows within the next few days – I treat such information as Gas.

Yes "District Pay Master" will D. D. D, you for drawing their attention to that error –

I almost wish that I could again alter my allotment – You understand though that altho’ I recognised how foolish it was to keep back 8/- per diem (for I can’t do anything with it On Service) still I had to be Guided Do you see

[Page 107]
I am enclosing an "Address by the Archbishop of Canterbury" Fine address –

When you write please enclose a piece of paper and an envelope for answer – Stationery is a scarce Commodity here –

You must be satisfied this time with this little bit of scribble for I have had so little time to write and in little while I have to go into the firing line. I am writing this in a communication trench just about 15 yards in rear of firing line

Long letter next time
Con amore
Your aff. son & brother
W A Cull

[Page 108]
[Envelope, postmarked 11.OC.15]
Mr John. F. Cull,
Bree St.

[Passed by No 3018 censor]
[Initialled:] W A C

[Page 109]
No 8 7? from Gallipoli


Dear Dad Mum & All

Your No-11 dated Aug. 26th came to hand on the 12th inst

Was as usual awfully pleased to get your letter. Glad that you are all well – I am in splendid health.

Qute amuseing that direction from Dt. Hd Qrs – (to Lt. Cull re Flemington – I guess that you got my cable on the 31st Aug. re commission – Altho’ Colonel Knox my C.O told me that I could consider myself appointed as from the 23-8-15, I would not cable you nor assume the rank until I had actually seen the Divisional Order myself – hence my reason for not sending the cable ‘till the week after.

Don’t let yourselves worry about me for you may be sure that I shall look after myself – We are getting grand food now and one think only worries me and that is vermin – Rank and file alike are in the same boat regarding that particular worry

[Page 110]
When Jessie sends my gloves – or mittens – she might manage to send a fine tooth comb, as well – I’m not joking –

Personally I have managed to keep myself fairly free from such plague – but others – well if fleas & that other specie of vermin were sheep then some of these chaps would be squatters –

Things seem to be very bad in Australia now. I am so glad that I was enabled – by alteration of status to make alteration in allotment It will be of benefit during these times.

By the next mail I expect to see my letters addressed a little differently – The good old name prefaced by the good old rank –

A canteen has been opened on Imbros Island – We – "C." Coy. Officers have compiled a list of "good things" which we had expected over in a day or so – We’re now told that the Canteen is sold out, so that we have to wait a few days longer – We are nearly certain tho’ to have a good

[Page 111]
supply in for Xmas.

We have been buying a few things on the beach from the sailors – They rob us unmercifully 3/- a doz. for eggs – 2/3 for cake of Griffiths chocolate – You can well imagine that we buy few such luxuries –

Prices at the Canteen on Imbros Island are very reasonable –

I would like you to send me a couple of shillings worth of some kind of sweets – say every five or six weeks.

Very very seldom has any packet sent from Aus. to any of the chaps – gone astray.

I am at a loss to know what on earth to write about

It will soon be a case of ditto repeato – I have ’till the 17th to finish this note – so may think of something of interest to write of in the meantime.

15-10-15 – Have just had a small pay – I shall enclose a 10/- Treasury Note You can buy the Xmas turkey with that.

Had a profitable bit of sport a few days ago. Thinking to have some fish, I took a stroll down to the beach with another officer. We had with us – a tin of bully beef and a bomb. I threw the beef in, then waited for about half an hour before throwing in the bomb. Our venture was met with

[Page 112]
good fortune – We caught eleven (11) fine big fish – one Im sure weighed 4 to 5 bbs – We did enjoy our next mornings breakfast –

17-10-15 – Came out of firing line yesterday morning – for our 48 hours rest in the Reserve – I went down to the beach for my usual swim – and had another successful fishing day – With one bomb I caught over thirty fish – and Such beautys too – I gave a good number away. We, "C" Coys officers had fish this morning for breakfast – It was grand We will have fish for Tea tonight as well – I can tell you I was voted a hero – It would really supprise you tho’ to see how well we manage for tucker. For instance yesterday’s Menu was as follows –
Porridge (wheatmeal biscuit porridge)
Bacon and Eggs (eggs plural number)

[Page 113]
cold Boiled Mutton
Rice Toast
Chocolate (please note chocolate)
The chocolate was delicious

Roast Beef & onions

This morning we had for breakfast
Quakers Oats (porridge)
Fried Fish

Now isn’t that a Menu for a King

[Written vertically, in left-hand margin:]
We have the concentrated milk – all cream.

[Page 114]
I have a fine pal – an officer named Rossiter 2 Lieut. Rossiter. He is a fine chap and one worth knowing.

I went to mass this morning – 7 o’clock – about twenty of us there.

Tomorrow morning we go into the firing line again for another 48 hours – On Thursday next we will be in Reserve again and so our padre intends to celebrate mass on that morning – We have plenty of opportunity to go to mass – or prayers – at the present.

A great number of men are being sent away Sick - Far more sick than casualties –

I hope George got the jobs at Maryboro’ and Dalesford – We did have a fine job – picking out all that onion weed. Stewarts Lawn -

Wasn’t that dashed hard luck about "Head". Killed on the first day, his next of kin being notified on the 10th June – 46 days after his death – by Defence Dept – that Sergt Head had been wounded not seriously. Of course it must have been a general mix up on the day of the landing. Things are working perfectly

[Page 115]
now tho’.

Well dear people, I cannot write at further length.

I am always thinking of you at home – but I never worry – for I feel certain that its Gods will ‘That I shall love to fight again and strike another blow.’

Consider the measure of my love for you,
As brim full as that of yours for me:
From your aff. son & bro.
W A Cull

A violent artillery bombardment has just commenced – Shells are bursting all round us – I am sticking very religiously to my dug-out – a nice comfortable one.

Treasury Note enclosed No- 046570

[Page 116]
No 8 from Peninsula

October 23rd

Dear Dad Mum & All,

Your No 12 dated Sept. 1st 15 to hand –

It is very difficult to keep a record of letters I send you – especially since I have been in the trenches. I know that I have written to you practically every week since disembarkation at Alexandria on June 12th –

I am writing every week now – without fail. I know to what you refer – when you ask of me to tell you – All that happens – I should like to strangle the beast who thought fit to advertise such a paltry thing. I shall tell you all about it now –

At Zeitoun we had some very solid work tramping and doubling thro’ desert sand under a boiling sun. The heat was intense – terrific –

One morning we were carrying out an "attack" on a position 1000 yards distant. We had to double the whole distance, in short rushes – Sprint about 20 paces – then drop down on the burning sand – Fire a couple of rounds – Up – and – do another 20 paces – and so on up to within about 50 yards of the supposed position – Then came the climax of the attack – The assault with the bayonet – I tell you not one of us would

[Written vertically, in left-hand margin:]
Address Lieut. Cull "C" Coy. 23rd Bn 6th Inf Bde O.S.

[Page 117]
have had strength eneough left to bayonet a German sausage – A couple of days after this, I got pains in the head – One of the chaps called the doctor in to have a look at me – He insisted upon me being taken to the hospital – (Pyrexia) (Pyrexia I knew was appertaining? to heat.)

I tried to tell him that I would be right where I was, but he explained that as it was so little trouble to have me taken to hospital – where I should have a bed to sleep on and a good rest – there was no necessity for me to lay on the ground in the heat

I was taken then to the Palace Hospital No 2 General Hospital, Heliopolis – When admitted I had a temperature of 102.8 – two days later my temperature was normal – I was then transfered the Luna Park hospital – Four days later I was discharged –

Of course the time I was in Egypt is during the very hottest part of the year – So little was the matter with me – that I thought – if I write home and say that I have been admitted into hospital suffering from slight heat-stroke or Pyrexia – the knowledge that I had been admitted to hospital would cause you to magnify my little ill – and so cause unnecessary worry. I have a bit of a cold in the head now – but taken

[Page 118]
all-along – I have been really splendid I promise faithfully that you will know from now – if the least thing is wrong –

Did you get my Zeitoun Certificate.

O’ something I forgot – Just to tell you how I really was – when shoved into hospital. When in Lina Pack hospital I would wait till lights dark then sneak out in my pyjamas – beat the sentries posted round the hospital to keep us in – call up a carriage and drive to the camp or around the town – have some fruit – then sneak back after lights out.

Thanks for congratulations – You should have taken on Soldiering in your younger days – Dad – I’m sure that had you done so you would now be in Command of a Division You miss so little – and seem to see so dashed far ahead –

You see I didn’t count upon you knowing that I should – under ordinary circumstances – have to be transfered to some other unit upon gaining such promotion. I made application for a platoon in the same unit of "C" Coy. 23rd and it was fixed up for me – I am in command of No 9 Platoon now. same Coy. Bn. Bde.

It is seven (7) weeks to-day since I landed on the peninsula – It is cold now – just setting in badly

[Page 119]
Extract from "Peninsula Press" notes ta[ken] from "Westminster Gazette" – re clim[ate] of the Dardenelles –

After January 14th or a few days later [the] weather is almost invariably bad; th[ere] is always a snow-blizzard or two gener[ally] between Jan. 20 and 25 – These are real ba[d] blizzards which sometimes last from [indecipherable] to seven days; and after anything in the way of weather may happen for the ne[xt] six weeks or two months – The snow has [been] known to lie six weeks –

I suppose that it’s up to us to ge[t] an extra-ordinary winter – to ma[ke] up for the two summers – I got a letter from Cecil – he s[eems] to like soldiering very much –

I expect that you are having splendid weather now –

What price the great number of deserters – those chaps who enlisted during the recruiting campaign –

We have had some reassuring ne[ws] from the West

After fifteen months tho’ of war – the Flathead and his Allies seem still in strength and able to engage us all round – and to his advantage – They have held us on the West. They occupy Belguim – Warsaw [has] fallen and now they chase the Russia[ns] hammering them the whole way – Russian strategy when ever invasion is threatened is proverbial –

[Page 120]
It is I suppose possible for history to again repeat itself –

If it is Russian strategy – then – the three periods in her history, separated by exactly the same number of years is a coincidence from which we may draw an encourageing inference.

In 1709 Charles of Sweden – invaded Russia and met with disaster – One hundred and three years later Napoleon met with disaster, a victim of the very same tactics, as those employed 103 years earlier.

And now 103 year after Napoleon’s invasion, we are witnessing, the same kind of thing – Will the Kaisers eastern army return intact to Flanders?

At anyrate our adversary has been very successful to date – but I think have reached the culminating point of their success –

It is a recognized fact that disaster is usually heralded by glowing triumphs and vast achievements: it is a law of nations as well as of nature is that all fruit ripens till it rots – then falls off

[Page 121]
I really believe that our turn is just about to begin.

I have just been called on duty so that I must close.

To-day is Sunday, and we go out of the firing line at 12 noon for our 48 hours in Reserve –

The mail closes today – so that I will not be able to add to this.

From your aff. Son & brot
W A Cull

P.S. We have great church parades – Last time mass was celebrated there were ten present. Six of them were from my platoon.

We generally have about that number. You know there should be a great many more – If one platoon can have at least six – what number should there be in the Bn.


[Page 122]
No 9 from the Peninsula

October 30th

Dear Dad Mum & All

Eight weeks today since I landed on the peninsula – and my report is as before – "Fit as the proverbial fiddle" I expect to get a letter from you in a couple of days. There is an Australian mail here but to date they have been unable to land it. The rough weather is now setting in and great difficulty is experianced in landing from the barges –

We have no breakwater – and a recent introduction to rough weather has caused piers to be washed away – barge smashed to splinters and so on – Landing Operations will be a big question from now on.

I know nothing of interest to write about – trench warfare is so af awfully dull – After the first couple of weeks there is little to evoke suprise – You get to instinctively duck at the right moment, when shells are flying: you know where the snipers are and what there worth is – how machine Guns are situated etc. – You get to know all the little peculiarities of your adversary – and how best to treat him.

And Bulgaria has declared war against us – The navy has been giving them some hurry up, since their declaration. We know that the booming down South, is the hammering at the Narrows – but of late the rumble of the Guns up North W. has was a cause of speculation – It was our navy pounding the Bulgarian coastline.

[Page 123

Practically the only activity here – during the day (broad daylight) is with Aircraft[s] Artillery and of course sapping and mini[ng] operations – Snipers are always watchful

All night long the trenches are almost as silent as a cemetary, except for a constant flash of rifles that mark the lin[e] of the Turkish parapet, the whiz of bull[ets] chipping our parapets and every now and then sending little cascades of earth rustling down into the trench – the wild mo[indecipherable] of a ricochet hitting the parapet and go humming off towards the sea – or the ear-splitting ring as a bullet strikes the steel loop-hole plate of the parapet.

Some nights we draw their fire by some simple ruse – Perhaps send up star shells beautiful great rockets that burst with white and pale green stars low over the Turkish lines – call out ficticious orders blow our whistles and send up flares – The poor old Turks get awfully scared – and blaze away their ammunition like fun.

A screech overhead, immediately followed by the terrific explosion of a howitzer shell (as it bursts just in front in the Turkish lines often heralds the break of day.

It is during the day that the Artillery play their most active part, seldomly firing by night, because of the danger of the flash of the guns betraying their position to the enemy The Gurkha troops are very restless – they are terribly anxious for [a] move on. Gurkha Officers often visit our trenches – it seems that they will not dig in (the Gurkha’s) and the Imperial Office[rs]

[Page 124]
take them thro’ the trenches, trying to prove to them the necessity for intrenching & pushing forward tunnels – mining and so on.

The Gurkhas want to be charging all the time – My word they are sturdy little fellows.

I hardly know what to write about – there is so little I can think of that might interest you – We are getting a little pay now once in a while and have made arrangements with a firm in Egypt to supply us with extra/s.

We have all kinds of tin fish – Soup tablets, corn-flour, – custard powder, Jelly crystals, Figs chocolate (making chocolate) etc – etc – etc –

From the canteen on Imbros Is. we are getting such as – Tin Fruit, Bovril, Cheese Cocoa, Coffee, Currie Powder, Pickles, Chutney,, Sauce, Tomatoes (tin) Vinegar – As a matter of fact we can get almost anything we require – Socks, I can buy from the Canteen, – so that you need not bother about sending them. I’m inclined to believe that we are real tourists – ‘With the Australian Tourists in Gallipoli’ –

I wonder will be manage to get Abdul to cease operations on Xmas day. I hardly think so.

Will Jack – Ethel, George – Annie – be home for Xmas – I hope so – I expect this note to

[Page 125]
reach you about Xmas time.

I am scribbling this note – in a Communica[tion] trench – just in rear of the firing line –

The mail closes soon, so that I must wind up –

With love from Your aff. Son & br[o]
W A Cull

A very merry Xmas and a happy New Year to All – at home – is the wish of Yours affly
W A Cull

[Page 126]

Dear Dad Mum & All –

I expect you have looked forward to this note from me – written from Malta. I trust that the cable which it is my intention to send to-morrow to you, will reach you, and serve to dispel any anxiety you may have on my account. I would have cabled you immediately upon my arrival at Malta on the 12th had I had THE necessary consideration. However a friend has discovered the whereabouts of the Pay Office, and to-morrow I shall send the cable – I was wounded on the evening of the 5th Novr.

I was sitting in Coy. Hd. Qrs. At the time – advising the Sergt. Major (S M Purcell) and my platoon Sergeant (Sergt Fisher) about some detail, when suddenly a great burst of flame and a terrific explosion caused a very dramatic ending to our little pow-wow. The bomb, the effectiveness of which I can vouch for, is a new type, and seems to have exploded immediately after penetrating the iron roof of the dug-out – which has, in addition, at least a foot deep of earth on top of the iron. It burst immediately over my head, rather a little to the right – yet I escaped with a few small scalp and face wounds – a wonderful escape.

The Sgt. Major, standing some distance from me was killed, while my Sergt had his hand badly knocked about.

The following morning I was taken aboard the hospital ship "Davanha" bound for Malta, and am now very comfortably located in a hospital (really convalescent home) at Hamrun quite close to Maltas principal town – Valetta.

[Page 127]
I am healing up wonderfully well and quickly – indeed – I fancy that I shall not have a mark to bear witness to the fact that I was wounded.

Lord Methuen has just paid us a visit, he enquired very kindly how I came about my knock.

This new bomb the Turks have is a beast of a thing. It is generally made of a shell casing; with a great shaft screwed to it, enabling them to fire it from some description of trench mortar. [Drawing of bomb in left-hand margin] The shaft screwed into the case, is some four to six feet long and quite two inches in diameter. The Shell case is very highly charged – A similar bomb, but much smaller, (thrown by hand) is known as "The Broomstick bomb".

I shall have a trouble now – for a while to get my mail – Two letters from you, must at present be on the Peninsula for me – I am sure to get them and those following, altho’ I fancy I shall probably have to wait a week or so longer. Of course you will address my letters as before – for I shall be back on the Peninsula before the answer to this can reach me – Quite a stroke of ill-fortune that I did not go right home to England – The Ship that left "ANZAC" the day following that on which the "Davanha" left went straight to England. However, we are told here that when we are considered Convalescent we may be sent either to England or to Florence - It is a fact that this is what is generally done – They close the hospital doors on one though until every little scratch is healed over – it is within a week of three months since we put out from Alexandria – for Gallipoli – so that I don’t altogether mind a Spell – altho’ I hardly feel that I am

[Continued vertically, in left hand margin:]
justified in getting a rest, altho’ I suppose my acquaintance with the bomb and its consequences are sufficient and good pass-port.

I hope to know something of Cecil’s movements soon – It is quite possible that even now I shall meet, impart the little military knowledge I have to him and bring him with me back to Gallipoli – when discharged as fit and well, we are not bundled immediately back to Gallipoli (over)

[Page 128]
but are sent to Alexandria to help train and bring over to the peninsula the next batch of our Battallions reinforcements – At least, that is the general procedure – I by no means love Egypt but still should love to be there with Cecil for a we[ek] It may even turn out so

The hospital I am in (St Johns) is a beautiful big place, admirably situated for [a] hospital, quite comfortable in all respects and (a big consideration) has a rather fine library.

Tomorrow I intend to take a drive thro’ Valetta – pick up what know[ledge] I can, and generally amuse myself.

Well, I hope that you have all been quite well – This note I expect will not reach you till after Xmas – but still again I wish you all the Merry Xmas and happy New Year. Be assured that mine if not what might be termed merry will be a perfectly hap[py] Xmas. I intend to send my men some little thing which may benefit or amuse them – They are all right royal chaps and I feel sure would do almost anything for me.

I was in a rather curious predicament when I first took them in hand. They perfectly detested me – which detestation I’m sure I interp[re]ted correctly as: An Honour - for during my too long season as an N.C.O I made myself a particularly live one.

I was not in such bad taste as you will now imagine – except with a few – friends of those chaps, and they themselves who had written their names in my black books.

I set about to tame them in a manner that hasn’t failed me yet. I asked nothing – I commanded – When hate had turned to fear I immediately changed my tactics, and showed them the other side. Of their confidence in me, there was never a doubt, not even when I took them in hand and the Confidence is reciprocated. The change is wonderful they would do anything for me now.

I’m wondering if Jack and George will be home for Xmas –

I shall leave this note open ’till to morrow – for I may think of something to put in it before posting.

Deuce of hurry – must post at once –
Best love to all
Your very aff. Son

[Page 129]
[Envelope, postmarked Valetta 15 NO 15]
Psd. W Kernnan
26th Battn
7th Bd

On Active

Mr John F Cull
Bree St

[Page 130]
Novr 23rd 15

Dear Dad Mum & All

My head has now quite healed up and I have asked the doctor to discharge me as Fit and send me back to the Peninsula. Under ordinary circumstances I should be kept here for another month at a convalescent home – Florence is crowded out – no room there at present, so that I preferred activity on the peninsula to in-activity at Malta.

He declared that I was entitled to another month here – but that since I preferred to go back he would recommend my

[Page 131]
discharge to the Medical board as Fit. It now remains to be seen what the medical board will decide. I fancy that they will raise no object[ion] – for such as number of officers and men are being sent from the penins[ula] Sick – that I feel sure they will be only too anxious to send an officer back who declares himself Fit.

Possibly I shall be on my way back to the peninsula in a week’s t[ime] I sha’n’t be sorry. After all I don’t think that I shall be sent first [to] Egypt – for our base now is at Mudros – I will therefore go direct to Gallipoli – I should

[Page 132]
like a bit of a cut at the Bulgarians. Possibly ’twill not be very long before my wish is realized. Greece will of course be in the lists before many days. She must be forced to act openly for one side or other – The Dardanelles Campaign is as Asquith has said – – –

I was quite certain of it, long ago, although I’m as sure that its not the absolute failure so publicly declared. It is a failure considering the original intention – but still to hold that little we are already in possession of must prove of great value to us – Im sure Kitchener will never do as proposed and withdraw. It’s a case of Prestige as well as of the Strategic Value –

[Page 133]
I am sending you home, some money. It will be better for you to have the use of it, that than to let it lay uselessly in the Pay office The first instalment I am sending you is £5. Money Order No. 506 will endeavour to draw some more and send it to you – I have bought a Camera – a Vest Pocket Kodak. I intend to take some pictures in Gallipoli and send them to the Daily Mirror, or some other English paper. They pay very handsomely for such pictures –

I broke my teeth a few days ago – They cost me a few bob to get them mended – Oh, the old set are no good. I tried them in, while on the peninsula – Unfortunately I haven’t got them with me, or I should turn them into a few shillings. Just before

[Page 134]
leaving Egypt I bought a wrist watch, and had the glass broken and the hands knocked off, while on the way over from Alexandria to Gallipoli – Unfortunately I haven’t it with me either, for it would have cost me little to have it repaired, where-as I have had to part up for a new one. I was hardly in fit state, when carried away, to think of either broken watches or teeth – However, I have a wrist watch now, in a nickel case – it will take some breaking.

What do you think of my weight, Dad? 11 stone 7 lbs. – Active Service agree’s with me doesn’t it – They all marvel at me looking so jolly well on it – Most of the Officers and men are getting like scarecrows, and such an awful number are every day evacuated – Sick – Of about twenty-two officers in the same ward as myself, only about three are wounded –

[Page 135]
I had intended to write a letter to Grandmo[ther] but I am not sure of the address – I think [it] is – 13 Clacton Rd.
Boundary Rd.
East Ham
Is that correct Dad? However I think that I will chance it and not awa[it] the confirmation. Let me know though if ’tis corr[ect]
I hope that you have all been well.

I suppose that when you got the telegram from the Defence Dept stating that I had been wounded, you guessed my head was off. I guess that Mum did anyway. Isn’t that [so]

What is Barbara doing now, Remember me to her, Mum. I can think of nothing of interest to write of so must close with love from
Your aff. Son & broth[er]

[Page 136]
[Envelope, stamped R G.P.O. Valette (Malta) No. 134]
23rd Nov 15

Mr John F. Cull
Bree Street

[Page 137]
[Reverse of envelope]

[Page 138]
Novr. 28th

Dear Dad Mum & All

Am enclosing another Money order No. 528 value £5. payable to yours as usual (J.F.C)

Still no word about going back but expect to get it any day now. I received your Telegram on the 25th and answered it the very same day – I am so sorry that you had occassion to cable – When I sent my first cable, I expected that you would receive it about the same day or probably a day after the Defence Dept had notified you that I had been wounded

[Page 139]
I expected that the nature of my wounds and whether at all serio[us] or not would have been stated in the Telegram from the Def[ence] Dept. As a matter of fact before w[e] were sent off the hospital ship an officer came round to each of us, with a card stating the natu[re] of wounds or sickness and other information, for confirmation – These particulars, he said, are to be cabled home to your people – In my reply cable of the 25th I wish[ed] to state the date on which I was wounded, and of course would pay the extra few shillings, but it being a reply paid for 12 words Telegram

[Page 140]
they would not allow it.

I do hope that you are all quite well. I possess extraordinary healing power. My face was practically raw, really burns more than anything else, a few small holes on my right cheek caused by fragments – the top of my nut had four small holes and quite a dozen other verysmall scalp marks, my right shoulder was marked and my left hand – All that I have now to show is four little patches of hair off the top of my nut – patches about so big [drawing of circle] & a very small scab on my nose which will soon have dried off

[Page 141]
My Sergeant, Sergt. Fisher, will have to be sent home to Australia I think – his hand is not at all good.

Malta is quite an interesting little place – for a little while. Its population is somewhat about 200000, 95% of whom speak Arabic, 3% English and the remaining 2% other languages

Malta is about 17½ miles long by about 9¼ broard – one third of the island is bare rock, and the remainder has a very shallow though evidently fertile surface soil, for it is supprising what it can accomplish in the way of cultivation

[Page 142]
Oranges, grapes, figs and peaches are raised in large quantities. There is an abundance of vegetables – It is grand to see an orchard of oranges – The climate is rather grand. Rain is seldom known to fall during the day, it rains chiefly at night. The chief objects of interest in Valetta are:– St. John’s Co-Cathedral, The Governor’s palace, The public & Garrison libraries, The Museum, Fort St. Elmo, The Borsi di Commercis (Exchange) & the Chapel of Bones –

St. Johns Cathedral, the interior of which is extremely beautiful was consecrated in 1578.

[Page 143]
A couple of hundred years later the French soldiers looted it, carrying away many of the valuable Art treasures, including a pair of then famous silver gates. The other pair of gates are still within the great church in fro[nt] of one of the altar’s. The Cathed[dral] in form is oblong, 187 feet long by 118 feet; 63 feet high to centre of roof – The nave is 50 feet broad Its two bell towers contain ten bells, three of which strike the quarter, halves and hours of a clock – In the great cathedral there are five Chapels each dedicated to different Saints. The floor is just a number of

[Page 144]
marbel memorial slabs, 460 in all – tombs of the Knights of St. John – The Governor’s palace is very nice, and the great Armoury at the palace is very very interesting – It contains a large collection of pikes, and halberts, culverins and helmets and cuirasses of the Knights – In the ‘Chapel of Bones’, a weird collection of bones not in-artistically arranged – (human skulls shin bones, shoulder blades etc. etc. adorn both walls and roof. A priest arranged them years ago. Its perfectly hideous –

[Page 145]
I cannot write at length, for the old reason – nothing to write about. I shall be glad to get back and get my mail so that I might now something of Cecil’s movements –

Love to all
from your aff. Son & bro

[Page 146]
Dear Dad –

If Joe is very strongly inclined to enlist, I would let him do so. He will otherwise have to bear all kinds of insult. It is undoubtedly a great sacrifice for you, but your reward will come in twelve month time when your three soldier sons march back to you –
Your very affectionate Son

[Page 147]
[Reverse of previous page]
To Dad

To Dad

[Page 148]
[Envelope, stamped R G.P.O. Valetta (Malta) No. 849]
Nov 28
Mr. John F Cull,
Bree Street,

[Page 149]
[Reverse of envelope, marked ‘Opened under martial law’]

[Page 150]
Decr. 4th 15

Dear Dad Mum & All

I embark today for Egypt. I fully expect that I will be there for some time. The 24th Bn. has been cut up a bit, since I was there. I hope that you are all quite well at home – I’m splendid.

Weighed myself again yesterday. I’m now 11 st. 12 – What do you think of that. I do hope Cecil is in Egypt when I get there. I embark in a couple of hours and have a great deal to do before hand, So must close
With love from
Your aff. Son & brother

[Page 151]
[Postcard image: Souvenir de Malte]

[Page 152]
[Letterhead of the Casino Palace Hotel, Port-Said, Egypte]
Decr. 9th 15.
Thursday morning

Dear Dad Mum & All –

Arrived here from Malta yesterday and entrain this morning for Cairo.

We shipped over on the Aberdeen Line steamer "Miltiades" –

I am feeling rather fit on it now but cannot tell how long I shall be in Cairo. I do hope that Cecil is here now – I went ashore

[Page 153]
yesterday evening, and had a good look at Port Said. It is a much better place than I believed it to be –

I cannot finish this note in time to post before entraining, so will leave it, till I get to Cairo, and post from there.

Thursday Evening.

Arrived Cairo this afternoon.

I am posted to a Base Camp at Gizeh, just out from Cairo.

I can think of nothing whatever to write about – I have had no mail whatever for about seven weeks now. I may think of something else to add to this note before posting to-morrow morning –

I think that I will be fairly comfortable here for a couple of weeks –

The climate is lovely here now – I think

[Page 154]
its splendid. I hope that you have been well at home – My scratches have quite healed up and I’m now as sound as a bell again I am nearly 12 stone, which is proof that I am very fit and well.

I would like to know something of Cecil’s whereabouts –

I have spent a couple of Pounds on my men (Christmas Gift) Chocolate and Cigarettes. I know how they will appreciate it.

Well I’m blessed if I can think of any thing to write about –

I am well and I do hope that you all are –

Will write again soon.

Love from Your aff. Son & brother

[Page 155]
[Envelope, postmarked Cairo]
On Active Service Abroad

Mr John. F. Cull,
Bree Street

[Diagonally across left-hand bottom corner:]
W A Cull
23rd Bn.
6th Inf Bd

[Page 156]
[Reverse of envelope]

[Page 157]
Not at the Grand Continental but 27 miles from Ismailia –

In the Desert
Boxing Day 15

Dear Dad Mum & All

Detrained here on Xmas eve with 100 men to help fix up Camp for the 1st & 2nd Aus Divs whom you know have evacuated Anzac – We bivouaced on the famous battlefield of Tel-el-Kebir where at mid-night on the 13th/14th Sept. 1882 Sir. Garnet Wolseley won his great fight over the Egyptians. I have visited the old trenches: they are in a grand state of preservation. I picked up a cartridge on the old battle field, which I shall send you. Was talking to an Imperial Staff officer – a Colonel – coming down. He has been in the war office till now, and is now on his way to the ‘Box On’ in East Africa. He offered to fix me up with a Permanent Commission in the Regular Army – and left no doubt in my mind that I could get with him if I wished.

[Written vertically, along left-hand edge:]
Will write when settled down again

Love from your aff. Son & brother

PS Spent quite a happy Xmas – in the desert.

[Page 158]
[Postcard image: Minieh, Partie de Nil]

[Page 159]
[Letterhead of the Grand Continental Hotel, Cairo, Egypt]
December 18th 1915

Dear Dad Mum & All

Still in Cairo and no prospect of a move from this truly horrible place. I am really longing to get back, for after all Gallipoli is the only place this side of the Meridian where I have been truly contented.

I was expecting promotion about this time had I still remained on the peninsula with the Battn. But now I expect that it will be, held back for a

[Page 160]
time, for generally after two month absence from a unit, one is placed on the supernumerary list, and so loses seniority.

It seems that no reinforcements whatever are being sent over to the peninsula now: something is a-doing.

Something is likely to be doing here soon I am thinking. A cloud is hanging over E…t . mark my words for it.

Its about two month now since I have had any mail whatever. I have written over to the peninsula and asked for my mail matter to be re-addressed to me. I Cabled to let you know that I was in Cairo, thinking that if Cecil were en route, and you knowing that I was here you would cable his unit. However, I might find out something of him when I get my mail. Re my outfit Allowance £15

[Page 161]
They will not pay it (until after the war) you know what that means – ‘Cut out’.

I have decided to alter my allotment prior to my next move to the trenches. I will leave myself with 6/- per day instead of 8/- making 12/- for you to draw instead of 10/-.

My messing in Egypt is costing 3/6 – but we live well. Since I have been wounded I have drawn all of my accumulated pay – about £34.
£10. I have sent to you.
About £8 on clothes and other necessities
A present of £3 worth to my men and the remainder less messing since I have been in Egypt has been more or less thrown away
My camera has cost me quite a little – but ’tis better to amuse one’s self and

[Page 162]
fill in spare time with a camera than with Cigars, Liquors and Ca[rds]
I hoe that you will like my pictur[es] when you get them. Please do see that they are nicely put in the Autog[raph] Book, which I shall send, and any writing that has to be done – against the pictures, I would like you to do it Dad. You might not think them of any value – but they really are. At least I value them very muc[h.]
I don’t think that the hair will grow, on the places where I was hit on the h[ead.] The very small ones have grown over – only three patches remain. As a matter of fact I am rather proud of them. You would hardly credit my vani[ty] but see: I have a few blotches on my dial, very small, result of bomb: [but] I am actually getting stuff to take them off – a kind of wax – new skin tac[k]

[Page 163]
[Letterhead. Grand Continental Hotel, Cairo]
I have met several Hamilton chaps here. They were quirte supprised to know that I had been in the trenches – as a matter of fact, some of them didn’t know that I had come away at all. I told them that I was not supprised at that.

Mastin, Cross, Moore P. and Young G. Moore are still here.

A full strength Company from each of the First and Second Divisional

[Page 164]
Base Details (men who have been wounded or evacuated Sick, but are now fit) has just been organized and is to be fully Armed and equiped and ready to move any-where required at shortest possible notice. I was lucky enough to get a Platoon. This will not prevent me rejoining the Bn. when a draft is sent, and in the meantime it might mean a week or so in the Canal or Western Front (Egypt) stunt. I would love a bit of a scrap on the Canal or Western Front now. It wouldn’t be much to write home about, but better far than staying here doing nothing. I don’t think that we will have such luck though. I fancy ’tis only an emergency arrangement.

I do hope that you have been and are now quite well. I am really and

[Page 165]
truly well. The climate here is grand now, but the natives are detestable filthy beasts. Some people wonder how it is that their extreme filthiness has not killed them all, but they thrive in filth. The very fact that they are born and bred in it seems to render them immune to ordinary disease. The nigger that touched my tunic with the tip of his finger would be due for pity – if I had a stick with me. I think that they are most awful creatures, but still would not go out of my way to be cruel to them like some are; on the other hand I have done quite a little to prevent it. Really I think cruelty is the only thing they will respond to: extraordinary beings. I see no justification

[Page 166]
for the publishing of such books entitled ‘Fascinating Egypt’ or ‘Picturesque Egypt’ I don’t know the books, but the names are an untruth. Egypt is certainly in a measure interesting, but hardly fascinating or even picturesque. My previous opinion of Egypt as ‘A land of high temperatures’ etc. is confirmed this visit.

As per usual I can find nothing of any interest to write of. I will be rather glad to get my mail: its hard getting no letters for so long.

Remember me to those you consider fit to.

Love from
your affectionate son & brother

[Page 167]
Decr. 31st 15

Dear Dad Mum & All

Your No 19 under date Novr 10th to hand. This is the first letter that I have had from you for about nine weeks – It is a nice long letter and I was so pleased to get it. I received the socks – housewife and stationary for which I thank you so much – Yes I can understand your disgust at the Subject matter of each days paper. It makes one sick – ‘Twould be well for people to remember that – Great deeds are not generally evidenced by many-words. Even though our Expeditionary Force is to end the war etc. A propos – remember my opinion of our Gallipoli business – You wrote, you will remember telling me of the people being jubilant because of the rumour that the Aus. troops were about to march into Constantinople – I gave you, I think, my opinion of the show in my next letter. It has proved correct. Too much use is made of the personal pronoun – I dare suppose that, you have not heard a great deal about such troops as the 29th Division – It is almost impossible for any troops to cover themselves with more Glory than the splendid 29th did. Time and time again they have been honored by being selected as the Div. to accomplish the impossible – Yet you would not hear much of their great deeds

[Page 168]
The 29th Div. has many times during these few months ceased to exist – wiped clean out. Their name shall never die though.

An incident happened at our mess at the Aus. Overseas Base Camp, which caused me not a little shame – At dinner one evening a subject was brought up – The virtue of the Ausn. as a Soldier and the rotten-ness of the Tommy – A Royal Artillery Officer – an Englishman was present – the guest of an Aus. mess. They became so rotten, that I, altho’ only a junior Officer had to speak – I said that I thought such talk was evidence of base ignorance – and un-gentlemanly feeling, and that they should be called to a point of order – I told them that I thought the subject under discussion was not at any time a fit and proper subject for an Officers mess – and that as our Guest was an English Officer – the talk was most ungentlemanly – I tell you you this chap looked his gratitude – Some of the other officers were then bold enough to take it up.

One dirty beast said that he thought the subject proper – ’twas an Aus. mess – I said – Gentleman for about a month I was the only Aus. Officer in a mess of about thirty or fourty Officers (this was at Malta) and never once did I hear such a subject discussed – no comparisons were made. When Aus. troops were spoken of – it was in the highest terms – praise and appreciation –

[Page 169]
I was annoyed – The word Officer is usually associated with that of Gentleman – The many officers were in the presence at that dinner but the Gentlemen were I think (in most cases) in the abstract. This is the kind of thing which makes my blood boil – makes me feel ashamed – It is true that some of the Territorial troops (never meant for anything but garrison work) sent to the Peninsula were wasters – but that is not the Imperial Army – The person who talks of the rotten-ness of the Tommy is a fool and should be reminded of the glorious never-dying achievements of such divisions as the 28th each man of whom has earned the V.C.

As for the English Officers – they are gentlemen, and brave and corageous ones too. I can tell you a little incident which will go to prove how Australians are thought of in this part of the world, – an impression which our rotters have not failed to create, in every place in which they have been – While at Malta I was introduced to a Maltese Celebrity – Judge (wheelbarrow) (I forget his name) and his daughter. I was speaking to them for quite a time when of a sudden he asked – ‘You are not an Australian are you’? ‘Oh yes’, said I, ‘I’m an Australian’. Oh are you, he said, and made no further comment – I wondered at

[Page 170]
the strange manner in which he asked the question and at his cool-ness after my reply. Two hours later, I accepted as an explanation for his strange manner, the report that on the two previous nights, some Australians had made for themselves in Malta, the name which they long ago had made for us in Egypt and Colombo – Isn’t it rotten –

The whole Australian Force is concentrating here at Tel-el-Kebir – At present only one Coy. of the 6th Bde ( – 23rd Bn rather of the 6th Bde – ) A. Coy. has arrived. The remainder of the Brigade should be along very soon now – So far I am correct in my supposition that a total evacuation of the peninsula would not take place – They will hold on to ‘Helles’ I fancy.

I think that we are booked for the Defence of the Canal – from Suez to a little on the Port Said side of ‘Ismailia’. I think that a great effort is this time to be made against Egypt – Great defence preparations are in hand – The railway from ‘Ismailia’ to ‘Zagizig’ is being hastily duplicated – I am rather pleased with the prospect of a scrap over the ground – On Xmas eve, at the Overseas Base Camp – Officers were assembled and volunteers called for to take some men fully armed and equipped down

[Page 171]

somewhere towards the Canal – The object of this hasty move was not at the time known to us, and I rather sick of my seven weeks on in-activity and believing that a scrap with the Arabs was not im-probable – I promptly, volunteered – I had to toss with another officer of the same rank for the honor – I won and so with another officer and 100 men moved off two hours later to entrain – We carried 24 hours iron rations (only) – bully-beef dog-biscuits – dry tea & sugar and made arrangements for our quota of the Xmas billies to be taken on our transport –

We detrained that night at Tel-el-Kebir and bivouaced on the famous battle field of Tel-el-Kebir, where at midnight on the 13th 14th Sept 1882, Sir Garnet Wolseley gained his great fight over the Egyptians Sitting up next morning in our dew-sodden blankets, we could scarcely realize that ’twas indeed our Lords natal day, and the good old time honored compliment we each exchanged with our best grace seemed to have a foreign ring – a touch of irony – We breakfasted on iron rations – We then issued out the Xmas billies – You just should have seen the faces of those chaps. I was glad to see the poor beggars happy.

[Page 172]
The old trenches – Tel-el-Kebir – are in a grand state – after these 33 years – I picked up a cartridge on the old battle field – which I shall send to you later –

Your letter of the 16th No 20 has just come to hand.

Yes Dad I was very interested about the home of the Knight of St. John – forts of Valetta – Fort Tigne – Fort Manoel – Castle of St. Angelo and other places you mention are familiar to me now.

I do hope that Mum is well again – Please do try not to worry about me – for I shall be all right and worrying will only make yourselves unwell and therefore not only harm yourselves but me – My only worry is that you worry too much and my only thought that am spared to go back to you so that I might show you how much I really do love you. When I was wounded I felt certain that I was settled – I was certain of it – I was not too gently handled – My very first thoughts were as you would wish them to be – and I was very resigned My next thoughts were of you at home – I took out the beads you gave me Dad and the little bag Mum gave me – I held them as long as I could – these lost – I’m told that I asked some-one to write home and say that I was fairly game It didn’t turn our half as bad as every-one expected – Do you know I am rather glad that I was wounded – for several reasons.

[Page 173]
To-morrow is new years Day – and I think that I may take a run into Cairo, and get a few things that I may want –

I am sending some of my pictures by this mail – some of them are not much good at all tho’ – I do hope that my past eight weeks mail has not gone astray – I fancy that it has been collected for me by my friend Rossiter. I should therefore get them when the remainder of the Brigade come along –

Oh Dad I met an Imperial Staff Colonel – at dinner on the express Xmas eve – Colonel Grant. He has been in the War Office till now, and is now on his way to East Africa – He promised – if I wished to take it on – to get me a Commission (permanent): in the Regular Army, and left no doubt in my mind that I could get with him if I so wished – This crowd will do me until the war is over – A grand offer though – for it would mean a Staff job with him – Well dear people it is getting dark and I must ring off –

Fondest love and kisses to all
from your very aff. Son & bro –
at Tel-el-Kebir
late of Anzac

[Page 174]
[Reverse of previous page; indecipherable]

[Page 175]
[Map and notations; trench lines marked ‘Ours’ and ‘German’]
166.66 yds to inch

SQUARES I.20.d & I.21.c
SCALE. 1:6000
TAKEN. 1/3/16]
Area over which 6th Bde Trench Raid was made – 29/30 June 1916
A most successful stunt.

[Page 176]
[Left-hand page:]
layzen see szech
reasch haut
left – linker haut

[Written vertically, on left-hand page:]
Come out
Com eng see ouse

Be not afraid of [indecipherable]
[Right-hand page:]
[Hands up]
Haut oaf
Come along with me
comeng see mit meer
we will treat you well
we werd [indecipherable]
be not afraid
harben see [indecipherable]
you will
see werden [indecipherable]
anyer [indecipherable]
be quiet
[Diagonally across top right-hand corner:]
W A Cull
Scout Officer
23rd Bn
6th Bde
June 1916

[Page 177]
[Sketch map]
This sketch Lone Pine position handed over by 1st Bde

[Page 178]
[Sketch map]
Sketch by myself on going into Lone Pine [indecipherable] W A Cull

[Page 179]
No 1?
from Tel-el-Kebir
(really about no 3 or 4)

January 7th 16

Dear Dad Mum & All

It has just occurred to me that ‘twould be well for me to begin again to number my letters – This then will be N0. 1 from Tel-el-Kebir

Nothing startling has taken place here – Some of our Brigade came in last night and the remainder of the 23rd Bn – ‘B’, ‘C’ and ‘D’ Coys. are expected to-morrow. I shall be glad to get my past two months mail, which I understand, is with the Battn. Have just been informed that the mail for Australia closes this morning, so that I must scribble this quickly – it is just about on closing time now.

I do hope that you are all quite well – Don’t worry about me, for I’m splendid – I’m shamefully fat.

According to letters I have received from you, I may expect Cecil here in about a week – I shall be so glad to see him. I hope that he is having a better trip over then what I had eight months ago. We are actually having rain here now – Just think of that for Egypt. I have a few souvenirs from Gallipoli, which I shall send home, one of these days – Included among them are a Turks bayonet and scabbard, the nose cap of a ‘seventy-five’ and an old Turks Water-bottle – Don’t paste the pictures which I sent into any album. I have already bought one and shall send it along as soon as I can –

[Page 180]
(300) Three-hundred reinforcements arrived for the 23rd Bn. last night – our fourth and fifth – This should bring us about up to strength again.

Of my original fifty-five men – (2) two have been killed (7) seven wounded and eighteen evacuated sick or suffering from shell shock etc. Of course we have had reinforcements some of whom have been killed, wounded or evacuated sick. My platoon, in fact "C" Coy. generally, has been very fortunate right through.

The officers in the Brigade were very anxious about me it seems – They were not sure that I should lose my right eye, at least. I need not tell you at this time, that it is as good as ever, and in fact, were you to see me now you would not be able to tell that it had ever had a close shave.

I met the an Egyptian Doctor, who turns out to be the son of ‘Aribi Pasha’ – he married into an English family, whom I quite casually made the acquaintance of while in Cairo. He is a fine chap and speaks quite deacently. When I told him that I was camped at Tel-el-Kebir – he supprised me by saying that ’twas his father who was the leader of the Egyptians in that campaign of 1882 – We had quite an interesting talk.

I was speaking to Frank Lodge a day or so ago – he brought me quite a sheaf of H.ton Spec.s to look at. I see that he has managed to lift Corporals Chevrons – Well, I can think of nothing of interest to write about, so had better ring off.

With love from your aff. son & bro.

[Written vertically, in left-hand margin:]
P.S. You were notified by the Defence Dept. that I had been wounded on the 6th Novr. I was wounded at about seven o’clock in the evening of the 5th Novr (Guy Fawkes night.) There had been no charge made against us, but just on the right of us the Turks had made a charge, and of course were particularly active at the time with bombs & shells on our part of the line. – WAC

[Page 181]
[Envelope, franked 6th [indecipherable] Battalion, postmarked Australian Base Details P.O. 10-1-16]
Jan 9th,16
On Active Service Abroad

Mr John. F. Cull,
Bree St.,

Censored by W A Cull Lieut 23rd Bn

[Page 182]
No 2

Tel-el Kebir
January 12th 16

Dear Dad Mum & All

I have just got such a great sheaf of letters about twenty-four – included among which are letters from you – dated as far back as September – I cannot refer to yours in this – for to-morrow the mail for Aus. closes, and I have only a few minutes to-night in which to scribble this, and of course I must not miss the mail –

I have been so very busy these few days – helping to put the new Camp into some kind of going order – I have practically had no time whatever to my-self. I have just re-joined the Battn. & have been posted – I hope temporarily only, to ‘B’ Coy. – Major B. is doing his very best to get me back to the Coy. which at present has its full complement of Officers – I am expecting promotion within a few days – to First Lieut.

Splendid work the evacuation of Gallipoli – The evacuation of "Helles", which to me was unexpected, was carried out equally grandly to that of ‘Anzac’ and ‘Suvla’ – Don’t we shine in a retreat "Mons" "Balkans" & Gallipoli are for instances. No matter we

[Page 183]
shall soon have a turn at Advancing.

It is expected that we shall be here for about three weeks to re-organize etc. and will then move to our posts in the ‘Suez’

Our Battn. returned – after absorbing the third reinforcements – with a strength of just over 600 – Our Casualties therefore while on the peninsula were about 800 – a great many of that number were evacuated because of sickness. Our battle casualties would probably amount to about 300, included among them being – Four Three Officers Killed and three wounded – Eleven officers were evacuated Sick.

My platoon got off lightly – Two Killed Seven wounded – and about sixteen evacuated Sick or suffering from Shell-shock etc. My word they are anxious for me to get back with them again – I am equally anxious – Grand Chaps – they would follow me anywhere – In a letter received to-day from Jessie – she says that you have had no mail from me for a time there – I have written very regularly except of course for first couple of weeks after I was wounded.

I have sent £10 to you Dad – from Malta. Hope that you get it all right.

[Page 184]
You asked the name of our Chaplain. I had intended to tell you many times before – but could not think of the name – but have it now. His name is ‘Goidanach’ – He comes from N.S.W. I fancy – he was wounded about the same time as I was. I thought him such a grand old fellow.

It is getting very late so that I must put this away for the night – I shall leave it open till the morning – for I may have time to add a little more – before the mail closes at mid-day.

I do hope that Mum is better now and that you are all well
love & kisses from your very aff Son & bro

Friday morning 8th

Have not the time to add to this sorry looking – news-less epistle – A longer letter nest trip. Love from Your aff. Son

[Page 185]
[Envelope, postmarked 18-JA-16, A.I.F. Inter. Base P.O. Cairo]
On Active Service
Jan 12.16

Mr John. F. Cull,
Bree St.,

G. E Bligh

[Page 186]
January 19th 16

Dear Dad Mum & all

I have just received your No. 13 dated Sept. 10th It has had plenty of handling, for I received it open. Written on the back of envelope is –
"No. N55 Pte. Cull W. A.
23rd Bn.
All for one war."
I cannot understand it – evidently meant for a joke – Of course I may be too dense to see it. However I shall enclose the envelope, so that you may share in the joke, if joke it is. Enclosed in your No. 13, was the P. Card photo of the two little kiddies. I was so pleased to get it: it is a good likeness of them – The Cutting from the "Argus" – "Stay-at-home officers" is indeed quite interesting, or rather would be if ’t’were all truth – Their Machine Made Officers will on the Service which we anticipate, disprove the – Over 23 without knowledge theory –, as experience on service

[Page 187]
[This page blank]

[Page 188]
has very truly disproved the theory – that the greater the ruffian during his training the greater the hero under fire.

Undoubtedly many of out Citizen force officers are really cold about the feet, but on the other hand I think the almost daily tirade in the papers – "Cold footed officers" Stay at home Officers" etc. is being made too warm. Citizen force officers have not by any means been encouraged.

However I am very thankful that I came away when I did.

Australia would be to me, quite intolerable now, that the very worst form of conscription has been introduced.

I have wondered whether or not I have been seconded from my Regiment, and if a Card has been sent to Bree St. for me – "Are you prepared to enlist" "If not – why not" etc. I am quite satisfied that you would answer the Questions for me – Dad – and that the Answers would fit the occasion. Would’n’t it be a joke – It really will

[Page 189]
[This page blank]

[Page 190]
surprise me if a card is not sent to Lieut. W. A. Cull – 71st Bn. –

I have an idea that the 13th of the 8th Bn reinforcements have landed, and have taken steps accordingly to find out. If they are in Cairo, I shall probably go up at the end of the week and see Cecil.

This is a great Camp – grand site, and very healthy.

I am attached to "B" Coy, but expect it to be only temporary, for Major B. has claimed me. He told me that he intended to recommend the transfer of a Certain Officer of his, and so get me back. I hope that he does for I know my men in "C" Coy. and they know me –: they are so anxious for me to get back to them – I am getting on well with "B" Coy tho: – I over-heard one chap speaking to a group – He will do us – wont he! Said he. Our Colonel has taken ill, and is in the Palace Hospital, Heliopolis.

[Page 191]

25th January

I had intended to continue my letter of the 19th on the following day – but became a little ill and could not settle down to it –

On the 24th (yesterday) I was sent into hospital – Ghezireh hospital – Cairo – Doctor says that I resumed duty too soon and want a rest. That is simply all that is the matter with me – I expect to be out of hospital in a few days, but I shall not

[Page 192]
resume duty in such a hurry this time – The 13th Reinfts to 8th Bn. have not arrived yet – I make daily enquiry about them. When I re-joined the Bn. at Tel-el-Kebir, I was told that I could expect promotion within the few days. Had the Colonel not taken ill, almost immediately the Bn. landed – my promotion might by now have been through – The Silly old ass had to get ill I expect. Cull can wait a little longer

[Page 193]
for his promotion –

The Colonel is quite all right again now and I believe has gone back to the Bn. Major Brazenor has been in hospital for a few days – but is re-joining the Bn to-morrow. He says that I will have great difficulty in getting back to the Bn. –

We have such a great number of reinforcements - above units requirements – that Reserve Brigades have been formed of them. Those Officers, discharged from Hospital,

[Page 194]
who have seen service are in most cases sent to a Reserve Brigade, while the reinforcement officers – make up the strength in old units.

However I am not anxious for a job in a Reserve Bde and was pleased when Major Brazenor said that he intended to claim me – immediately I was well.

I met P. Underwood from H’mton – He came over with our 4th Reinfts but of course, did not get to Gallipoli – He is posted

[Page 195]
to "A" Coy: He often came to my tent for a chat – and while I was a little ill he very often popped in. I don’t think that he came in once without bringing some little thing which he thought I might like – I didn’t really know the fellow you know He has great respect for Jack – his writing abilities etc. – Underwood told me one morning that he had brought "Hodges" and "Bradley Reid" round to see me the night

[Page 196]
before – but too many officers were in my tent.

It surprised me to learn that "Hodges" had enlisted. Both – Reid and Hodges are in the Artillery – but which Bde. I cannot say –

I was speaking to a Casterton Sergt. of my old Company Sergt. Smith – 8th Battn [indecipherable]
Like Lodge much better.

[Page 197]
It is considered almost sure that the Australian troops are to go to France should nothing of importance happen on the Canal – I do hope that we go to France – ‘twould be far better that the rabbit-warren, as you say, Gallipoli. The Canadians, in France who have been fighting for a longer period than ourselves and whose fighting strength is greater than ours have to date only not

[Page 198]
suffered half of our the casualties we have. I do so much hope that we go to France – I am quite confident and sure that we shall win the war this year – 1916 – Germany has undoubtedly I should think reached the Zenith of her power, whilst we are now slowly lumbering onto the field – France now is as tired as Germany – Russia has I think still some bite – but England – with her 4000000

[Page 199]
men comes in at an opportune moment to effect a coup-de-grace –

Months ago all "higher ranks" we taken out of the trenches in France and sent home – for it was reconed that the Senior Officers would be wanted for the push forward – the junior officers being able to carry on in the trenches – Cavalry, too have been taken from the trenches and mounted. Everything points to it

[Page 200]
I’m confident of it and of the results too.

The Card you Sent was most amusing – "Gallipoli Bill" by J. A. McDonald – Rowley Head writes to me every week – He sent me a parcel to – Seems such a fine fellow.

I can think of nothing of interest to tell you of so shall close I hope that you are all quite well –

Love and good wishes from your aff. son & broth

[Written vertically, in left-hand margin:]
PS. Have not had any mail since quite a while now – WAC

[Page 201]
[Envelope; "On Active Service" partly visible at top]
Jan 25 16

Mr. John. F. Cull,
Bree St.

W A Cull Lieut.
23rd Bn.

[Page 202]
[This letter is out of date order]
Canal Zone
Sinai Desert

Dear Dad Mum & All

After what seems like a lifetime of waiting – I have got two letters from you. No. 25 dated Decr 31st and posted to leave January 11th and No. 26 dated January 13th – Was glad to learn that Mum had gone to Melbourne for a few days and trust that you spent and enjoyable time – Mum. So glad that you received the registered letters – and dear Dad – don’t talk of keeping this money for me

[Page 203]
The thought that this money you call mine could be helping yourself and mu[m] might be lifting work off your shoulders has been my greatest pleasure – Please do make use of it Dad.

Am so glad that Joe is enlisting – he’s a hero and no mistake – a real Briton – he has my very best wishes. Tell him not to be afraid to step out, an[d] ask for stripes, he will get them. He can mention myself to his Officer – his officer may know me. The thing is [to] step forward: he could say tha[t] he was not over-burdened wi[th]

[Page 204]
military knowledge – but was capable of learning – The point is that they practically all start off scratch – few have any military knowledge –

We are not having a bad time here considering our uninteresting surroundings: as a matter of fact we pass the time quite agreeably – Concerts – Outdoor Games, including football and boxing – as well as many indoor games –

Our food is good and plentiful – Our mess is quite good and is only costing us about 12 piastres – (about 2/6) per day – We are constructing trenches, and all are dead anxious that we should

[Page 205]
have the good fortune to use them –

We go out on Outpost Duty once (24 hrs) in eight days but owing to our present shortage of officers, on account of sickness etc, some of us have been going out every four days – (Two platoons per day)

I hardly know my old platoon now – with some twenty-five to thirty new reinforcements: only twenty-five of the old hands left. Another of my old chaps has died of wounds – His name was Pat Clements – I had to warn him very often, not to expose himself un-necessarily – time and again he did it. When warned his reply – always the same – was, "The

[Page 206]
bullet is not made Sir that has my name on it."

I’m told that he had been warned, just prior to when he was hit, and that he said – the bullet was not made that had his name on it.

On account of the difficulty of finding eneough capable senior officers, for the units now forming – five officers, per-Bn. that has been to the front, of the ranks of Captain and Major, are being Selected to Officer these units.

This means very rapid promotion for some people. I certainly look forward to Second in command of a Coy. – that is providing no

[Page 207]
Senior Officer to myself is taken on the Bn. Strength again – before this move –

Apart from the esprit de cor[ps] spirit I’m confident that ours is the best Battalion in our Brigade, and Colonel Coulson – Chief Instructor at the Zeitoun School says that the 23rd is the best Battalion he has seen in Egypt. Our Colonel is really splendid – the men swear by him

We were inspected again to-day by General Legge – he spoke truly about our lack of discipline and was very straight speaking of our low-downs. He said that in our case – Aus I. Force, it had been proved that for every habitual offender six soldiers were employed,

[Page 208]
– as piquets, police etc. trying to prevent their crimes, and in guarding them at Detention barracks while under-going punishment. These men are pro-Germans, he said, – they are as good to the Kaiser as Seven Germans: the one is not fighting himself and he is preventing six others.

For my part I should say that nothing else can be expected under the circumstances. As punishment for each Offence under the regulations, a minimum and maximum sentence is set down for guidance, of Officers Commanding, Commanding Officers, Courts Martial whether Regimental – District – General or Field General - and in our case a rule should be made to impose the maximum – forget

[Page 209]
there is a minimum –

Here is a case which will show the difference between our style and the Imperial style of dealing with Offenders –

I dont know exactly what branch of the service, the offender belonged to, but fancy ’twas either – A.S.C or Transport – However he went before his Commanding Officer; a Commanding Officers powers are limited to 28 days Field Punishment No.1. (ie.)
1) may be tied to a Gun wheel etc
2) made to do hard labor & fatigues etc
3) pay stopped for the period.

However, when asked by his Commanding Officer whether he elected to be tried by him or by Court Martial – he answered Court Martial

Unfortunately for him – president and members of the Court were Imperial Officers – He was sentenced to two years

[Page 210]
imprisonment with hard labor

General Legge spoke as though it was certain we were booked for France –

It would be Good-O were we to go to France wouldn’t it.

Did you ever get my £15 clothing allowance – it should have been paid to you long ago – let me know if it has not been paid. I was told at the Intermediate Base – that Clothing allowance would not be paid till after the war, but since then other orders have been issued re it.

With regard to myself – I am quite well again – back to old form. The wool is growing over the patches on my head – it is a little white – but I’m told that

[Page 211]
it will soon grow black – I hope that you are all quite well at home –

I fancy that ’tis your birthday – Dad – about the 12th of March. I wish you many happy returns of that day, and trust that at the next return March 1917 we may all be together again, and shall make it the occasion of a real jolly time –

By the time you get this note ’twill be within few weeks of 12 month since I left Australia I have seen a little since then and covered a considerable part of the glo[be] haven’t I. The ten month I have been away has been different to the ten month I spent in Aus. after the outbreak of war.

[Page 212]
That was a weary ten month for me –

I was speaking to Williams the Carpenter fellow, and Godwin a few days ago – They came over with reinforcements a couple of month ago – and are with the Engineers –

I have seen nor heard nothing of Gus Lodge – except that he was likely to be sent back to Aus – on account of his arm.

News as usual is a scarce commodity, and I have completely run out, so far as anything of interest is concerned so will conclude with love from your aff. son & brother Bill

[Page 213]
P.S. Postal service to Cairo is awful – Letter may reasonably be expected to get here from Cairo in 14 days – so that I have not heard from Cecil since I left Cairo – I have written to him twice and sent letters to him that have been addressed – C/o Lt. W A Cull
Yours very aff
W A Cull

[Page 214]
[On letterhead: Grand Continental Hotel, Cairo]

January 31st

Dear Dad Mum & All –

Have, today, been transfered from Ghezireh Palace hospital to a convalescent hoe at Helouan – Helouan is a very fine place – ideal for convalescents. Quite close to the great Nile, Helouan, is about 14 miles from Cairo and is within sight of the Step Pyramids of Sakkara and of the ancient Capital – ‘Memphis’.

Accommodation is really splendid – the food is wonderfully good almost to extravagence. I have found out quite definately that the 13th Rfments to 8th Bn. dis-embarked at ‘Suez’ on Wed. last – the 26th Jan. but had not up till yesterday 30th entrained for

[Page 215]
Cairo. I expect that they will be in Cairo by Feb 2nd – and so I intend to take a run in on that date to see Cec[il] How I long to see him – I dreamt the other night that I had got half way home f[rom] the town, and had forgotten your paper, Dad. I run all the way back to the town, Sandford, got you paper, then run all the way home – It seemed so real – I was as pleased as punch with myself when I woke up. It is miserable my not getting any mail – I have not had any mail no[w] for quite a while – must be three weeks – At anyrate I hope and trust that you are all well – I had forgotten to tell you that while at Tel-el-Kebir – the Australia[n] troops were inspected by General Sir – Archibald Murray – whom, you know, succeeded to the command of the forces operating in the Near East.

Most of the 1st Div. have left Tel-el-Kebir for their posts on the Canal – A good part of the 2nd Div. have also already been se[nt] down – The 21st and 22nd Bns of the 6th [Bde] have gone and the 23rd and 24th Bns expect to move soon – If there is to be fighting

[Page 216]
I hope that ’tis not till I get there – I want to be at the opening of the ceremony – the initial operations – I just yearn for the opportunity to put the theoretical knowledge I have respecting ‘Advance – ‘Flank – and ‘Rear Guards – ‘Reconnoissance etc. Night Operations and other minor tactics into practice –

Two Officers from the Bn. on leave yesterday called at Ghezireh hospital with a Car and took me with them for a spin – They met by chance two nurses from Mina Hospital, one of whom they knew (she was a cousin of one of the officers) – The freind of the Officers Cousin was introduced as Sister Malster I wondered at the moment if she were related to the Hmton – ‘Malster’ famous for his night operations. I was soon put to ease – for she asked me: Do you come from Vic. – I answered promptly in the affirmative and to the further question of "What part?" I told her Hamilton – ‘Oh, do you – I thought that I knew you – immediately I heard your name, I come from Hamilton’. I had never seen her in my life before – that I know of – However

[Page 217]
it doesn’t matter. She told me that she had been told – (in a letter I fancy she said) that Lieut. Cull had been invalided home – (or rather was on the way). How interesting – I have been killed several times now and invalided home once –

Enclosed is a snap of ’Some-one’ taken Xmas morning – I had taken a pair of underpants out of my box (issue underpants) and was trying them on – my friend began laughing at the size of them – He seized my Camera and snapped me – You may see one of the patches on my head.

Patches are not visible on my nut now – for the reason that I have allowed my hair to grow long enough to brush over –

I am very very sorry to say, Dad that I have lost the beads that you gave me – I will get others – but they will hardly replace the ones you gave me – I lost the fine prayer book which George gave me – Of course I had no control over the manner in which I was taken off the Peninsula – I was absolutely not in a state to think of any thing – which I was leaving

I hope that you got the money which I sent home – I shall not alter my allotment – for ’tis as you say, as well to leave it – but I can send home – that which accumulates above my necessities – It always costs a trifle

[Page 218]
for messing – whilst in Camps.

Whilst in hospital at Malta I met among the many Imperial Officers one by rank and name – Lieut – Reid – He is a fine fellow – a man of about 30 years of age – he wears a monocle – He had been attached to the Army Service on ‘Anzac Beach’ He told us at dinner one evening a yarn about himself The same yarn – but not in the strict truth – has appeared in both ‘Age’ and ‘Argus’ – the Cutting from the ‘Age’ is enclosed.

He had fatigue parties from our several Battallions working for him – and as the paper says – they followed him, with

[Page 219]
their identity discs in their eyes – He said that he knew that it was of no use speaking to them from a disciplinary point of view – so that quite of a sudden he called them up to attention – and tossing his monocle into the air, he caught it in his eye as it came down. "Now you b-st--ds (otherwise illegitimates) do that if you can."

He asked me if people in Australia hailed one another by the object[ion]able name above mentioned – The Auss here – he said – use it as a term of endearment –

Enclosed is a Cutting from the Argus – which I thought rather interesting – After the style of ‘Gallipoli Bill’.

The Egyptian reserves have been called up – for a very good reason to – They have not been armed or equip[ped] and probably you will easily guess why They caused a little stir a couple of days ago – would be troublesome – a volley thinned their ranks a little – Mafish (finish) trouble now: Everything in or[der]
I can think of nothing what-ever of inter[est]

[Page 220]
Jan 31st

Mr. John. F. Cull,
Bree Street,

[Page 221]
[Follows on from page 219.]
to write of to you so had better draw to a close

Trusting that you are all quite well
I am
Your loving & aff son & brother

P.S. Met Cecil on 1st Feb. I went out to Heliopolis & found him. Him and I have been sight seeing since then – To-night I return to Tel-el-Kebir – I asked my Colonel to claim me, so that I shall not have to stay a month at a Convalescent home then go to the base – He was good

[Page 222]
eneough to do so – I am quite well again – WAC

Love from Cecil & myself – Cecil is writing

[Page 223]
Sinai Desert
Arabia 10-2-16

Dear Dad Mum & All

Arrived here on the 5th – a day after the Bn. We are camped in the Sinai Desert – North of Sinai Peninsula and about fifteen miles East from Ismailia of the Canal. I walked from Ismailia to ‘Ferry Post’ 4½ mile further on then walked the remaining (6) six mile across desert to camp –

As far as the eye can see there is nothing else but sand – sand, sand,

The colonel was very pleased to see me back, and immediately instructed his Adjutant to send the recommendation for my promotion through at once – I had to state my age – I was surprised to find out that I

[Page 224]
was the baby officer of the Bn.

Our position from the Tactical Situation is, I think almost everything that could be desired and I cannot conceive it possible that a force which undeniably has all such difficulties of transport, communication etc – that our enemy has could hope for success.

Air reconnoissance reports speak of enemy concentrated sixty mile off – a long way in the desert. Our outposts report small Bedouin Patrols on fast camels, reconnoitring to within four mile of Outpost line – I have hinted to the Colonel that I might be allowed to take a few men out at night with say 48 hours rations – get into a good position, then lay low, and try to bag them – I think nothing will come of it tho’. If this attack does come it can only last a few days – I hope that we do

[Page 225]
get a scrap here – however small it is.

The 23rd Bn. is the reserve Bn. to the Bde. and of course is under the orders of the Brigadier, who might find it necessary to throw the Bn. or part of it in any part of the line which may be hard pressed or to use us for any Counter attack etc.

The Colonel said that he would write (for me) to the C.O. Second Training Bn, in which unit Cecil will now be, asking him to affect the transfer of Pte Cull 13th Reints 8th Battn. to 23rd Bn. being himself the Colonel anxious to have Pte. Cull in his Bn. In this manner which of Course is not regular the transfer stands a chance of being hurried through – Cecil is looking well and likes his work very much – We had a couple of good days together in and around Cairo – He was

[Page 226]
pleased with himself when I had taught him a few words of Arabic – and he was able to tell a Garry driver – a waiter a nigger servant and so on (in the Arabic language) what it was he wanted.

On my arrival here I was handed your No. 24 dated Dec. 22nd and posted to catch mail Dec. 28th Yes, Your argument re withdrawal from Dardanelles is I reckon very sound – Your Supposition re Bns where-abouts immediately after evacuation proves correct. Transport facilities were not of the best and so the troops were landed at Lemnos and taken away as transports were available –

Strange how you guessed the exact date that I left Malta – Decr. 6th

I am afraid that I have lost all

[Page 227]
the pictures that I took at Malta. They were being printed off when I left Malta and so I asked for them to be sent on to me – I’m afraid that they are gone – I’m sorry, for they were rather good ones – Hope that you get those which I sent home to you – I have just completed a rough military sketch of our position – yesterday I went out and took bearings with a compass onto prominent objects and fixed their position by intersection. This afternoon I had a little spare time, and so filled in the detail. Each officer, today, had to certify in writing that he had made himself so well acquainted with the Country that he could guide a column by day or night by the shortest and most covered route to different parts of our position – such as 21st 22nd or 24th Bn. etc I submitted the sketch that I had just completed

[Page 228]
The Colonel was so pleased with it that he had it passed round the mess, to night, at dinner, for each officer to see. This is where the machine made fellow is lost – not one of the machine-mades that we have, nor those recently promoted, have the least idea of Map Reading Field Sketching or Reconnoissance – If they were asked to do a traverse or make a Road, River or Railway reconnoissance or the like they would be absolutely lost – Trench warfare suits them – but out of the trenches – Mafish, as the Egyptian would say – A couple of them came out with me yesterday and quite surprised me, the ignorance they admitted re the job. I first wanted to consult with them as to the most suitable base line – they just simply looked at me – Same when I talked of taking bearings and

[Page 229]
rays, of intersection and resection etc. However the Colonel was very very pleased with my rough sketch

To-day a man named Keetch, convicted by Court-Martial of wilfully maiming himself was paraded under escort before a full Bn. parade while his sentence was read out – He got six month hard labor, which I think he has to put in either in Cairo or Aden – Without mistake he will get H-ll and he richly deserves it.

He went over to Gallipoli in October with reinforcements and was posted to my platoon – I didn’t like the look of the fellow, and was also told by the reinforcement officer who took him over, that Keetch was a real rotter – & quite unmanageable – I immediately took steps to manage him. I told the N.C.Os to watch him closely and let me know

[Page 230]
anything he did which was at all out of place – It was only a few days after that I was sent away – It seems though the trenches were not of his taste – (a fair example as I have said before – of what the free and easy – to Hell with discipline type of bully is, when he comes under fire: he is the kind of person – that many people tried to ram down my throat would make an excellent soldier under fire – This is not the only case that I have seen, which will disprove their mad theory – However this fellow deliberately shot himself through the calf of the left leg (fleshy part of course) then threw the rifle over the parapet and called for help – He said that a spent bullet had hit him – everything went to prove that he lied and next morning the rifle with cartridge case still in the chamber was found just over

[Page 231]
the parapet – He may not be such a coward when they send him back after he has done his six month – Of course he will not be sent back to this Bn.

Have just heard that a mail will be sent from the Bde. to our Bn. to-morrow – and I am rather glad – for there should be quite a lot of mail for me: I have not been getting my mail at all regularly lately. A couple of your letters have gone under or astray I fancy – I have kept every letter and when I get a spare moment I shall look up the numbers and see what have gone astray. However you will be able to tell, for I acknowledge receipt of each number. We are getting a rather good Mess going again – An Officer is to go into Cairo,

[Page 232]
each week to make purchases for the Mess – A light railway from the Canal to our position is almost completed – and a metalled road is also being run out – A great number of camels are being used for transport –

We are a bit of a tourist army aren’t we – Egypt – Gallipoli (Turkey) Egypt (again) Arabia and then in all probability (about eight weeks) France or perhaps the Balkans.

Sorry that Jack has been unwell and hope that he is quite well again. I hope that you have all been and are now quite well –

I fancy that the mail closes to-morrow noon – I may think of and be able to scribble in something of interest before then, so shall leave it open to-night.

Oh: I am back with "C" Coy again. I took a picture of what is left of my old

[Page 233]
platoon – about 21 men – 25 including three lots of reinforcements – I can hardly recognise the old platoon with the 25 to 30 new faces – We are making arrangements for running sports and concerts here – Its a real picnic we’re going to have here – One Company per day is on Outpost – one company provides Inlaying Piquet and details while two the two other Companies do five hours drill – We do five hours marching per week – i.e – two days – 2½ hrs. per day with full marching order – Rifle Equip. Blankets – Water-proof – Greatcoat etc – officers same equip. less rifle.

I had better draw to a close – Nothing happens of any interest that I may write about.

Love and kisses
from your aff son & brother
Wm A Cull

[Written vertically, in left-hand margin:]
P.S. The Mail has arrived and has been sorted – No letters at all for me – Wm A Cull

[Page 234]
[Envelope, postmarked 20 FE 16]
On Active Service

Mr. John. F. Cull
Bree Street

[Passed by censor No 3150]
[Signature] W A Cull

[Page 235]
No. 1 from Sinai

Canal Zone
Sinai Desert

Dear Dad Mum & All

No mail has come to hand since answering your nos. 25 and 26. I do hope that you are all well – I am quite well, except for a bit of a cold – I have just had a letter from Cecil. The day after I left him in Cairo he was sent to hospital suffering with Gastritis – he was in hospital a week, and is quite well again now –

There seems to me to be no earthly chance of a meet with brother Turk in these parts, nor any immediate prospect

[Page 236]
of a move from here –

Conflicting Rumours are afloat as to our possible destination - next move. Mesopotamia is mentioned, Salonica and France – I fancy that we will see our next fighting in the Balkans.

We are having quite a picnic here now – ideal climate, good food and plenty of water, and just enough exercise to keep one fit. A light railway from the Canal to our Camp is almost completed and a macadamized road is also well on the way – The great part of our transport tho’ is done by camels. It is quite a common sight now to see a camel train of from twenty to fifty camels, laden with stores – A load for a camel is about 300 lbs –

[Page 237]
The recommendation for my promotion has been returned, because, there was other 2nd Lts who were Senior to me – appointed as commissioned officers to the A.I.F. before me – Rather warm if one has to wait for his promotion, till others who happened to have been appointed before you – qualify for their next step. However it – (the recommendation) has been sent on again. Got a letter from Mrs Boyd – Casterton – the other day – Says that she sent a parcel for me – very good of her – may get it next mail.

Our Brigadier has received Some promotion – Colonel Glynn – He is to be our Chief of Staff – I fancy – We have

[Page 238]
had three Brigadiers now.
Colonel Linton Colonel Spencer Brown and Colonel Glynn.

I am sending you a few more pictures in this note
No. 1 Cecil – taken in Zoological Gardens – Cairo
No. 2 – Kas-el-Nil Bridge – Cairo
No. 3 – Cecil & myself on donkeys – at Pymarid Pyramids
No. 4 [ditto]
No. 5 Cecil standing in front of Museum Cairo
No. 6 All that is left of my original platoon – 21 out of 53 – Just after returning from Anzac
No. 7 – Same as No. 6 only ranks turned about in order to show all men – Note the two giants I have on the Right.
No. 8 – What is left of my original platoon with three lots of reinforcements – 26.
No 9 My Gallipoli trophies – taken in my tent. No. 10 myself – taken by one who thought the landscape grand

[Page 239]
No. 11 – Taken in Zoological Gdns – Cairo
No. 12. [Ditto]
No 13 Funeral of someone of high degree Cairo
No. 14 Taken at Helouan
No. 15 [Ditto] – Hotel now hospital
No. 16 – Part of interior of Museum – Cairo
No. 17 The Great Pyramid – G
No. 18 At Tel-el-Kebir – Camels carting tables
No. 19 – Kas-el-Nil Bridge – Cairo
No. 20 First & 2nd line transport – Tel-el-Kebir
No. 21 Transport Tel-el-Kebir –
No 22 Troops marching in after General Sir Arch. Murrays Inspection (not General Murray – but batman on horse in foreground.)

You may send these pictures to Jack and George to see – I shall sent them some prints as soon as possible. They will return them to you –

[Page 240]
I shall send you all the negatives one of these days – From the negatives you can get as many as you wish printed off – even to post-card size. Each print in Aus. should only cost about 1½ d

This mail closes at mid-day and it is near that now so that I had better concl[ude]
with love and kisses
from your very aff.
Son and brother

P.S. I will again start to number my letters – the trouble is the shifting about I have had – This will be No. 1 from Sinai

[Page 241]
[Letterhead of Majestic Hotel, Alexandria, Egypt]
March 21st 16

Dear Dad Mum & All

Have been in Alexandria since yesterday morning, but have had no time whatever to write.

I embark tomorrow on the T.S.S. "Osmanier". We expect to reach Marseilles – with luck – about Sunday morning, the 26th I intend to send you a Cable immediately we land Will write to you during trip over the pond, posting at Marseilles. Trusting you are all quite well. Your loving son & broth.

[Page 242]
No. 2 from Sinai

Canal Zone
March 5th 1916

Dear Dad Mum & All

Your No. 27 under date January 23rd to hand.

We are soon to make another move; it is believed certain that we embark for France within two weeks – We are to do another month training – probably in England – before going into the trenches.

The second division now the Veteran Corps, are the first troops to move – 5th 6th and 7th Inf. Bdes, 13th L.H. with the ninth (9th) to eighteenth (18th) Batterys The first division were split in two – half form the neuclas for the new divisions – half of [our] men, of course, are reinforcements, so that it would be wise to split us up. By smoke won’t it just be good to have a cut at the flat-heads

I am going to have some trouble in getting Cecil’s transfer affected – Brigade say that they cannot any longer bother about transfers, at least at the present time – I will get him though. My promotion has come through, at last; two stars now.

We are being very particular about whom we take with us to France – we are out, this time, to make are

[Written vertically, on left-hand edge:]
PS Enclosing a few of my Malta pictures.

[Page 243]
a real good impression – Any man that it is believed is not a desirable character is to be drafted into a unit for service in Egypt.

I have kicked out three – one of the three, a big sturdy fellow, whom I picked out at Anzac as a poltroon, admitted to me that he did not want to go to France, and even said that nothing nor any body would make him go – He is to be paraded before the whole Battalion as an admitted Cold. foot.

Isn’t it a shame that fellows like that, and we have a good many of them in Egypt, should be left here to enjoy themselves, and draw the same pay , as those who are men eneough to face the music – to do that which they enlisted for.

I forgot to tell you that when marching out here from Ismailia, I met Russel Lee, school-teachers s[on] – I knew him immediately I saw him; – he looked at me though a while before he knew me – He didn’t [know] that I was here, before – Congratulated me upon my rank; he himself is a Private in the 8th Brigade and has been stationed on the Canal since arrival in Egypt. When you write to Jack & George you can tell them about our move to France for I am too busy to write this mail.

You must excuse me this trip – I am so busy, and the mail is about to close Love & kisses from your
very aff. son & brother

[Page 244]
[Letter Card]
No. 3
March 10th 16
Moascar via Ismailia

Dear Dad Mum & All

I am lucky not to miss this mail; it closes a day earlier than usual and I have just been told at the last minute – However I shall write at length as soon as possible. We were relieved from the first line Canal Zone, defences, by the New Zealand Mounted Infantry, on the 8th and marched to the canal – about 10 miles – Five mile of it was through heavy sand – we bivouaced that night east of the canal, crossed the pontoon next morning and marched to our present camp, which is 1 mile west from Ismailia. Our men have been issued with rifles fitted with the ‘high velocity barrels – We, the Secont Aus. Div. are the very first of either Aus. or New Zealand troops to go into action in France; we expect to leave here about Tuesday the 14th and to dis-embark at Marseilles – I fancy that we are to put in a few weeks, behind the lines prior to going into action. I don’t think that Cecils transfer can be affected at present; however I shall not relax, but on the other hand double my efforts to manage the transfer – Cecil was well when last I heard from him. my promotion to rank of First Lieut. is dated 1st March. I hope that you are all quite well at home – I am splendid

Love and kisses from your very aff. son & bro.

[Page 245]
[Exterior of letter card; some writing indecipherable; postmarked 11 MR-16]
Mr. John. F. Cull,
Bree St,

[Passed by Censor No 3150; signature indecipherable]

[Page 246]
No. 4

via Ismailia
March 17th 16

Dear Dad Mum & All

Nothing particularly of interest to write of. Our trip was put off for a few days and now I believe we move on or about Monday 20th. It was not possible to get Cecil transfered; had he arrived two weeks earlier it would have been easy; he may get to us with reinforcements.

I am not going to write at length for several reasons – mail is sure to be held back for a couple of weeks at least, again there is nothing of interest

[Page 247]
to write of and I have just been informed that mail closes at 1 o’clock instead of six: it is nearly 1 o’clock now My right eye is not well either – [indecipherable] the Sand I think has troubled it, and ’tis a little painful, but Im sure it will be well in a day or so. Strange thing that I have not been getting my mail regularly of late

Was given a Special job to do a few days ago – "Billeting Officer" Was paraded before Brigade Major, who asked Ques[tions] and I think that I told him more about billeting than he knew – as a matter of fact he admitted that he knew little of the particular job – C.O was so pleased that he

[Page 248]
sent for me – Thanked me and Congratulated me – Said that he would make me billeting Officer, on my ability, but that I could not be spared from a Company. He was awfully pleased.

It is beginning to get warm here now – We often go to the Canal (Suez) for a Swim.

Well I think that present events in War theatres indicate the beginning of the end. I am looking forward to a Great measure of decisive Success in the Balkan theatre in the near future – The next nine month I fancy will

[Page 249]
clear everything up.

Trusting you are all well at home –
Love and kisses from your aff. Son & brother

[Page 250]
[Envelope marked Majestic Hotel, Alexandria, Egypt and postmarked 1 AP 16]

Mr John F Cull
Bree Street,

[indecipherable] M. Williams 2.Lt

[Page 251]
T.S.S. "Osmanieh"
March 25th 16

Dear Dad Mum & All

Embarked on the T.S.S. "Osmanieh" at Alexandria on Wednesday 22nd March – We are now in the "Blue" they rave about somewhere in the vicinity of Malta – We expect to make Malta this evening and probably Marseilles on Tuesday 28th

I have not had a great deal of opportunity to write long letters to you

[Page 252]
of late, and indeed, had I whole days at my disposal for letter writing my lett[ers] would of necessity still be short and uninteres[ting] for I can find nothing of any interest to write I have never had my mail matter in a regular fash[ion] since I was wounded, and am afraid that some of [my] letters have gone astray.

I am with a party of offi[cers] and 200 men, unable [to] get accommodation on [the] Bde Troop-ships, and so, stayed in Alexandria for 36 hours, awaiting this

[Page 253]
boat. The whole of the 2nd Div. as now left Egypt – Orleans has been mentioned as our probable rendervous for a month, and it is even confidently rumoured that we are to cross the channel to Commemorate the Gallipoli landing, and be inspected by the King – On Sat. 18th the 6th Bde. were inspected and marched past H.R.H. The Prince of Wales – We are the first Aus troops that have been inspected by H.R.H.

[Page 254]

We have again been fortunate with respect to Submarines – one of our Engines broke down between Alexandria and here and of course of our speed lessened considerably otherwise, the "Osmanieh" would probably have come by the fate of a boat just a few hours ahead of us: she was torpedoed.

The captain receive[d] Orders here to make for Toulon, not Marseilles – I went ashore yesterday evening and went

[Page 255]
to the Opera. This morning (Sunday) I went ashore to mass at St. Johns Cathedral and to Confessions at St. Dominics

We expect to weigh anchor to-morrow morning and should make Toulon about Wednesday –

Must close now for I have to smuggle this ashore with some-one

Love and kisses to all from your very aff. Son & brother

[Page 256]
[On letterhead of the Grand Hotel d’Angleterre, Cours Boieldieu, Rouen, France]
April 2nd 16

Dear Dad Mum & All

Have had an awfully fine trip to date.

I like Marseilles immensely: ’twas at Marseilles that we got our first glimpse of the Bosche; Eight thousand of them, prisoners, are working in the docks. We travelled almost wholly by day and therefore have seen nearly all the country through which we passed and Oh it is beautiful: the South of France is really gorgeous – A few of the Stations we stopped

[Page 257]
at are – Rognac, Berre, St Chamas, Miramas, Avignon, Lyons, Macon, ... Dijon and others I cannot think of – to here Rouen, to which place we arrived this afternoon about four o’clock. We, Officers are putting up at this hotel for the night, and expect to go on to-morrow morning, (probably not before noon) to some place near Calais: We expect to go into the trenches almost immediately.

Rouen is an awfully fine place – I must close now – I shall write you a long letter immediately I get settled down.

Hope that you are all well: I am splendid.

Love and kisses
from Your aff. Son & brother
Wm A Cull.

[Page 258]
From our first Billets in France

Billets at "Wittes"
via "Aire"
April 7th 16

Dear Dad Mum & All

My last letter to you was posted at Malta –

Our engine trouble was fixed up by the 26th and we ran out of harbour early morning of the 27th – passed Pantellaria Island, late that afternoon and the Cape Bon lighthouse about 8 ’o’clock that night – On the following day we ran alongside

[Page 259]
Sardinia the whole day passed Corsica at night and made Tou[lon] harbour the next morn[ing] Toulon is really grand, as pretty a place as I ha[ve] ever seen: we stayed there about thirty hours putting into Marseilles on the afternoon of the 30th disem[bark]ed and marched to a Camp about four mile from the city – Eight thousand German prisoners are work[ing] in the docks, and they a[re] fine big chaps too.

We entrained about 11 o’clock

[Page 260]
the following morning at St Charles Station, Marseilles passing through the following places en route to our present position – "Rognac" – "Berre" – ‘St. Chamas’, "Miramas" – "Avignon", "Macon", "Lyon", - - - "Dijon" - - - "Valence" – through the outskirts of "Paris", on to "Rouen" through "Abbeville" and "Etaples" then to "Bethune" from "Bethune" to "Burgette" at which place we detrained & marched to our present billets at "Wittes", which is quite near to "Aire".

[Page 261]
We had a real Cooks tour – about one-hundred hours on the journey through France. Of course we were only a detachment and were fooled about a lot. We travelled mostly by day, which of course was deacent, for we saw the Country, which I think I wonderfully beautiful, especially the South – We spent six hours at "Lyon" and of course I had a look at the town – At "Rouen" we spent about

[Page 262]
24 hours – Officers stayed at an hotel – I wrote a note to you from there, also Post Cards – The Cathedrals there are very fine, and of course Notre Dame Cathedral is well worth seeing – There is any amount of shipping on the Seine there –

We crossed the Rhone R. of course about "Lyon" and ran alongside the Saone R. for quite a long way. After leaving Dijon we passed

[Page 263]
through many tunnels, some of them 2½ miles long – We stayed a couple of hours at "Etap[les"] which is very near the coa[st]
All work is being done by women, old men and boys – one even sees women engine-cleaners – crossing-sweepe[rs] and so on. I saw hun[dreds] of women toiling in the vine-yards etc. and th[ere] seems to be very few families who have not lost some-one in the war

A wonderful spirit pre-

[Page 264]
vailes though, throughout the Country. Both Soldiers and Civilians seem confident that the war will be brought to a victorious issue in three months.

Well with regard to myself – To-morrow Apr 7th we march from here on our way to the trenches. Although ’tis about 25 miles to the trenches we can hear the big Guns very well – We will probably not go into the trenches till about Monday 10th April

You just should see what a fine time we have here

[Page 265]
in billets – I have a fine room to myself – at the village School-Mistress house – She is a quaint old lady, and taught me some French pronunciations to-day – My room is furnished and my bed is a very comfortable feather bed, spring mattress. She tells me that the last occupant was Lord (wheel-barrow) (I don’t know his name –

I have not had a letter from you for such a long while – I cannot make it out. Last mail I

[Page 266]
got a letter-card saying that Joe was with the 6th Reinforcements 5th Fd Coy.

The 5th Fd Coy. of course belong to the 5th Bde.

The Engineers are not a bad Corps to be with here in France – He could do much worse than be with them.

I had intended to send a Cable from here, but am sorry that I cannot manage it – We are not allowed to take our Camera’s

[Page 267]
with us to the trench[es] – Strictly forbidden – must close now for ’tis getting late and I must be up early in the morning –

Hoping you are all well at home
Love and kis[ses] from Your Aff. Son & brother
Wm A Cull

Monday Tuesday 11th

I am in the trenches – Came in yesterday – very easy part of the lin[e] exceedingly easy – 300 yds from Bos[ch]
Love & kisses

[Page 268]
Billets referred to – Fleurbaix
Trenches – Fleurbaix

Somewhere in France
April 16th 16

Dear Dad Mum & All

I have had no letters from home for weeks now but trust that you are all quite well. I am really splendid.

The Battalion went into the Trenches on the 10th: we were releived last night and now occupy very comfortable billets about 2½ mile from the firing line.

[Page 269]
The part of the line we went into is very quiet and the trenches are about 300 yards apart; the line here stands as it was eighteen month ago, and the Area is the scene of the most awful of all German atrocities since the beginning of the war Very few houses have escaped the Gun-fire.

We are not far from the Canadians, and on our left – not very far – are the Northumberland Fusilie[rs] We expect to go into the

[Page 270]
trenches here again for another five days then behind the lines again for six weeks solid special training – preparatory to – (you can guess what) –

While in the trenches we lost 3 killed and 1 wounded in the Bn., which of course is very light.

My heart bounds with pleasure at the thought of being in front of the Bosche.

On three successive

[Page 271]
nights, I went out on patrol, between ours and the German lines –

I asked permission of my O.C to go out on these patrols and he granted it. The first night I went half way to their trenches then worked down our front; Altogether I was out in front for about one hour and a quarter (1 ¼ hr): the next night I left the patrol about half way and I myself worked over almost up to their wire entanglements

The following night I

[Page 272]
went out, and it was then the C.O. heard of it (his Hd. Qrs. are well behind the line, necessarily)

He kicked up a h– of a row – couldn’t spare officer to risk patrol work – N.C.O could do. The job appealed to me, for many reasons – firstly you see I was in Charge of a party 3 officers and about 70 other ranks consisting of Machine Gunners, a proportion of N.C.Os, Grenadiers, Snipers, and

[Page 273]
other specialist details, sent into the trenches a day before the Bn to learn the line, s[o] that when the Bn. went into the trench the[y] could carry on the job smoothly – The first night I was in the trench the R. Scots sent out an Officers patrol and were chased back by a Bosche patrol

I looked upon the thing a[s] a duty calling for a litt[le] more skill than has genera[lly] been asked of us during trench work, an example

[Page 274]
to Certain N.C.Os and men to be a little more enterprising with certain work, and also as a very pleasant diversion from trench work – However my promenade nights are over –

By the way; we have a new O.C. "C" Coy. – Captain Smith – late Second in Command of "D" Coy. –

Major Brazenor is Second in Command of the Battalion – They did not take

[Page 275]
any Officers from us for the new Divisions as was expected.

Major Matthews went to the 22nd Bn. as Second in Command

A great number of aeroplanes here – This morning there was an Aero. duel over-head.

I have just received a letter from Aunt Annie, and they are well. It is nice being so close to dear old England and of course

[Page 276]
I long to see it –

I see that I have been reported at home as being in hospital, seriously ill – (rediculious reporte,


Had to leave my letter Suddenly yesterday to answer a duty call.

Weather has been something awful here these few days – rain and even a little snow – Some of the trenches are in an awful state One needs not require to be an acrobat, in order to describe a succession

[Page 277]
of graceful twists an[d] turns, then eventuate on his posterior.

As for rat’s I should say that almo[st] every rat from the Unite[d] Kingdom, has migrated here

For I did all-night duty during my first ter[m] in these trenches –

I would turn in at 10 p.m. to 12 mid-night, then patrol our part of the line ("C" Coy) till 5 a.m. – turn in again till 12 no[on] – then patrol the line till 4 p.m. – Of course that is not so hard – next term, I

[Page 278]
should do all day patrols nearly. It was worse at Anzac –: either four hours on the line and four rest or 6 six on and six off.

We have a very easy time when in billets (like now) but the men have not such an easy time, for such an amount of fatigue work has to be done –: however, they generally have an easier time when in the trenches

Tomorrow we march 2½ miles to a town for a hot bath – Good-O isn’t

[Page 279]

I have just received a letter from you dated Decr 19th – No. 24 – written from Jacks –

I cannot make out where my mail matter has gone to – I never get any mail now.

I intend to send you a cable from here, within a day or so.

Well I must close
Fondest love and kisses from your aff. son & brother

[Page 280]
Written from Fort Rompu

As Brigade Divisional Reserve
Somewhere in France
April 30th 16

Dear Dad Mum & All,

I am in receipt of your No. 30 – dated Feb 24

I received it one night, while in the trenches – just after coming in from a little job which has earned for me a "Mention". I will tell you about my "Mention". Our Divisional Staff were much impressed at the work carried out by the Canadian patrols, and a lecture was arranged, at which representative officers from each Bn. in the Div. as

[Page 281]
well as Bdes. and Div. Staff attended. The Canadian Officer, a Captain, who was in charge of his own Battalions Scouts (or patrol party) spoke of the absolute necessity of [it] being a Battalion matter, rat[her] than Coy. Scouts – of how essential and particular job it was here etc that he carried our Dival. Staff aw[ay] with his enthusiasm –

They decided to organize a patrol party on the same lines, and I was given the job – I might say that the job was not rushed – as a matter of fact, a

[Page 282]
certain gentleman who had been selected, before we came here – while in Egypt – as Reconnaissance officer – refused to take it on now. However I like the job – and I further consider it a great honour – You too, I think will be glad to know that I am a little more actively engaged – I have some fine N.C.Os and men – good, keen, corageous chaps – volunteers –

We are attached to Hd Qrs – It is hinted that I am to get my Captaincy – the next vacancy – Officers in our Bn. though refuse to get killed, wounded

[Page 283]
or even to get sick, so there you are – Other Bns, that I know – take the 24th for instance are continually promoting.

However to get on with my narrative – The day on which I organized my patrol – the 23rd Apr – the Brigadier came into the trenches and ordered a job for us – An unused trench about 55 yards long, and 100 yards from the German trenches was, the 24th Bn reported, ocup occupied by the Germans at night – I was told to make a reconnaissance, bomb any

[Page 284]
party out that might be occupying the trench, and then build a small canvas screen round part of this trench to make it appear to the Germans that we intended to occupy it at night. At 9.30 I worked over, found the trench un-occupied) but full of water – I then put up a canvas screen a couple of feet high, with sand-bags (which we filled out there) in front of screen which when competed appeared to be a semi-circular redoubt. Next evening we set a Machine Gun on the position and

[Page 285]
posted an observation post on the right of this position to see that no enemy party approached the post un-observed – It was anticipated that they would send out a party to reconnoitre – that our observation post would give the alarm, and then we would riddle them with Machine Gun fire.

I did my part of the job, but cunning Karl, would not do his. The Brigadier expressed his pleasure, at the success of my part.

The next night we made a

[Page 286]
reconnaissance of the enemys wire and located a working party.

Next night I went out, wit[h] a Sergt. and 4 men, to [get] this party with bombs – We advanced cautiously to within 80 yards of their wire – dug in, and were about to crawl up to their trenches, when one of my observers reported an enemy patrol of at least twelve [as] having passed us and we[re] making toward our trench

I retired my patrol back to our wire sent in for f[ive]

[Page 288]
where we had dug in – They sent up dozens of flares and rattled in Machine Gun and Rifle fire for about half an hour, but we were safe – We laughed till our sides ached – for when we first crawled up to their trench, the only thing other than an occasional shot which went to disturb the quiet, was a little soft whistling – but after the bombs, oh what a commotion –

In addition to this kind of work, I send out a N.C.Os patrol to reconnoitre the whole of our Bn. front

[Page 290]
about a Military cross for me, and the reply was "Let him keep going for a while". However the enclosed will testify that I have been doing a little – When despatches are published, Cull’s name should appear – However, when next we go into the trenches I will have my men well trained in the art of reconnaissance, and the N.C.Os too will be so trained that all I shall do, is sit in my dug-out and write out reports.

We are now in Div. Reserve and expect to do Special

[Page 291]
training for at least four weeks.

I think myself, that the big offensive will begin about the end of May, and then nothing will stop us.

We put in eight days – our last shift in the trenches –

The night we were going in I felt a little shakey but next morning I got the little Medal from Mum – put it on and then felt that I could do anything – About 2 hours after I put it on, the Germans bombarded the position I was occupying

[Page 292]
I got them all out to safety – two men only being wounded. One was crawling out, he had a nasty hit, and I ran over to him, picked him up and was worrying him along to safety, when a shell came so close that the rush of air dashed my hat off in the mud – The shell buried itself in the trench beside me, and fortunately did not explode –

On the 28th the enemy bombarded us for an hour and a quarter, and we had only three casualties

[Page 293]
in the Battalion.

Leave has started to England – a scurvy percentage – 6 men per Bn. every 4 days and 1 off each 16 days The war will last a long time, if every officer and man gets leave

I am pushed for time now I am due in an instructional parads in about ½ hour, I have to prepare my work.

The lock of hair, I shall always keep – You are all always with me in

[Page 294]
thought – I trust and really believe that it will not be long before our re-union – Gen. Townshend’s Surrender will be a sad blow to British prestige in the East – The Irish affair is pretty awful too, isn’t it.

The fact that Russians had landed in France came as a surprise to me

I must close now with love from your aff. and loving Son & bro
Wm A Cull

[Page 295]
[This page blank]

[Page 296]
From Fort Rompu

Somewhere in France
May 13th 16

Dear Dad Mum & All.

Have just received a parcel of letters included among them yours of March 10th and 15th. Nos. 30 A and 31.

It is two weeks since our last mail left – we expect though to be able to send three mails per month. It is about five weeks since I first went into the trenches – I expect you are still wondering in what part of the line we are. I shall send you a post card by this mail – You will know that the part of the line we were in was within five mile of the place named on card. We are now in reserve within easy distance of this same place.

Cecil is at Etaples: I hope that he will stay there for a time; for ’tis a nice place – I sent a cable to you a couple of days ago – text – "Love from Cecil & Bill – Both well" – The cable you say was sent to me, while ill in hospital has not reached me yet. Of course there is plenty of time yet: I know a few officers who have got

[Page 297]
cables, three month after they had been sent from Aus. Did you ever get my £15 allowance: let me know by return please, so that I may make another claim for it if it has not been paid.

Glad that you have rented the house, even thou’ it is to a Chink.

Yes, a pity that Tatlock Sen. will not play the man and kick his Glass-case Son into uniform.

I am in agreement with you re grand forward movement – Verdun is I think only a preliminary to a Grand German Offensive which may be within two weeks of its greatest intensity when this reaches you. While their Offensive lasts we sap their strength and at the opportune moment deliver decisive and General counter attacks. It may take eight to twelve weeks to get them properly moving.

Am glad that George has any amount of work – Yes, Corpl. Bettles was in my platoon; he was sent away from the peninsula sick. He was no good as an N.C.O, although I suppose he did his best. Received a letter from Frazier, I sent him a note in reply.

Our C.O was sent away – ill, a couple of

[Page 298]
nights ago – I saw him before he went: he spoke very highly of the work that I have been doing of late – He said, "Your work has been excellent, and you should rise rapidly".

I cannot forget the old adage: – ‘All men are liars’ etc – I shall believe the material.

I will tell you though, for I have no object in telling anything to you, other than the truth, that I have out-classed other Subs. re real military knowledge and the result is that I am now Reconnaissance officer – my job is to make sketches, maps etc make all the road reconnaissances etc Gain information respecting the enemy, strength of his line, wires etc. – positions of his M-Guns etc etc

While out of the trenches, the training I give my men, is – Map reading, field sketching, reconnaissance = preparation and despatch of Orders, reports and messages, cipher, patrolling, scouting etc. Real interesting work.

I hope that you get the letter with my mention in it. Thousands of officers would give something for one of thats kind of Mention even.

Correspond now regularly with Aunt Annie – Have just received a letter from them – They are all well.

A mistake has been made re mail clearing –

[Continued vertically in left-hand margin:]
were told that mail would leave here on 18th – Consequence is that I now find that mail went from here last night. However I will ride down to Brigade with this myself and get it away –

Love and kisses to you all – Your aff and loving Son

[Page 299]
Written from Armentieres

Somewhere in France
May 27th 16

Dear Dad Mum & All

Still in Div. reserve with no immediate prospect of a move to trenches.

We are having a real jolly time – The billets we are in now are never even shelled – I have a glorious time now. General time table – Rise at 6.15 and go for a Swim in River Lys (Riverie de la Lys) – 7 am dress for breakfast at 7.30. 9.30 stroll on to parade and lecture for 1½ to 2 hrs – 12.30 lunch – 2.30 p.m. to 4 pm. Supervise practical work – Reconnaissance Sec. and Observers (Intelligence Section) – Dinner 6 pm

Saturday – half holiday Sunday – I march R.C.s to Church in town.

I can get a bicycle when ever I like, or a horse. To-day I rode horse to "Estaires" about 10 to 12 kilometres (6 to 7 miles) and spent the afternoon there.

Regtl. Officers have an awful amount of fatigue to do – Generally they are working all night.

[Page 300]
I have a very superior set of fellows with me: they are picked men from the Battn. One chap made a mistake and was crimed: the others would not have anything to do with him then, for they reckoned that he hadn’t played the game by me. I made him report back to his Company –

I told you in my last letter that our C.O had been evacuated – he has been recommended two month sick leave – and is now in England. Major Fetthers, late 2nd in Command 24th Bn then Brigade Intelligence Officer, has today taken over the ropes of this Bn. He is a very smart and capable Officer.

Strange how so many chaps of Battns you hardly ever see get to know of a little thing like my "Mention" Captn. James, 8th Bn Ballarat Chap (left as 2nd Lt. in Reinf.) spoke to me about it to-day. I am getting on admirably with French. A little girl in an Estaminet next door teaches me.

Oh you will be pleased to know that, I have invented a ruse for use against the Germans.

[Page 301]
It is a cunningly worked bomb trap, very simple, but particularly deadly. I made a demonstration with it before our officers, with the result that I had to make out a report and diagrams of same to send to Brigade.

A big School of Instruction, Army Corps School, is to begin in a few days at St. Omer Two N.C.Os from this Brigade were selected to attend: object to make officers of them – One was selected from the 23rd and I have the job of teaching him a little Field Engineering and Topography, before he goes. Schools are being held now, in which no trench work at all is being taught – Fd Eng. Topography – Tactics etc – I am glad to think that the work I love is coming in again.

No wonder that you love England, as you do, Dad, if ’tis, as I believe, much prettier than France. France is simply lovely now – beautiful – gorgeous fields, with pretty white-thorn hedges round them. Of course there are few towns within miles that are not a great deal knocked about , but ’tis the fields that count.

[Page 302]
I don’t know when I shall get my leave to England – I should like to get it in July – Cecil is still at Etaples – Last letter I had from him he was well, but was in isolation – mumps –

Yes according to Joe’s letter he is getting on splendidly – You bet he will look after himself – Underwood has been pesting the devil out of me – wants to be with me – I may take him and see what he turns out to be. Talks too much though – should I take him, the subject of my first lecture will be "A still tongue makes a wise head"!

Seen G. Lodge – What do you think – Captain The 1st Div., what was then left of them, was cut up, senior officers getting higher rank in new divisions, and necessarily junior officers were promoted. Our Div. was left absolutely intact. Passed Malinson to-day in Estaires – had just a word with him – Curse Hamilton, I detest the place – I don’t wish to live in Hamilton long if I get home

Was in "Gas" a few days ago – Not the slightest

[Page 303]
effect on one with helmet on – (This was at a "Gas School" – What think you of the possibilities re Holland and the end – Do you think the name will figure at all prominently in the future – I have had private thoughts re this matter these many months.

I am enclosing a post-card there are more modist cards: but I think the enclosed one is really good.

Another card to, which is not bad – French wit.

Aunt Annie sent me a parcel – Cigarettes – , but I have not yet learnt to smoke, Cake, and Chocolate. We can get anything of that description here though – ’tis not like Gallipoli, but a real home compared with it.

I hope, Dad, that you have lost your cold and are quite well now. And how are you keeping, Mum, I do hope you are quite well, also Jess, Mag, Annie, Bob, and the kiddies – I will enclose in separate envelope a number of snaps – They are not very good one’s for various reasons – ’Tis a pity that we cannot have our Camera’s here.

[Page 304]
Jennings has hunted out a good quiet job. He is in the Salvage Company – Looks after dead men’s kits – (rifle – equipments, etc) (Jennings from Millers – ) Well dear people it is getting very late, so that I must close May add to this to-morrow.

Good Night and God Bless You All
Your loving and aff Son & bro
W A Cull

Sunday morning.

Have has my morning bathe in the River Lys at 7.15 – Breakfast at 8.15 – Marched my or rather Bn. R.Cs to Church in the town at 9 o’clock. Nothing unusual happening. I have to make out a couple of maps and a report now so must close.

Love from Your aff. Son & brother - WAC

[Page 305]
Written from Armentieres

From the Trenches

Dear Dad Mum & All.

We have been in the trenches this shift, seven days as yet, and expect to go into support in a few days from now. Work is going along very smoothly as yet – Plenty of shells from Fritz – but the damage is negligable –

It is an undisputed fact that we have the accendancy over him, in almost, every phase – Our Artillery is splendid –

Our raids on old Von’s trench (minor attacks) are not at all to his liking, and keep him very uneasy – My "trap" pleased the Brigadier & Bde. Major immensely – I think it will prove a success. The war news is awfully good
– (1) Result of North Sea battle –

[Written vertically in left-hand margin:]
Poppy from my vase.

[Page 306]
(–2) Great success of Russians –
3. Success of French at Verdun –
4. Canadians at Ypres – etc etc.
November is my tip – yet.

I was told that I could recommend those of my chaps who were with me on the night I bombed the Germans, for the Military Medal – There was only three with me – one, Pte Cumstie was killed the night after our stunt, and Pte. Johnson got drunk and found trouble and a Court Martial, so that only Sergt. Payne was left to recommend, as no posthumous awards are made for this decoration. However I recommended Sergt. Payne and my other Sergt,, Sgt. Graham, who did excellent work both at Anzac and here – I have been told on good authority that they are almost sure to get it.

[Page 307]
I have been asked what I was going to get out of it, and I was able to truthfully reply, that I didn’t expect anything, and of course I don’t, for it was really nothing.

However I will be pleased if my chaps get a decoration, for they deserve it.

The intelligence work that I am doing is most interesting. We locate Machine Guns, Anti-aircraft batteries, Hd Qrs, Working parties etc. and get the Artillery to knock them out. I have a palatial dug-out at Hd Qrs. – Iron roof – hut lined inside with, some kind of white canvas – table (which I am now writing at – with a vase of flowers in the centre – a stretcher to sleep on, and I can assure you that I am generally on a good wicket.

[Page 308]
Cecil is still at Etaples, and is quite well.

Your letter No. 35 dated Apr. 18th to hand. Most of your letters have come to hand.

Hughes & Fisher had a squint at the Bde a few days back I was not particularly keen on listening to them bark about glory and great deeds, so asked for and got leave to ride to a town behind the lines, and there spent the day. We have another Brig – Colonel Braund – General Gelly was wounded in the foot – not very badly though –

I may send you another cable in a few days – just a couple of words to let you know how we are – I have not yet got the cable you sent to me while I

[Page 309]
was in hospital at Cairo. Some of our Officers have had cables four month after despatch from Aus.

Well Mum, in this note I must wish you Many Happy Returns of your birthday – 29th July. Dad, will give you my kiss as well –

I must close now for I have some work on hand –

Love and kisses to all from your aff. son & brother
W A Cull

[Page 310]
[Page appears to contain rough notes; most of page appears to have been crossed out; some words or abbreviations unclear]
Rough Sketch

1. Calibre
3. Nature of Shell H Fi or Shrapnel
Date fired & where found
Lenght without fuse
No & [indecipherable] of driving band
No of groves in
Diameter of fuse hole
at top
B material
nature of charge
Date Sig

[Page 311]
[Post card: 1 of series]
Written from Armentieres

June 26th 16

Dear Dad Mum & All.

Just three month to-day since we landed in France. I received yours of April 26th No. 34 – (supplementary) Please do not let yourself worry about me – I can honestly assure you that I shall not, unnecessarily run my head into any nasty corners. I am as anxious, and indeed a great deal more so to see home again, than I was to see Active Service, which is saying

[Page 312]
[Post card: view of Rouen]

[Page 313]
[Post card: 2 of series]
a very great deal – of course I do want to see it through. I could easily have worked my passage home after being wounded – I mean while at Malta, I wouldn’t dream of it thou’ for when I do go home, I wish to be able to hold my head up, and look into any bodys eyes –

I tell you candidly that until quite recently, danger, I think that I can say quite truthfully didn’t worry me in the slightest – I may of even walked into it – but did it for a Military

[Page 314]
[Post card: view of Rouen]

[Page 315]
[Post card: 3 of series]
reason. I said it simply to inspire my men with confidence in me, so that when the necessities of the Service demanded it, I in turn would know that my men would follow me any where, and that I would be able to control them.

I know that I can certainly say that the Bn., know me not to be an absolute funk – so that I have drawn in my horns I got an awful fright one day about 8 weeks ago. The Huns shelled a strong point that I was holding with a platoon, (before the took on this job) and wounded two of my chaps. I saw my other men safely into a better trench for cover then

[Page 316]
[Post card: view of Rouen]

[Page 317]
[Post card: 4 of series]
run back to carry out a man, badly wounded – I was dragging him out (on my own) when a shell passed over my head, so close that my hat was dashed off my head and buried in the mud – my scalp too was slightly warmed up – The shell, a 77 buried itself in the side of the trench 2 feet from me, and fortunately, didn’t explode – I tell you that shook me up a bit, and now I take advantage of every bit of cover –

[Page 318]
[Post card: view of Rouen]

[Page 319]
[Post card: 5 of series]
Don’t make yourself believe, altho’ that the job I have now is a particularly dangerous one – I dont go out every night, and during the day I can go well back to Hd Qrs and sit in my Shell-proof dug-out.

Our CO Mjr. F. has been evacuated – nervous breakdown – I am sorry for he was a good man – a real live soldier – very highly strung though – The day that he was

[Page 320]
[Post card: view of Rouen]

[Page 321]
[Post card: 6 of series]
sent away he prophesied a Military Cross for me – He may know something – However, dear people, the big race has started – Five month should see the end

I do hope that you have been well, I am really splendid – I go a letter from Cecil, yesterday He is quite well Still at Etaples.

I must close for to night. Love & kisses to all. Your loving son & brother Bill

[Page 322]
[Post card – view of Rouen]

[Page 323]
[Envelope, marked On Active Service, with note to the effect that contents need not be censored if they are certified by sender’s signature to "refer to nothing but private and family matters".]
26 June 1916

Mr J. F. Cull,
Bree St.

[Signed] W A Cull [indecipherable]

[Page 324]
On route to Somme & Pozieres Battle

From the Trenches –
July 2nd 16

Dear Dad Mum & All

Have just received the 16th May mail, incomplete, for I have not got my letter from you, Dad – However, I hope for it to come to hand within a day or so – I do hope that you are all well – Cecil is well – but is yet at Etaples: I am first class, and quite happy because pf the anticipated posibilities the next few weeks may bring to light –

You have seen quite a number of reports of raids carried out on this front I expect. Well, I was a volunteer for one and was done the honour of being one out of two officers selected from this Battalion for a Bde. raid. The other Officer was a Captain and was in charge of the party

I was the first Officer or man to get through the Hun’s barbed wire – I took a prisoner on my own: poor devil was in a blue funk, so terrified that I patted him on the cheek to give him confidence – just think of it – one

[Page 325]
of the "terrible" Huns – Poor devil was so overjoyed, he wrung my hand, patted me on the cheek and stroked my hand – I led him along then like a child – and handed him over to one of the men to take back; – unfortunately he died of Shell shock (I Don’t think) while being taken through the wires –

Every man that was in the part of the trench we raided – ( about 40) was killed; the chaps wouldn’t take a prisoner – I am glad to say that they were Prussians, we caught.

I was responsible for getting our whole party into the trench and back again – through the wire to, which was not cut. I did that without a casualty: the only casualties, which were very insignificant, occurred whilst at their trench.

I am advised that I have been strongly recommended for a Military Cross. You would be proud if you could see how the Bn. toasted my lads for their splendid work. I am proud of them – one of my Sergts, Sergt. Graham was badly hit in three places, but still kept on going till I sent him back – I am getting him a mention in despatches for this I hope – One of my chaps is mentioned for

[Page 326]
the Military Medal. Things are going apace now, and so very satisfactorily to – British & French Success – Russian success and Italian success – "Três bon" – Major, now Lt. Colonel Fethers has rejoined us – Joe is, I expect now in England, Salisbury Plain.

I fancy that you have been worrying yourself about myself – thinking that I shall run into danger – Dont let it worry you please, for apart from other reasons I recognise my duty to the Service requires that I shall not expose myself to unnecessary danger. As a matter of fact it is a serious crime to take unnecessary risks – and even supposing that I was unfortunate, remember, it is the will of "God" and not the German.

This awfully paltry boast L---t [indecipherable]
You however have the satisfaction of knowing that your Son is not a Captain for a very good reason (i.e although the Bn. has had about 500 battle casualties – officers hav[e] fortunately been lucky – (Since

[Page 327]
taking field in Gallipoli) 1 Medical Officer KILLed 1 Q.M. & 1 Subaltern. KILLed – 4 Subs wounded – two of whom have returned long ago to the Bn – Only three promotions to 2nd Command of Coys have been made since leaving for "Anzac". Further you can be satisfied, as of course I am Certain you are, that I play the game, from the fact that I have once been "mentioned" and have now been strongly recommended for the Military Cross. With parents like you brave couple how could one be a cur.

Don’t worry that I shall not take care of myself though – my great prayer is that I shall return to you – I ask God that I shall return to you in honour and in health. Honour, first – I intend to send a cable "Both well – Love" – so that you will know that we are all right – You had better address my mail - Lieut WAC
Hd Qrs Coy.
– Bn
– Bde

Well for the time being I must close –
Love from your aff. and loving Son & brother –
Wm A Cull

[Page 328]
[Post card]
Places that I have passed through

From Armentieres to Pozieres


Dear Dad Mum & All

Amiens is a very nice place – The valley of the Somme is delectable –

I expect Joe is in England now I should hear from him in a day or so –

Love to all
from your aff. son & bro

[Page 329]
[Post card: view of Amiens]

[Page 330]
[Post card]

Dear Dad Mum & All

During these few days I have marched about 50 miles and travelled by train well over 100 miles. One day we were going from 2.30 A.M. to 1 A.M. (22½ hours) In that time we marched 15 mile and travelled well over 100 mile by train – Love & kisses Your aff Son

[Page 331]
[Post card]
Written from En route to Somme


Dear Dad Mum & All

Have evacuated vicinity of – and am at present located at – (picture post card under separate cover will show you) "Comprenez vous". I am in first class fettle and feel that I shall do myself justice in the job which we have been sent here for. The job of which I speak will be well over by the time you receive this card.

Cecil is well Love & kisses from your aff & loving Son Bill

[Page 332]
[Post card: view of Amiens]

[Page 333]
[Post card: view of Chapelle du Sacre-Coeur, Armentieres]

[Page 334]
On Active Service

From Armentieres to Pozieres

Mr John F Cull
Bree St

[Passed Field Censor]
[Signed:] Wm A Cull

[Page 335]
En route to Pozieres & Offensive

Somewhere in France
July 19th. 16

Dear Dad Mum & All,

Have just received your No. 38. Glad to know that you were all well, with exception of colds.

Active Service conditions here have not caused any decrease in my weight, nor apparently has it even caused me to look appreciably older or even worried, for the General run of French Madam’s refer to me familiarly as "Young Soldier". Too young to be at war etc. "Trés jerne", they all say. Those to whom I tell that I have been a commissioned officer for 2½ years bestow on me an unblushing look of incredulity, or a nod that conveys the utmost scepticism, under a cloak of an outward acceptance, nevertheless condescending – due only to the utmost development of their great virtue of ‘Politeness" – to agree that it is ‘Trés bon’, "Trés bon",.

I should love to write you a descriptive letter, but really I haven’t the time – In twelve days should God spare me, I shall celebrate my 22nd birthday – How? Where?

As a Soldier I could ask for nothing better that to be "Merrily in Action, and doing well. However, & wherever my thoughts

[Page 336]
will be with you – In my own mind I am satisfied that already I have done something and now I pray that I shall continue to do my duty, and that the war may soon be over, (of course victoriously –) so that I may soon be back with you.

I shall never forget a single detail of what happened on the night of our raid. As soon as ’twas dark eneough to move out, I took my patrol out & formed a covering party, after having making a thorough reconnaissance of that ground over which we were to attack – erected a bridge over a stream, 8’ wide & 5’ deep – of water, (60 yards from German wire) and then at an appointed hour guided the attacking party, un observed, over "No Mans Land" to a previously fixed rendezvous –

For a half an hour my men were within fifteen yards of a party of Germans, who were out in front of their wire – It galled to have to let them go – (Duty was stronger than our appetite for "Bosch",) I will not weary you with writing of the thousands of shells sent over our heads as a preparation – The trench mortars were Supposed to cut the wire which was at least 60 yards deep at this points. It turned out that I and my men had to cut through it. We worked like maniac’s, cutting

[Page 337]
and turning it up by the posts. I only stopped once and that was to send a beautifully aimed bomb at a German scooting under his parapet.

Afterwards three Germans were found at the spot I bombed – dead of course. It is allmost certain that my bomb accounted for the other two poor beggars although of course I cannot say for certain, the spot bombed being out of view from where I actually threw –

The concussion from the particular bomb I used is supposed to kill at five yards, so that you can guess how deadly it is – After getting the party into the trench I took a prisoner – It was awfully funny – I fancy I have told you about it. Every German in the trench was killed, when we cleared out. I tell you it was "Life" brief but Grand – The ground was so lit up with the burst of shells and with flares, that every blade of grass could be seen – I will send you home a button from the tunic of one poor bird we killed. – (a Souvenir.).

Dad you can add to my Record for it is Officially admitted, that I have been ‘Strongly Recommended for the M.C. – others were recommended but Major Brazenor told me – from Bde. that I was Strongly mentioned –

We are still en route, to

[Page 338]
"Somewhere." – I think that we will not have a great deal more trench warfare, and a good job too, although of course we shall miss a deal of pleasure which trench warfare afforded –

For example we may be deprived of the constant companionship of Mr Mouse and of Mr Rat – At home the mouse is regarded with contemptuous annoyance as a petty but persevering thief, while the rat, I understand commits his grosser depredations in an atmosphere tinged with horror – Here it is different for we are perforce neighbours Here we share the hospitality of the underground and meet its free hold tenents on a level – up top in the open air they can be seen in swarms sharing our watchfulness – The breastworks and parades are honey combed with their little round funk holes into which they retire should danger threaten.

The social instincts of the rat are less highly developed than is that of the mouse. Like a friendly dog he trots about your dug-out by night walking with trustful careless-ness over your face or head. He helps himself to a piece of cake if such a thing is to be had for he feels at home as he doubtless wishes

[Page 340]
wonder you love it as you do, Dad. I am simply longing for a trip home but of course realize how impossible it is for the time being.

The people are so calm, confident and chivalrous, here. Hardly a family that has not had a Son killed at the war.

Considering everything necessities are awfully reasonable here – I have been messing and jolly well too on about 3 francs a day (about 2/- 2/0 At restaurants behinds the lines, things are pretty hot – that is at those places kept apart for Officers. A good dinner would cost up to 10 francs – (a little over 7/-) 1 good peach costs 1½ francs nearly 1/1 – I had intended writing a few more pages – but word has been sent round – to make ready to move in 1 hour so that I must perforce bring this to a close.

With love and Kisses from Your aff & loving Son & brother

Cecil was well when last I heard from him

[Page 341]
Written from Pozieres

Somewhere in France
August 8 – 16

Dear Dad Mum & All

Just only a few lines to let you know that I am quite well Cecil joined up the 8th Bn and went through a big battle on [squiggle] coming out of the inferno without a scratch. I met him when he was going out – : As a matter of fact our Brigade Relieved his.

I went through the awful experience likewise fortunately – I can tell you we gave the German hell and made quite a new name for ourselves – Gallipoli really was nothing to it – I was acting as Second in Command of a Company, when we went in – then our Machine Gun Officer was wounded and as I was well acquainted with Machin[e] Guns I was told to take Machine Guns during the remainder of the Action. I a now happy to say that I have been again releived of the Guns and am Second in

[Page 342]
Command of C Coy. – My Captaincy should be through in a few days now. The 22nd Bn I understand have applied for me and I believe it is to take a Compa[ny] Major Matthews – 2nd Command 22nd [Bn] was you remember 2nd Command 23rd Bn – Cecil was happy that he had had a good fight. I don’t think that we are likely to have another big action for some time to come so that you need not worry – I have a few small souvenirs of the battle which I intend to send on to you. My birthday came on the second day of our Action; so that you can imagine that it was some birthday.

You letter, a nice long one, No. 39 to hand, just prior to the scrap – I am so sorry that you have had cause to worry about me – However I am no longer Scout Officer / Although it is the most dangerous job going still I feel that because of it my life was saved. I shall tell

[Page 343]
you another time (when I get home how I reckon it did.

I thought of you dear dear one’s dozens and scores of times during the action – I went to my duty before we went in and again after our first attach – Oh I have such a great deal to talk to you about – I supported a well known English regiment with Machine Gun fire during one of their attacks –


Our CO has just been to Bde kicking up a row because I was selected to go to the 22nd Bn He says that he wants me, as a matter of fact he has just told me that to-morrow I am to take over "B" Coy. as Officer Commanding –


22nd are evidently satisfied that I am to go to them for they too have sent in my recommendation for Captaincy – C. O. says he will see Brigadier again

[Page 344]
(later) Am to report to 22nd "Honour to be selected etc. Damn –

Reported to C.O, my new Bn –
C.O – "Have heard of you before Cull.""
"Cull" "Oh Sir – am well known to police am I"
Mjr Matthews – "Well Sir he is well known to the "Boche" around Fleurbaix and Armentieres –

Was asked by 22nd officers including 2nd in Command, how I liked new Bn.

Equivocated – was pressed for answer, so told unvarnished truth – at least what was my opinion –
My official designation now is, O. C. "D" Coy. 22nd Bn. A.I.F France
Bde. or Div not to be stated –

The job has its advantages. Mor[e] of the joys of soldiering come my way now – I am a mounted officer and can hold my

[Page 345]
own on a neddy with the best of them.

Our C.O is a fine fellow in manner for all the world like Wm Hart – Joe’s friend and is thought just as much of by every man in the Bn. including myself as Mr Hart was thought of by Joe. Very encouraging for an Officer new to the Bn to know that he has a C.O like that. A rattling good chap – very capable –

I shall not make any endeavour to describe our part in the greatest battle in history – but shall tell you of it when we get home – I know now what it is to experience during the heat of an action the glories of battle – but then again too often is the ghastliness of the thing too apparent.

In was I think from my experience, the german is a master of every conceivable form of brutality – Super-devils – What a picnic Gallipoli was to this, so far as fighting was concerned – I should think that our gun power now is 10 to 1 –

[Page 346]
I very often see Cecil now – I saw Fred Barnes the other day – he was well.

I must close this Sorry epistle

With Greatest love, all good wishes and Kisses to you all from your very aff & loving Son & brother
Wm A Cull

PS Long letter when I get Settled down

Just received a telegram from Joe – arrived at Salisbury Plains

[Page 347]
Dear Dad

(1) I tip the War to be over by Decr at latest -
(2) You should get this letter middle of August.
(3) If Bob enlists then and left Aus. 1 month afterwards he should arrive in England about end of October.
(4) Would be at least 1 month in England and would probably arrive here to see the end – (probably) – It would be a good thing for him seeing that he is only 18.
See what you think of it.

And dear Dad don’t you bother the Recruiting Office – I will try to do eneough strafeing for both of us –
Your loving and aff. Son


[Page 348]
[Reverse of previous page]
To Dad

To Dad

[Page 349]
After 2nd battle Pozieres & on route to YPRES

Somewhere in France
September 1st 16

Dear Dad Mum & All

In answer to your no. 42 – dated July 4th. You mention J. Barnes – wounded – Cecil told me that Shell Shock was his trouble –

You speak of a certain C.O having a great name with his Bn. – Yes they did have a great word for him – but all the same they did not know him. His particular trouble was shell fright – not shell shock.

Yes to give the least idea in our letters – of our locality –

[Page 350]
is now considered a great offence.

You will be glad to get the cable I sent you re my promotion – It came through permanently on the 12th August. At present I am O.C no. 2 Coy – the reason you will guess.

Nos 1 and 2 Coys in this Bn now instead of "A" "B" "C" & "[D"] Coy. You remember the number of battle casualties I told you of – (my old Bn) for the 16 weeks they were on the Peninsula – Well this Bn. had twice as many in one scrap – equal to ten times your number of Years, Dad. My old Bn not quite so many. We have the satisfaction of knowing

[Page 351]
that the casualties we suffered were not nearly so great as that of the Huns We went over the bags twice – Our second stunt was fairly easy. Cecil had two solid goes – The second time, he was evacuated with sprained ankle – The News of Roumania declaring for us is Good-O, isn’t it. Greece must do some thing now I should think.

I have just had a letter from Joe in which he states that he was then in London on Leave – five days. You can guess how pleased they were to see him – and how good a time he had. Providing

[Page 352]
leave starts again soon it should not be long before I am on leave to ‘Blighty’. There is only three officers in the Bn Senior to me who have not been on leave. The C.O has been and the 2nd Command is at present in "Blighty"

I shall make a fresh allotment as soon as practicable – My pay is increased 5/- per diem now

I trust that you are all well at home –

Any number of ‘Heralds’ with "mention" in it knocking round here – Am awfully glad ’twas Johnstons photo and not "Culls"

Sergt Payne, has since been killed – He went to what he reckoned would be certain death – he was

[Page 353]
a very brave chap – Johnston I think is still all right.

Our Brig. is a real soldier and a gentleman – he has proved himself so time and time again – He was the first to shake me by the hand and congratulate me upon my promotion.

You will probably read in the papers – of an Aus. Bde. that was inspected by the King, as they were en route from the scene of their latest scrap, to rest billets – etc. etc. The Bde mentioned is ours –

The mail is closing to-night

[Page 354]
and in addition I have just received a move order, so that I must close.

Love and Kisses to all from your very aff. son & b[ro]

New address
Capt WAC
O.C. "D" Co.
22nd Bn

[Written vertically:] Brigade & Div cut out now in address WAC

In future make words of any letters which I under line.

[Page 355]
On Active Service

Mr John F. Cull
Bree Street

[Passed Field Censor]
Wm Ambrose Cull
1 Sept 16

[Page 356]
Sanctuary Wood

Somewhere in Belgium
September 30th 16

Dear Dad Mum & All

Received your cable and immediately replied to it. I am as good as can be – About a week ago I burned my hand pretty badly, sending up a ‘Rocket’: it should be quite all right again in a couple of days.

I am awfully sorry that you have not been getting my letters regularly: it is not that I have failed to write regularly – for I have done that, and since big things have been happening, I have, in addition made a practice of sending you a cable every three weeks or so.

I have just come out of the trenches, and as mail closes to-day I must post a note only – I have just come 8 mile on horse-back in order to get a hot bath, and a little relaxation – Immediately I write this and see to posting it, I am going to a Cinema show – Thats Good-O isn’t it? Not a bad war after all, is it? Well, Dad I am getting on fairly well, with my new Bn. Only had one round with the C.O to date – I won.

private in my Coy – I am having him transferred to another Coy so that I shall

[Page 358]
be able to treat every private in my Company alike. You see what I mean. I am working very hard to get him his Commission.

I cannot refer to the last letters I got from you, for they happen to be in my kit – I will answer them in a day or so. I will often send you a cable, so that you might see that how we are getting on.

Well dear people, ’tis getting late so that I must close this hurried note with heaps of Love and kisses from Your very aff. Son & brother
Wm Ambrose Cull

[Page 359]
[In this letter Captain Cull uses underlined letters to convey a message to his family.]
Written from the trenches in Sanctuary Wood.

From the Trenches


Dear Dad Mum & All

It is 1.30 A.M. and I am sitting in my Company Head Quarters, waiting for dawn. Whilst in the line the day-time is my resting time: all night, I am alert and prepared to face the dozen and one contingencies a Company Commander may be called upon to face.

During the long night, I find plenty to do to pass the hours away. I read, write (Official messages and reports) letters, and think of you at home.

I do hope that you are all quite well, at home. Cecil and I, really are splendid. I was speaking to Cecil a few days ago: he looks real well. I am awfully sorry that you had have not been getting my letters regularly: really it is no fault of mine, for I write as often as I possibly can. Pozieres for Cec and the ridge beyond for Yours truly, were very solid scraps to

[Page 360]
to take part in: however we both were very lucky to get through as we did. We have had a very easy time of late, and I fancy that such happy conditions are likely to continue yet awhile –

I told you, I think, in my last letter that I expected leave to Blighty within a week or so. If I get away I’m sure that the ten days will be the shortest ten days have known.

The Zepps are being tuned up now aren’t they – ? I may see one of their bally old Zepp raids, with a bit of luck. I would like to be one of a crowd cheering a falling Zepp.

The mail does not go for a few days so will add to this from day to day.

9: P.M.
The day has been very quiet: weather conditions are beginning to make things unpleasant –

A mail has just come in, so I hope for a letter from you.

[Note in margin; obscured]
11.45 P.M. 7th 10-16
Did not get your letter until to-night – No. 47

[Page 361]
written under dates August 15th to 20th. You were mistaken as to my where-abouts two month ago – I shall never forget where I was two month ago, nor shall I forget which Division (up to that time) is credited with having the greatest number of casualties in any Div. since Mons – Comprenez vous.

The 1st. 2nd 4th and 5th are here –
3rd are yet in England –
2nd got it 126 degrees in Shade
1st [ditto] 96 [ditto]
4th [ditto] about 70 [ditto]
5th [ditto] 63 [ditto]
8th Bde are with 5th not 2nd

Your reference to signature – Your guess was correct – I did not wish other people to blindly take upon themselves the responsibility of signing, without seeing -

Mjr Brind – Capt. Kennedy, Capt. Ward – Lts Macdonald (my depot tent mate – you will remember him) Flett, Mills, Raws, Raws (brothers) as well as reinforcements you would not know – are names I expect you have noticed in the lists as killed – In the list of wounded – same date you would probably have noticed – Capt. Conran Lt. Blight, Hinchliffe, Pearce, and other names – you have seen before, in the list of wounded. All from the old unit. (same stunt) – (other names you would not know.)

[Note in margin, partially obscured:] 10/10/16 11/10/16 [b]illets

Yes: Awfully well worked – the Question in the House of Commons – I am having

[Page 362]
[Drawing of officer]
(See how he smiles at my opinion on Conscription)

my first vote in a day or so – If I had fifty votes on the question I would say YES every time – I am quite, without doubt in favour of the Government having the same compulsory powers over citizens in regard to requiring their Military services for the term of this war, outside the Commonwealth, as it has now in regard to military service within the Commonwealth.

Why indeed should some of us break our backs to carry a load, which could easily be got along, if every-one did his bit. "The Glory of War." – a blessed heap of glory for the unspeakable cads who sit easy, in Arm-chairs – Arm-chair tacticians – Yesterday a chap was sitting down writing a letter: (about half a chain from where I am) – he had just been advised of his brothers death A shell went under him and smashed him to pieces. I have seen some awful scenes. Yet that made me sick. "Glory of war" indeed

[Page 363]
What chance had that man?

Quite a number of chaps here will vote against Conscription. I have had a couple of discussions with officers, who declare that they will vote against Conscription Their argument is – "Australia cannot afford to send the men".

I asked them if they were fighting for England or for Australia – I said – Primarily you are fighting for your own homes, Australia. Secondly remember that Australia is part of a Great Empire now at war. We are the seed of a nation that has been fostered and cared for by the mother country; we share every privilege: we live under the only flag that could guarantee us absolute security – Britons do not want us to fight for their homes; they have to date been able to look after themselves and they are confident of the future: We are expected though to take a reasonably active part in securing our own security.

-"But we have sent such a number of men" – Australia cannot afford to send more men." Well then we have two one of two things to do, for the neither the present military situation nor the number of men Australia has sent to the front can guarantee a victorious

[Page 364]
conclusion. We must decide that tis better either (a) to leave the men in Aus. to look after the country, probably for the Germans, - or (b) to send every available man to the front to fight for and make sure of his claim.

Better far to hop over your fence and beat the chap away who threatens to take posession of your plot than to stay within your fence improving your plot for the chap who pelts you with stones from outside until he has sufficiently knocked you about to be able to walk in unmolested.

One Officer said that even the men we could raise by the adoption of Conscription – probably 2 to 300,000 could not make any difference in this war – a mere hand-ful he said – Now what do you think of that? He is a man about 32 years of age – Went thro’ the S’ African Campaign. I tried to tell him of the Strategic advantage even 20,000 men could be under certain conditions – but ’twas like you might imagine an effort to drive military tactics into the brain of Bill Jennings would be – just

[Page 365]
as much hope of driving military (notice I under line military) tactics home to Jennings as of driving Strategy home to the bird I’m speaking of.

Rather warm, the Committee formed in Aus. to review Fd. General Courts Martial sentences – Why, they will not even have a summary of evidence to guide or influence them. ’Tis an absolute crime I think. All sentences have to be duly confirmed by a Confirming Authority – a Div. or Corps Commander (probably a Brig who has power to commute sentence – (a confirming authority has power to commute) In 24 hours I sat on Six Field General Courts Martial –

My Company is nearly up to strength now – 200 men. I feel some kid riding at the head of them – Alas – they are nearly all new men – I think "good "uns" tho’.

I intend to keep my eyes open for a vacancy in a Brigade as "Brigade Staff Captain" – I am confident that I would easily make a satisfactory show as Staff Captain.

Cecil was Coy. Quarter Masters Sergts. Assistant

[Page 366]
when I saw him a few days ago. I am riding into [squiggle] to-morrow morning – I wish to get a tooth on my plate (3 off at present) and to dig up some enjoyment for the day. I will of course see Cecil – or at least expect to.

What do you think of my Clown Prince – (page 4) – [refers to page 362]
I have just had a letter from Joe – he is quite well –

Well really I must close – tis getting late and I must get in a few hours sleep –

Love to all and Kisses galore from Your aff. Son & brother

Ref Page 8.
I am riding into Poperinge

[Page 367]
On Active Service

From Armentieres to Pozieres

Mr John F Cull
Bree Street

[Passed Field Censor]
[Signed:] Ambrose Cull

[Page 368]
[Post card – marked with Xs – see page 370 for explanation.]
October 25th 16

Dear Dad Mum & All.

Have been getting on as well as can be expected. I am quite well with exception of a slight cold. Cecil I have not seen for about two weeks – Joe was very well last time he wrote –

Yes you came to the correct conclusion respecting where abouts of Div’s 1 and 2 on dates mentioned – Our lists are proof of the severity of our actions.

Love and kisses galore from Your very aff. Bill

[Page 369]
[Post card: two views of Halles of Ypres during the fire of 22 November 1914.]

[Page 370]
Back to the Somme MD

Somewhere in France
October 26th 16

Dear Dad Mum & All

Have just received your no. 48 & 49 I got no 50 a week ago I think. You must excuse my irregular correspondence of late – You will understand and recognise the difficulties under which we at present labour. Mails are not being sent away regularly – We are often on the move and our scrapping is not always, "trench scraps",

I am sending you a P.C. by this mail marked Xs on the back – I was in the trenches at that place for about six weeks –

28th – Was compelled because of a sudden move to discontinue my epistle – Contrary to expectation we are getting some breathing time – how long we cannot tell Cecil is at it now. May God help him – He is awfully brave – a real wonder, and I know that his Comrades & his Superior Officers simply adore him

I have not time to refer to your no. 51 – which I have just now received – because the mail closes at 5 o’clock and it is getting on for

[Page 371]
that now. Yes poor Eric Brind has gone West and too poor old Capt. Kennedy – Wounded – and died as prisoner of war in Germany. Many others have gone West that you know of.

I am almost Certain now that I shall not get the decoration I was recommended for – because it was I’m told mentioned in an English paper that I was recommended – I cannot understand that for it is not regular –

Well dear people this indeed is only a scribbled note but ’tis my best under the circumstances. You have a lot to credit to "Exigencies of the Service".

Heaps of Love and Kisses from Your very aff son & bro

P.S. Take it for granted – I shall not look for any special jobs now. I have reason to be proud of the opinion of the old men in my own old unit..

[Written vertically, in right-hand margin:]
Souvenir enclosed – from Posiéres

[Page 372]
Written from Fleurs

Novr 3rd 16

Dear Dad Mum & all

Last letter I mentioned having a little "breathing time" but expected that it would not last long – As a matter of fact I had no idea that breathing time would keep us out of the ruck so many days.

Semi official rumour has it that we are about to begin the preparatory phase to that which is usually accepted by press corespondents as the soldiers congenial pastime – However all’s well that ends well and I hope for the best.. My command on this occasion is equal in strength to that of my double-command of last go. My show is rather efficient and I have every confidence. I went to my duty to-day and to communion – If anything were to happen me, you must try to say with me, "Thy will be done", I will send you a cable when all is clear – and quiet

Unfortunately one of my officers has just been evacuated sick and one is at present at a school. At present I have with me 2 Lieut. McKinnon 13th Reinf. 2 Lieut. Kellaway M.C. and 2 Lieut. Groves. – Have been trying to make some life in the show. I started concerts, which are quite a success – also

[Page 373]
boxing. The men are very appreciative.

An awfully funny thing happened a few weeks back. I had had occasion to strafe my Coy. to some tu[ne] and t’was a day or so later whilst on the line of march that an egg was thrown at me – (during a halt). I was terribly indignant as you will guess and said to the Coy. "The man who threw that egg whether with the intention to hit me or not might report to me after we reach billets, for I have something to say to him. I believe that was hardly eneough so called them up and promised that if the man would step out after the march I would guaran[tee] that he would not be crimed – I said I shall take my coat off and give him as good a thrashing as he ever has had

It was the best thing I could ever have done – I pretty well occupy the place in their thought now that I did with men of the 23rd They know all about my escapades etc – It afterwards turned out that ’twas a specie of female who threw the egg – from an estaminet –

Just got word to pack up to move at 10.45 – it is now 9 o’clock

Was speaking to Cecil last night – he is in the same camp now – I shall see him before we move. He is quite well. Let us take this opportunity of wishing you a Very Happy Xmas & a bright New Year – Love from your aff son & [bro]

[Page 374]
Written from Guedecourt

The Line

Dear Dad Mum & All

Cannot even make an attempt to write a letter - Circumstances will not permit. The note may go straight away and if so will serve to shorten the intervals between mails.

I am well – I saw Cecil a few days ago and he was well – Joe tells me in a letter I have just had from him that he is at a Farriers School at ‘Romsey "Hants" – Just saw a Fritz plane brought down in flames – Good-O – Just received Your letter No. 52. Will try to answer it when I get out – Wishing you again a Happy Xmas & a Bright New Years. Your loving son & brother

[Page 375]
Written from Guedecourt (Factory Corner) and Fleurs.

Somewhere in France
November 23rd 16

Dear Dad Mum and All.

I do hope that you are all quite well. I am awfully sorry that I have not been able to write regularly. Circumstances ordained otherwise. Have been at it again – You will know of what I allude by it and of where the dirty deed was enacted – (same as in August.) (same area, different locality.) Our late term in the front area could justly be called easy had it not been for Napoleon’s "fourth element".

It would be difficult for you to imagine the real state of the "(trenches"?.) the mud generally is over the knee, and is in places up to the waist. What an appalling picture I presented after a few days in the front area – Mud and whiskers – and Oh I was lousey to, but of course we all were. One night we had a little snow: it was very cold. Cecil is well back – resting; we expect to follow soon.

Rumours are afloat to effect that Division of which Joe belongs is now in France. I cannot refer Dad to your letters for I haven’t got them by me – You must realize how difficult is our part of the Corresponding under existing conditions – In trench warfare it is altogether different.

I was slightly gassed about a week ago. I was caught with a gas shell. I didn’t go away and soon recovered.

[Page 376]
I have not had my leave yet, but I expect to get it before Christmas –

I don’t know whether it will be correct or not but I intend to make Grand-ma a present from you Dad. I will take it out of my pay-book – I know that it is your custom.

What do you think of the Xmas cards – You will not like the one with my name, rank and designation printed on it – Such specimen cards were sent to the Bns: quite a number took them up, and I thought to be in the swim. It’s a souvenir any-way. The card with our Battalion Colours on it is a Brigade affair. The (at one time) fine church of Albert (with image knocked at right angles to tower) is sketched on the card and is marked X. It is an awful shame to see such costly and wonderful buildings ruined by shell fire.

My new allotment will be fixed to-morrow: I am alloting 15/- 14-6 per day. Deferred now 3/6. I didn’t fix it before because I wanted to get a little credit in my book so that I will be able to have a jolly good time when I get my leave – By jove, clothing problem is a big one now – at least for officers. It costs an awful sum to keep warm and tidy – I bought a pair of light boots for myself while in Belgium

[Page 377]
and they cost fourty-nine francs. (over 35/-) Officers are allowed to dress decently here – as a matter of fact it’s regulation – different to Gallipoli

Mum is anxious to know what advantages promotion brings with it. Well Mum, this last three month I have had a much greater responsibility, very much greater – but I am really only happy when my responsibility is great. Tis only when responsibility is thrust on me that I can work really well. The rank carries many advantages – such for instance: – I am allowed to carry on transport 20 lb more kit. I haven’t to carry any equipment and I’ve got a horse of my own. I have no fatigue duties to do – many concessions that Dad knows of, and will be able to tell you of.

I have a full complement of officers again:
Lt. Sparrow. 36 years of age (a real sparrow) –
Lt. Spiller (temp attached till I get a 2nd in Command)
Lt. Kelleway M.C. – 21½ years (1)
Lt. McKinnon 28 yrs (2)
Lt. Groves 31 years (3)
Lt. Hamilton. 24 yrs (4)
In order of merit as numbered.

It is after 10, so I will wind up till to-morrow.

I have just fixed up my allotment

Am having a real rest now: although

[Page 378]
within sound of the Guns.

The Battalion is out road-mending to-day. Subalterns are out with the Company’s: Company Commanders have only to ride out once a day to see that all is correct.

Re that cable you queried. Your initial interpretation was correct. I was transfered to 22nd but of course you will have already received letters explaining the situation.

You can address my letters O.C. "D’ Co. Company Commanders usually do not reign here long as Company Commanders – invariably they are depased. Two very much more senior ones than your humble servant have been booted since my debut as a leader of the tactical unit. Three and a half month now – what-o.

I was going to send a cable about now – but think that I will let it go for a couple of weeks –

The Spring Campaign as you said is now Certain. The "tanks" are strange things – I was going to write you a long letter – but am unable for mail closes today – Tomorrow we move further out.

Remember me to friends –
Love and kisses from Your aff & loving Son & brother Bill

[Note in left-hand margin obscured; appears to be wishes for a Merry Xmas]

[Page 379]
From Fleurs & Factory Corner Guedecourt

December 18 [indecipherable]
Dear Dad Mum & All.

I returned "home" from ‘Blighty’ yesterday. I was awfully pleased to find a grand number of letters waiting me among the number two from You Dad – and one from each of Mum, Jess, Mag, Annie, Jack, George and Bob. – in addition quite a number from other people – I do not relish the idea of answering so many letters from outsiders, but must out of courtesy.

Well, I had an awfully good time whilst on leave. I spent two days in Scotland (a day and two nights at Glasgow and a day at Edinburgh)

London, is, of course, awfully nice. Grandma is looking absolutely splendid: she is indeed wonderful.

[Page 380]
Aunts Annie and Mary are as funny as a box of tricks – They certainly made an awful fuss of me. Their house is very nice and quite comfy. I was at Aunt Maggie’s house quite a number of times, and was made quite at home. They were exceedingly nice. The old Marquis is a social success.

Well, Dad, now for Your No. 56. You mention ‘Macindoe’ as advertised to speak on Conscription. He was with the 23rd Bn. and was not altogether considered a success – I didn’t like him at all.

Your no. 57. – Bravo Mum: a member of a Working Committee – And so the cold-footers have captured Australia: What a blow to Australia’s pride. The result of the referendum is a National crime – a vile idea of Australias duty to the men who voluntarily left home so long ago.

[Page 381]
What an awful pity our people at home do not cease their nursery prattle. Such screed "Anzac’s Gallantry" etc. is painful and disgusting to us. Quite 200,000 men in Australia at the present time should be compelled to de-masquerade – leave women to so women’s work and themselves don the mans uniform, come here and do a mans duty.

The rotters: by their answer to the referendum they sentence us to be exterminated. To hell with all red-rag extremists – Most of the men here voted, No. Those who voted "no’ were invariably the unfortunate un-educated people. I’m awfully glad you were able to see the strength of my Cable, in which I mentioned Conscription. I meant it to get to you a day or so before polling day.

I cannot make out why it is you have not been getting

[Page 382]
letters from me.

Now for the big Confession. I have got hold of an awfully nice girl. I think that she is everything you would wish for her to be – I have known her for a good while now – and – and – and – and well I out a ring on her finger – Oh Yes – engagement ring only. She has had an excellent education – speaks and writes English awfully well, and, well she’s an awfully nice kiddie. I will send you her photo probably next mail. No: Not a hope of me staying in France, aprés la guerre, – No not a minute longer than I shall be compelled by the Military Authorities to stay: that is fixed. I hope you are not angry with me now.

I have worked up a great

[Page 383]
spirit of, ‘esprit de corps’ in my Coy. I arrange so many comforts for the chaps – I organized company funds – its an awfully good idea – We had a company dinner, which I think cost somewhat about £30. About 180 men were seated at the dinner and it turned out a huge success – I will send you a copy of our menu card, later on.

Great changes are taking place in the Brigade now. Several Captains are returning to the 22nd and things are generally un-settled – Capt. Beith (Senior Captain in the brigade) he left Aus. as a Coy. Commander, has, for I cannot tell what cause, been transferred to the 21st as 2nd in command of a Company: 23rd have again applied for me and

[Page 384]
I fancy I am again to be transferred

Just had a note from Cecil: he is quite well. Joe has been in France a couple of weeks now. Well I must close, for it is getting late and I have not had any sleep for four nights.

Love and kisses from your loving son & brother

P.S. Have just been advised that I am to stay with this unit. Candidly I was afraid that I had in some way offended and that the boss was not making any endeavour to keep me – I know that 23rd have applied for me several times. Although they told me here that they did not wish my transfer and a deal of other rot I interpreted it as bunkum – It was evidently genuine I place little trust in words. Will

[Page 385]
Region of Guedecourt

Le 23rd Décembre

Dear Dad Mum & All

I am writing under difficulties: you must guess the conditions to which I refer.

Fancy, such luck? for Christmas day – Smile and say, "le Guerre", I suppose. Cecil went out of the trenches yesterday: he is really well and he said that a supprise is awaiting him when he gets out of the front area. I think he has been doing some rather good work: I hope a decoration awaits him.

I had a letter from Joe a few days ago: he was well.

I rigged myself up right royally for the winter – I couldn’t stand the cold, so while in blighty I bought a fur jacket, £8.8., a british warm £4.4., and an oilskin sou-wester, and water-proof stockings for £2.16/- – I had a photo taken

[Page 386]
and it will be sent to you as soon as finished.

I arranged an awfully good dinner for my boys on the 12th I was very sorry not to be there myself. 180 men were seated at the dinner I will give send you a menu card: later I will send you some with autographs on. I arrange many concerts for them, and we get them many comforts –

Well, what did you think of the hun peace proposal’s. Next July should see the end of it.

Well I must close, but will write again as soon as possible I hope and pray that you all spend a most enjoyable Christmas and a happy New Year

Love and kisses to all.
From Your loving son & bro.

[Page 387]
Written from Reserve trench prior to moving into line
Les Boeuf

Somewhere in France
D January 1st 17

Dear Dad Mum & All

A hurried note prior to moving to "work". You will pardon me for writing to you on such filthy paper: exigency of the service demands it.

I have just received a big mail – two letters from you Dad, in the number – I am in much too great a hurry to refer to them in this note, but will write you a long letter for the next mail. Although I have not been able to write to you every mail, I have written fairly regularly and so cannot make out why it is you have had so few letters from. I know of one instance – before going into Action, where un-censored mail was burnt. Probably other such action has been taken. Mails are often delayed several weeks I fancy.

Cecil is well and has been doing good work. Joe is well and I fancy is now is in now in the same province (The French province you readabout)

I was going to put in for a Staff job – but find out ’tis no good – They won’t allow me to throw my present job. 23rd have made repeated applications for my transfer – A long letter in a day or so

Love and affectionate kisses from Will

[Page 388]
Specimen of Geology of France –
May God spare the fingers which marked it with trench mud, to again read this and thank Him for his mercy
Lord hear my prayer
John F. Cull

[Page 389]
[Envelope, postmarked 3 JA 17]
On Active Service

Mr John. F. Cull
Bree St.

[Passed Field Censor:]
Ambrose Cull
1st Jan 1917

[Page 390]
Les Boeuf
written from

Jan 1st 1917 Somewhere in France

Dear Dad Mum & All.

Since writing to you this afternoon I have moved much closer "business". To morrow night, "business", fortunately very easy this trip.

2.1.17 Had to cease my writing suddenly to fix up a little job.

I am "at business" now – I fancy things are going to be very simple this term. I have just received two letters from you, Dad, Nos 58 and 59.

By jove I agree with you Dad about Australia and result of referendum. I feel myself that I could say – "To hell with Australia."

We had no division ad Eaucourt as you believed.

You mention two brothers Ptes F and W. Brown – mentioned in Bn. Routine Orders. I knew the lads well, they were fine chaps –

Re your 59. The "Mention" is not a bad one is it. Thats two.

[Page 391]
now. By the smoke, I do feel mad at times, to think of the Decorations handed out. One officer in 23rd who has never been in the trenches, has a M.C. Another – a baker (army baker) in Harve, got a M.C for baking bread for 72 hours on end. I don’t want any such a decoration mow – By jove, Cecil is a fine soldier. As heroic a man as ever walked. He is keen on being transfered. He may know what fear is, but he doesn’t show it.

4.1-17 Am having an awfully good time this term "at business". I get precious little time to write though. I am almost certain of another couple of Huns to my credit now.

Our C.O is now a Brigadier of a Bde in this Div. Our present C.O. is Major Wiltshire. He is young – but very capable.

7.1.17 – Was unable to do any writing whilst "at business", and mail closes this evening at 6 o’clock

[Page 393]
, an absolutely beautiful fur jacket – water-proof stockings and other servicable kit. If Cecil is transfered I can manage to carry him some warm clean clothing in my valise. Tell Jack and George that I shall drop them a note as soon as possible. I can assure you that I have but very little time to myself.

I must ring off now and post this before it is too late. Trust that I shall be able to write you a long letter by next mail. I hope you are all quite well.

Love and affectionate kisses from Your very loving son & brother

[Page 394]
Frm Guedecourt

January 8th 16.17?

Dear Dad Mum & All

I cannot say when the next mail goes away: it certainly will not be for a couple of weeks.

I do hope and trust that you are quite well. I have a bit of a cold but otherwise I am good-O. I have had but very little time for private correspondence: as a matter of fact I am even now waiting to be sent on a task. I would love to be able to tell you where I am, but of course I cannot do it.

Dad: Do you remember the fun we had at Hamilton Town hall on the night of P.L.C ball? Do you remember if one of the chaps we had to strafe was a Ginger, about 5 ft 6 and stout. I have a fellow in my Company, a chap with a reputation for scrapping, whom is seems has advertised me among the fellows as a champion amateur boxer. It got me thinking, I really believe he was a member of the un-lucky company.

Filmer has now got his commission in this Bn. I am very glad, for he certainty

[Page 395]
deserves it – I have made verbal application for a course (Company Commanders) at Army School (1 month course). It would be a rest for me – hence my application. I feel sure that I will not be recommended – In many ways the disadvantages of popularity are is too frequently made apparent. For instance the good and safe positions are usually given to officers who are not wanted by their C.O. However say, "Le guerre".

I have just about drifted back into the old channel. Whilst in "blighty", I was made to remember what "Life" was. "Blighty", was my dream for three weeks after my return – I have now been brought back, by stern realities to the fact that I am now "existing" not "living". I really had an awfully good time in dear old "Blighty".

The photo you have of Grandma doesn’t do her justice at all. She looks very much better: Aunt Mary believes that she – herself – looks about 23. Aunt Annie and Maggie are dear old souls – Aunt Mary always cross-examined me when I returned after a few hours away. I had to answer like the erring boy. She seemed angry (veiled

[Page 396]
of course) if it should happen that I had been on a visit to Aunt Maggie.

I took Aunt Mary to the Hippodrome – and Florrie and Eva Barnes to the "Adelpyh". Whilst in Glasgow I went to "Kings" I didn’t worry theatres much did I. The taxi eats the money, especially in Scotland – Buses are of course ta-boo for us.

London seemed really familiar to me Dad: I mean such as, Trafalgar Sq., Vic. embankment Temple, Monument, Blackfriars, Canon St., St. Marys, Whitechapel, Aldwich, West Ham, Plaistow, Upton Park, East Ham and so on – Earls Court Baron’s Court and dozens of other Courts – Waterloo and locality, Kings Cross, Charing Cross, Victoria, and so many other places. I didn’t see very much of interest n Glasgow. Edinburgh is an interesting place, but I was only there a few hours – I walked around Edinburgh Castle. I really saw nothing else of much interest except Forth Bridge. I ran out in the train to Inverkeithing.

Must ring off for the present.

9.1.17 On the trip up to Glasgow on the London and G. N. Western, two middle aged

[Page 397]
January 8th 1917 contin.

gentlemen (U.S.A) happened in the same compartment as self. One gentleman (Master Engineer) (employs 800A) remarked that luncheon baskets were not up to the standard, but added, to me "I expect this is much better than what you usually get in the trenches." I replied: "Yes, decidedly better." The other gentleman roused himself from an attitude of apparent indifference in order to dis-credit my avowal. You get much better food than that, he remarked: I said – Oh! really:– and then continued to advise him of my service and of my experiances in regard to food. Altho’ I certainly did not complain – (rather did otherwise) I endeavoured to persuade him that we were not usually set up to, Ham, Chicken, Asparagus, Fresh Rolls and butter Jam, Biscuits and Cheese with tea or wine to "wash down" with

[Page 398]
He relapsed into silence but some considerable time later remarked in a casual way that he was with Lord (somebody) Devonport, I think in charge or director of food supply to British Army on the Western front.

I have just had a letter from Joe: he is quite O.K. Cecil is well. As for myself, I am Good-O. The Cold is just awful

Mr Hill has written several letters to me and in reply to his last I borrowed your phrase re "doctrine of metempsychosis – I further wrote, "According to "Amiel" Heroism is the brilliant triumph of the soul over the flesh". I said that I thought that the soul owned by many of the citizens of our Commonweal, who although eligible for service abroad, voted "No" on that day which for Australia, should have been the highlight day in

[Page 399]
her history instead of a dark one, is a mean and contracted one. Australia will wonder why so great a "No" vote was recorded by soldiers abroad. The reason is unlike that which prompted Henry V before Agincourt to say:
"To my fair Cousin,
If we are marked to die, we are enough etc. etc.

The majority of our men who voted "No" said by such action:–
To our Australia:–
If to save ourselves or decimated
formations from annihilation
We volunteers counsel Conscription,
We villify our pride:
We therefore decide
To die with honour.

A day of reckoning awaits the mean souled beings who dally at home while there is mens’ work to be done abroad. etc. etc.

[Page 400]
20-1-17 –
Right out now resting – its good-O. The cold is absolutely intense, The ground is covered with snow – as a matter of fact its been snowing for three days.

Just received two letters from you – No 60 dated Novr 13/19 and No. 61 dated Novr. 20 – Also received your sketch, which I think splendid, I have shown it around: it was voted splendid.

Re rumour that 3rd Div. had been split up for reinfs., it is strictly incorrect. A few from each battalion were sent along tho’. Your suggestion to Cr. Moore, is really smart and if published would be as fine a slap in the face to shirkers as ’twould be possible to hand out. Re Your going home to as you say "do a bit".

[Page 401]
I’m sure that there is not one who can say that you have not done your bit. Very very few parents have done as much. As for Jack, well it’s a different thing. At present men like Jack are earning up to £9 a week in England.

22.1-17 – I have been to L’Etoile (about 30 miles) where I spent a very enjoyable few hours – Cecil called to see me yesterday evening – Cecil has just called to see me again, and has brought his letters for me to censor – he wished me to put a line in. He is looking quite well. Snow is still on the ground and its so very very cold. Cecil introduced me to a Corpl Cecil Cull, but I don’t wish to see the useless brute again; at least not

[Page 402]
Somme Winter Campaign
Le Sars

until he changes his name, and then I should wish to see him to thank him. A chap who can read out aloud to chaps a letter from his wife in which she pleads for him to send her a little money, and in which she says that when she returns from her work, she is so exhausted she almost faints, is a mean thing, and he can be nothing short of a despicable cad who can say "I think the bas---d would faint. He talked to Cecil of his brother who "kicked the bucket". Cecil introduced me to him – I said a few words to him but ’twas eneough: he cannot look in Your eyes.

I have just received a parcel from England (from You thro’ Aunt Mary)

I must close – I am cold, and sleepy. Much love and many kisses from Your loving son and brother – Will

[Page 403]
Written from "before" Walencourt

January 28th 17

My dear Dad Mum & All

Have just received your No. 62 – dated Novr. 29th Decr. 16 You speak of the fearful carelessness of our Fd. Post. Read and you will no longer wonder – Some time ago, I got authority from Regimental Medical Officer, to have my teeth attended to at the Fd. Ambulance attached to our Brigade. I got leave and rode about 8 mile to the Fd. Ambulance. The dentists assistant told me that they were so busy he believed they would even have to work next Sunday, and that they did not usually do that

I went to another Ambulance on a Saturday and was told, that they never worked on Saturday or Sunday. Do we deserve to win the war? Not at that rate! We, Inf., can never tell the difference

[Page 404]
, or seldom, between Sunday or a Week day. Almost every day is alike.

Strange things are happening in this Bde now – The majority of Officers, who were badly wounded at "Pozieres" are returning – many of them were senior to me, and may naturally look on me with dis-favour, for now they have to play the junior role. The above applied more so to this Bn. that to any other Bn. in the Bde. My old unit now for instance, are is really in a painful way for seniors.

I decided to play the game by the officers returning to this unit, and so asked the C.O to transfer me to some other Bn. I’ll tell you what he said: "Do you wish to go to any other Bn." Only for one reason, Sir: mentioning the reason – "Are you satisfied in this Bn." Yes Sir, I have been treated as a Senior Officer and a Gentleman! "Then C- I am satisfied with you: your work in the past

[Page 405]
has been excellent, and if your future work is at all up to the standard of your work in the past, I would not change you for anybody.

I can find no fault with your work – I respect and like (so and so) but I would never dream of changing you for him" Let me see (so and so) will be back in a few days and he is senior to you, isn’t he? Yes, Sir, very much senior. "It will make no difference to you C---, for I shall not give him a Co.; he will be a 2nd in Command.

I know how to absorb, complimentary rot, without becoming so intoxicated with pride, that I lose my balance – so don’t worry. I told my Company Officers, and ’twill be eneough to tell you, they that they were so genuinely sorry of my intention to seek transfer, they implored me not to, telling me that the company wanted me, the C.O would never consent to my transfer

[Page 406]
and so on. I cannot tell you on paper all I should like to: eneough to say that the name has not lost any of the respect with which it has been associated.

The night before last I was introduced to a Major as the fire-eater of the Brigade. I was asked yesterday by a Senior Officer, who had not seen me for some time, if I was still a worry to the Boche. I said, "No, I go quiet now – I’m quite neutral."

Cecil has applied for a transfer to this Bn. – I had a letter from Joe a few days ago – he was well.

We have had snow on the ground for 14 days –

I am entrusted with the training of a party for same class of work as carried out by us 29/30 June at A--- You will no doubt be pleased to know that I am debarred from taking part.

[Page 407]
In addition to that party and of course the remainder of my Co. I have the training of battalion Scouts and of Intelligence men so that I have eneough work to keep me out of trouble.

Strange, the reference to me in the Casterton Free Press. I really do appreciate thoughts given me from that part of the globe. How on earth did they remember the wattle I planted – its so many years ago.

Uncle Jim Tait is very anxious to get a letter from me – I must squeeze out time to write to him.

It is 10 P.M and before I "turn in" I must write out trench orders: to-morrow mail closes so shall ring off for the present sith fondest love and kisses from your very aff son and brother

[Written vertically, in left-hand margin:]
P.S. Very strange – Eva Barnes took more than an ordinary liking to me, it seems, and as a consequence the letters I get are – well "some" letters. I am managing the case carefully. She tells me she wrote to you – She’s a nice girl tho’.

[Page 408]
Written from Region of Le Sars Reserve

Feb 4th

Dear Dad Mum & All.

I am being evacuated to a Field Hospital to-day. I am quite well except that I have a bad cold and something like a swelling in my throat.

The doctor thought at first that I had Dipth. – it is because of the bad throat he is sending me away. He was going to send me away yesterday, but I asked him to give me another 24 hours grace Now that I am going away, I determine not to hurry back for I can do with a spell.

I have not seen Cecil for a few days, but believe that he is well. Joe is still up at Armentieres.

Au revoir for the time being.

Much love and many kisses from your aff & loving son & brother

[Page 409]
Walencourt & Le Sars

Feb 5th 1917.

Dear Dad Mum & All

Yesterday I scribbled you a short note to say that I was being sent to a Field Hospital. I am now in bed – my complaint – "Tonsalitis" I have a great dislike for such places (Hospitals) so fortunately have hopes of being allowed to re-join my unit to-morrow.

I hope and trust that you are all quite well – Last time I saw Cec he was well and last letter I had from Joe he also was well.

At times I feel "fed up" with the whole show, whilst at other times I feel that I am only starting on the game. Awfully sorry about that letter I wrote you at a time when, seemingly, I was feeling "fed up". Don’t take it to mean anything for I know how very hard your "lot" is. Probably I had not very much to do at the time, and was worried. I’m always

[Page 410]
happy when I have plenty to do. "Responsibility", is the finest form of nourishment I can get.

Very mean, leaving Joe and Bob of "Honour Roll". I hate Hamilton and Hamiltonians for such very reasons. I should never live in such a place for long: I hate the place. I would like a snap of the two houses – Other people exhibit their photographs and views with a certain amount of pride, so therefore, I should like one of the brick house and the one you’re living in – I was told two days ago that my age alone, was against me getting my Majority. I was told confidentially that altho’ brigade were satisfied, division reckoned me "too young" – However it goes to show that I am getting on moderately well.

Dinner is here – must continue aprês.

The orderly to me at dinner time "Sorry Sir: The bread will not be very nice: its frozen

[Page 411]
hard". Of course Dad you will know just how cold it is. The country has been under a white covering since the 17th of January.

I don’t quite know what I should say about your desire to go to dear old England to "do your bit", as you put it – If I was you I should say to "do other peoples bit"! If Mum were so well that she could accompany you ’twould be a different thing. I spoke in my last letter of a team, I was training. I expect the game to be played off in a few days, on that ground (further on tho’ of course) on which we played so successfully last August. I am only a barracker this time. 50% of my boys were anxious for a game – another unit had 2% only.

It seems that America is just about to hop in and; fulfill her moral obligations. Wait till our Nose (NOES) declare war.

I must close with much love and many kisses to All
from Your loving and aff. son & brother

[Page 412]
Le Sars

Feb 9th

Dear Dad Mum & All

Re-joined my unit yesterday: Medical Officer was very surprised to see me back so soon – I am glad in a way, for I have, to date, been in the trenches every time the unit has; I should like to keep the run un-broken as long as I may. It is about two weeks since I saw Cec. – I have not had a letter from Joe, for about a week, but he was well when he wrote. I hope that you are all well.

It’s awfully cold yet: snow still on the ground – everything is frozen hard, I can put

[Page 413]
up with the cold, quite well – I’m not worrying about Cec’s or Joe’s comfort, for they are such really good battlers – Whatever is possible for me to do for them you may depend, that I shall do it.

I’m not at present in a cosy billet, but in a –

Under conditions prevailing I cannot write you a long letter. Will write again as soon as possible –

Love and aff kisses to all from your loving son & bro.

[Page 414]
Written from Le Sars (Geudecourt Walincourt)

February 11th 1917

Dear Dad Mum & all

I have a nasty cold but otherwise I am Good-O –

Have not seen Cecil or heard from Joe for over a week. I hope that you are all quite well at home.

I’m still on special duty with the "games" party I mentioned in others letters.

Still awfully cold: snow has been on the ground since the 17th January – It is reported that this winter is the most severe for 22 years.

Dad: Have you ever met a Contractor, (I expect you would call him a Contractor – he had a few drays, and worked around Hamilton district) by name of Robinson. This chap Robinson was a Lce. Corporal in "C" Co. of this Bn. A couple of weeks ago, he was mortally wounded and before he would allow them to carry him away, he sent for me, so that he could shale hands with me, thank me as he said for treating

[Page 415]
him fairly and to wish me Good Luck. At one time I was in Command of both "C" and "D" Cos.

Robinson was and excellent old chap. He was quite calm and seemed to be enjoying his smoke, although he was very much knocked about by the shell.

I expect that I shall get some letters from you when we go "out" You know what that means, don’t you?

I have really nothing to write about and I must have a bit of a sleep: I have to be up and about in a few hours.

Remember me to all "friends."

Much love and many kisses to all from your aff. and loving son & brother

[Page 416]
Walincourt & Le Sars

February 15th

Dear Dad Mum & All.

Received your Nos. 64 and 65 yesterday.

In your no 64 you mention Lt. McLeod, late 23rd, as returned to Australia – He was only with us a few days – he was not a nit of good as a Combatant officer, so was very quickly sent back to base. The 23rd promotions you mentioned were temporary: my substantive Captaincy is dated same as theirs – 12th August.

You mentioned Captain Conran (returned to Australia): He’s a Ballarat chap and an awfully fine chap – as game as could be – I should like you to meet him.

You mention a feeling that my letters contain, or rather are more reserved since July. In July we were on the move from A.– to the dear old

[Page 417]
Somme – End of July and in August you know what happened.

Early in September same business – End of September and October up North. Again on the move – We have been here for since early in November.

You can see that our days have been the full 24 hours.

Another thing which probably has influenced me was is my appointment.

I, with a few others, prospective Captains, were kept out of the initial hop over, but I was sent up early next morning. The hop over was a happy piece of work compared to what we put up with afterwards – I was "Lewis Machine Gun" officer, during a part of the battle – 2nd in Command of a Company for a while and for one night – a night we expected a counter attack, I was in Command of a Company. I sha’n’t talk of intense bombardments etc. – Casualties

[Page 418]
speak for themselves –

During second stunt I was in Command of a party of (at first) 9 officers and 300 men – From then on and during out trench work in B– I had two Companies: – I shall tell you later on what has happened since then – I must obey Censor regulations. My time is very very taken up now – therefore my letters are short and un-interesting – At one time I had


Have been very busy again to-day – a member of three Field General Courts Martial. To-night I’m going to an entertainment at a Y.M.C.A. – arranged for Officers of the Brigade.

The General was speaking

[Page 419]
to me very nicely a couple of days ago and so I mentioned Cecils transfer. His own people will not send his transfer through – I suppose they are very satisfied with him, and wish to keep him. The General was very sympathetic and promised to speak to Brigadier 2nd Bde. He said that he would not allow him to be in the same Bn. as myself – I told the Brig. that I should like him transfered to 6th Light Trench Mortar Battery, because the Trench Mortar Officers are very anxious to have him – He promised to fix it up.

I am sending you, under separate cover, an aeroplane photo of that part of the line referred to in that Complimentary Order you have of me dated 29/30 June.

Study it carefully – if possible get a magnifying glass – You will be quite interested –

[Written vertically, in left-hand margin:]
Mail is going away so I must [indecipherable]
Love and Kisses to all
Your loving Son Bill

[Page 420]
Moving with front line at Le Sars Somme.

February 21st

My dear Dad Mum & All.

I am just about to move up to the [dash] so cannot write at length.

I trust that you are all quite well. I saw Cecil about five days ago and two days ago had a letter from Joe – Both are well – For myself I’m just top hole, as lively as a Cricket and as fat as a porpoise!

The thaw has at last set in, and Oh!, speak of mud!

I met Jack Nicholls a few days ago: he called at my hut to see me. A big chap with a bush-mans stride, Yet the same Jack Nicholls I knew at School

"I’ve got a Cold-footers job", he said. "I’m in a Signal Company, Transport 1st Div." He volunteered that I had got

[Page 421]
on well: I have my fine coats and am jolly pleased to have them, I must close for its about time to move.

Much love and many kisses from your very aff. & loving son & bro. Will

[Page 422]
[German censor’s stamp:
Postprüfungsstelle des Gefangenenlagers (Post examination)
Friedrichsfeld bei Wesel
Geprüft und freigegeben (Examined and approved) 63]
May 8th 1917

Dear Mum Dad and All.

Once again, I’ve skipped home to you (on paper). How are you? Quite well, I hope: How am I – I’m making a swift sweeping advance to Recovery trench, where I shall consolidate – a la grace de Dieu! Yes, in truth I’m well: I cannot move from bed yet, but ’tis only a matter of a little while now. I expect my unfortunate contretemps caused you no end of worry –

Two years to-day since [dash] Two years worry on my account. However you need no longer worry, for I’m "Out"; – Unhappy tho’ I would be to cause you additional worry, I cannot but feel sadly and sorely disappointed that,

[Page 423]
at this stage of the game, I’m rendered hors de combat. It seems to be my –, I shall say fate, – I intended supplying a descriptive adjective, but you would say that I must not question the reasoning of the "All Omnipotent". I had reason to believe that my feet should soon be resting on the next higher step; of course tout au contraire every reason to expect them to rest, sous terra firma.

However, I’m missing the best part of the show – I’m the only Englishman left in the hospital now – All Britishers are Englishmen here. Quite a number of Belgian, French and Russian prisoners are yet here. When the English soldiers were

[Page 424]
[German censor’s stamp:
Postprüfungsstelle des Gefangenenlagers
Friedrichsfeld bei Wesel
Geprüft und freigegeben 63]
[Right-hand page:]
all gone, a Belgian who was then well able to get about, asked me to allow him to be able to do what he could for me – He looks after me well. A young Scotchman left a few things behind for me, including a little Quaker Oats and so my (extra’s) chef de cuisine, was able to make porridge for my breakfast on three mornings – I often draw him into conversation; my heavens, when he gets properly going, lá lá – such gesticulating, and, Oh: such a screamingly comic jumble of words – English, French, Belgian and German mixed together. I understand his English, – French and a few common German words, but as a result

[Left-hand page:]
of his conversation being in part largely Belgian, I must look wise and keep careful check of his facial contortions, so that I may know when to scowl, when to laugh and when to exhibit, on my countenance, my incredulity.

The time passes slowly eneough without reading matter – The long days are indeed weary. Meal hours are about the only break in the days dreary perspective – Twill be a great relief when I’m able to get up. I really shouldn’t be quite so weary now, for the Belgian causes me no end of amusement in one way or another. Yesterday afternoon he brought me a cup of tea and a nice slice of white bread, with raspberry jam on. By the way – the bread is sent

[Page 425]
[German censor’s stamp:
Postprüfungsstelle des Gefangenenlagers
Friedrichsfeld bei Wesel
Geprüft und freigegeben 63]
by the Red + from Copenhagen

"Monsieur"! "Oui" – Sardines fine, monsieur?" "Oui Belge, trés bon". Belge departs, soon to return with a tin which certainly much resembles a Herring tin, (Nortons) but which I note with displeasure, bears the label "Beef Dripping". "Herrings fine"? "Oui tres bon". "Pour vous votre dèjeuner." "Pour moi – merci bean."

I try to restrain my mirth whilst the Belge is engaged opening the tin; I know that he will kick up an awful shine when he makes the luckless discovery – Poor Belge has made the discovery, and, judging by the fuss he kicks up whilst making a hasty exit, believes he has committed a great offence.

[Page 426]
In a few minutes he returns; he has made quite sure – he smiles triumphantly "Herrings". Yes, herrings indeed. – Belge has been a prisoner for 20 month; he has a wife and three children in Belg[ium.]

Mail does not close till Sunday 13th, so I shall add a few words to this before closing.

Wed. 9th – The day has almost past, without a[n] "event" to record. Belge expects to qui[t] in about three days – I shall certainly m[iss] him.

Thursday 10th – I spent three hours in a chair to-d[ay] You can possibly guess how very weak I am after spending nearly 3 months on the broad of my back – lying almost as stiff as a log.

No mail yet – probably in a fortnight.

[Page 427]
[German censor’s stamp:
Postprüfungsstelle des Gefangenenlagers
Friedrichsfeld bei Wesel
Geprüft und freigegeben 63]
[Left-hand page:]
Friday 11th I spent about four hours in the chair to-day: two hours in morning & nearly two in the afternoon –

I can stand for three seconds on my good foot, I then get faint and would fall if left without support –

The skin is fast growing over wound; in a fortnight it should be quite healed – The strings (sinews) in front (up front of leg) that lifts leg up and forward are severed, so that I’m unable to lift my leg – I was a little bit doubtful as to whether I should be of much use in the future, but the doctor assures me that the strings will grow to-gother within a few weeks.

Saturday 12th I getting quite myself [again] This morning I was two hours in a [chair] and this afternoon four hours – I felt so

[Right-hand page:]
strong that I asked for crutches; I was then able to walk for a little way on my "Pat". The weather is just splendid now – beautiful and warm –

13th – About five hours in the chair to-day and quite a nice little walk on crutches. I have no news what-ever that I may write about so shall conclude with fondest love and kisses.

Your aff. and loving son & bro.

14-5-17 – I find that mail does not go until tomorrow – Great wonders – my leg is getting [in working] order again; I am able to lift it [up and forw]ard as if for walking – In a week I [reckon to] be able to walk with the aid of a stick.

Love & kisses

[Page 428]
[Envelope marked: Kriegsgefangenensendung (Prisoner of war transmission)]
8 May 1917

Mr. John. F. Cull
Bree Street

[Page 429]
[Back of envelope]
For Mac
Head Professor

Mrs Greenfield
38 Leopold St.

Write Card
Am well etc

[Page 430]
[Post card – message side]

Dear Cecil

A chap is standing waiting for the card, so no time to think of news. I am able to get up now and can get about on crutches moderately well. I was well chewed up – and as a consequence shall not want my runnin shoes, apres le guerre – Doctor says I shall be able to walk but I say – jokes – I certainly will be able to walk but ’twill not be gainly. Hope that you are well also Joe. Good luck & God Bless you

Your aff brother – Love – Bill

[Page 431]
[Post card – address side]
[German censor’s stamp:
Postprüfungsstelle des Gefangenenlagers (Post office examination place)
Friedrichsfeld bei Wesel
Geprüft und freigegeben (Examined and approved) 63]
Capt. W A C
22nd Bn. Aus. Imp. Force.
St. Elisabeth Hospital

Capt. Pte. C Cull
Hd. Qrs. Sigs. 2nd Bde. H[qrs]

[Page 432]
[Adresse exacte de l’expediteur. – Adress of the sender.]
[(Nom et prénom) (Name)] Capt. W. A. Cull 22nd Bn. A.I.F.
St Elisabeth Hospital

Bochum [i. Westf. le/the] 2nd June 1917

Dear Dad Mum & All – Trust you are well I am getting on exceedingly well. Next week expect to be sent to an officers-lager – Still on crutches, but no danger of being cripple.

One letter from France, from Marie V. – Cecil & Joe were both well. Little girl in France sends me parcels; she makes lovely cakes & sends them to me. Have much to say in next letter. Trust you get all my letters – last letter was a very long one. Received a splendid parcel of clothing from our Red + - London

I smoke now – for sufficiently good reasons – (have a pipe)
Love & kisses from your very affectionate Son and bro, Will

[Page 433]
[Reverse of letter card]
[German censor’s stamp:
Postprüfungsstelle des Gefangenenlagers
Friedrichsfeld bei Wesel
Geprüft und freigegeben 47]
[Kriegsgefangenensendung. (Prisoner of war transmission)]
Mr John. F. Cull,
Bree Street,
Western District

[Page 434]
[Envelope; stamped 63]
[German censor’s stamp:
Kriegsgefangenensendung F.A.
Postprüfungsstelle des Gefangenenlagers
Friedrichsfeld bei Wesel
Geprüft Taxfrei!]
Mr John. F. Cull.
Bree St.

[Page 435]
[German censor’s stamp:
Postprüfungsstelle des Gefangenenlagers
Friedrichsfeld bei Wesel
Geprüft und freigegeben 63]

June 15th 17.

Dear Dad Mum & All

’Tis, for me, within two days of four month in hospital – One wound has not quite healed over, but should be quite all right in a few days – I’m feeling awfully well, indeed I’m as fat as the proverbial fool – I shall not need running shoes for two years, but the fact that I shall be just slightly lame for a year or two, need not cause us any worry – I’m particularly fortunate to come out of the ruck as I have done, for I most certainly offered my life freely eneough; I detest this inactivity, but c’est la guerre. As to the future, I, as Carlyle would put it, have great faith in the potentialities of the future -

With Cecil, Joe and Bob at the front we are well represented – God grant that they may do a great amount of damage and return home

[Page 436]
safely – I should love to be with them, for ’tis not possible to do eneough for the dear old "JACK".

It is possible that my extensive peregrinations may be further increased ere long by a shift to Switzerland. I would love to go to Switzerland.

I receive parcels every week from England, packets of bread from Switzerland and the little girl in France looks after me as well. She tells me that she sent you her photo – I asked her to some time back. Tell me if you like it, and whether you think that I’m an infernal idiot or not – If she will go to Aus. any time within the next ten years I shall marry her, but return to Aus. I shall, no matter what happens.

After all I have seen, Aus. is the place for me: the time I have been away from home has gained for it a beauty as distance lends enchantment to it, and kindly recollections crown it with a Glory, that ’twas not possible at home to conceive –

For want of a better companion I have introduced myself to the pipe – indeed contrary to expectations I find it very companiable and comforting.

The only letters I have received these

[Page 437]
past four month are from France. I fancy the last letter I had from you was written on my old yellow military paper and there was some lark on the envelope I had intended to mention.

You would certainly have laughed had you seen me a few days ago – I had grown quite a reasonable display of hair on my upper lip – Blest if I know – I can hardly make myself believe, that in six weeks I shall be twenty-three –

The hospital is a Catholic hospital and so Mass is held here every Sunday –

I am going to get Cecil to send you the address of one Lieut McKinnon – rather his fathers address – You have heard from me of him before this – I thought such a lot of him that I had intended to do quite an unusual thing – e.g. tell his people in a few words how he was appreciated. If you get his people’s address could you do that for me Dad Keen – Confident – Reliable, an Officer and Gentleman. My letters from here are of course limited so that I am personally unable to write

[Page 438]
He is indeed a splendid chap – the best I have has dealings with. His was easily the best platoon in my Company – indeed in the Bn. – and [the] credit was his. He should do well.

The girl in France told me in her letters ho[w] Cecil & Joe were – They write to her – I hope t[hey] are yet quite all right.

I am cramped for news so must close –
Love and kisses to all
Your loving & affectionate Son & bro

CAPT. W. A. Cull
22nd Bn. A.I.F.

[German censor’s stamp:
Postprüfungsstelle des Gefangenenlagers
Friedrichsfeld bei Wesel
Geprüft und freigegeben 63]

[Page 439]
[German censor’s stamp:
Postprüfungsstelle des Gefangenenlagers
Friedrichsfeld bei Wesel
Geprüft und freigegeben 63]
Mr. John. F. Cull,
Bree St.

[J]une 15.17

[Page 440]
June 23rd 17

Dear Dad Mum & All

Discharged from St. Elisabeth’s on 19th. I had a long but pleasant journey to this my present hold-out – My trip was made pleasant by virtue of a pretty, and well bred young lady. Noticing my twin screw somewhat crippled, she did with compassion worthy the best of her sex offer – nay, insist, – upon my sharing the family compartment – She was irresistable, her blushes disconcerting, her smile mesmeric – "He who hesitates is lost". I hesitated and so was shattered a determination made but two days preciously – She fed me on smiles, chocolate, sly glances, and pretty observations

The trip along the "Rhine" was good –

[Page 441]
Scenery beautiful – I shall never forget it –

Well dears I would love to know that you are well, write as often as you can and tell me just how you are – You must not worry about me – for I am well – My wants are as few as Diogenes, my appetite is good and I laugh more in one day than any six of my companions together – We fortunately have a good library – With the best of authors, – eneough to live on, good tobacco, and nice pals, what more can WE wish for under the circumstances.

I trust that Cecil, Joe and Bob are well. I welcomed my change – It was a long stay in hospital, without the companionship of a single (or married) officer. There are many French as well as Eng. officers here – a good opportunity to learn French well.

"Little bundle of smiles" asked me some

[Page 442]
time ago to have my photo taken with "my smile" – I fancy you mentioned one I sent to you from Malta – Would you be kind eneough to send a copy of it and a copy of one taken at home – say the one with the sword – (I leave it to you) – to Melle. Marie Vasseur,
France –

Dad I would like pals of my School days – rather their people, for the pals of my school days should be were Cec, Joe & Bob are, to know the circumstances as far as you know them, under which I was captured – (Left for dead – prisoner – hospital four and half month – cripple for time being). I don’t give a d–d fig for Hamilton.

We are able to draw money here – a cheque on Horseferry Rd. – and we are fixed in two ticks.

[Page 443]
Not a night passes without me – seeing each one of you, praying we may be re-united soon, then kissing you goodnight – I picture our home – gardens etc. and such a dear picture it makes –

What an experience I have had for my age:– Trouble to get away – star [indecipherable] – Egypt – Gall. Malta – etc – etc. France etc etc. now –.

I’m absolutely stuck up for news. My address is as on envelope –
Capt. W, A. Cull
22 Battn. A.I.F.
Karlsruhe i-B

Your ever loving and devoted son and brother.

Many kisses.

[Page 444]
[Envelope; postmarked 21.6.17 Karlsruhe Baden]
[Absender: Kriegsgefangenensendung]
Captain Wm. A. Cull
22nd Bn. A.I.F.
Karlsruhe i.B.]
Mr John. F. Cull,
Bree St

23 June 17

[Page 445]
x should be July July
x June 18th 17

Dear Dad Mum & All

I’m awfully worried about you – I continually ask myself "Are they all quite well," pray, hope and trust that you are – yet wonder: I simply long for my mail so that I may learn something of you – I have just received two letters from France – one from Marie and the other from MacKinnon – one of my Subs. MacKinnon often sees Cecil – Its characteristic of MacK to say as he did – "The others had given up hope of you but I hadn’t." He mentioned that "Wiltshire" had written to me – he wrote immediately he learned that I was alive. I haven’t received his letter yet. I’m feeling awfully well again: I promenade about on two sticks so have nothing to complain of – Really I’m one of the most fortunate of kids.

[Page 446]
My escape was truly miraculous, for I was very dangerously wounded – A wound half the size of this sheet of paper through my groin and out the side – My hip bone gone etc. etc. – By no means trifling. I most certainly have good reasons to be thankful – I get splendid parcels from our Red Cross and such a great amount of clothing as well. A few days ago I received a complete uniform – boots – shoes – four sets of under-clothing & toilet requisites etc.

I think the bandage will be taken of me for good to-day. You see I’m being looked after, in the Camp infirmary – My side shows a scar about three and a half inches long by about half an inch whilst the scar in my groin is half the size of this sheet of paper –

Quite a deacent set of chaps here. In this room is one other Aus – He’s

[Page 447]
quite a good sort – has his peculiarities of course – is an authority on every blessed thing mentioned – Considers his deductions are as infallible as so many propositions of Euclid – I reason that ’tis better to humour him and allow a clear run. The net result is a generous measure of amusement. We have tophole concerts every Sat. The"r’e quite good.

I spend about two hours a gay learning french and I’m getting on well.

Something makes me think you have changed your place of abode from that beastly scandal hot-bed to the "big smoke". I still have the hair you sent me. My photo’s papers etc I left with my Coy Clerk for safe keeping – I expect to receive the photo’s with my mail. Look after yourselves and try not to worry for we wish to find you well, when

[Page 448]
we all return – Not a night passes without me forming a mental picture of you – each and every one. I expect you have the photo I had taken whilst on leave in London – What do you think of it? Personally I much dislike it –

I must close this frightfully written epistle with love galore and dozens of kisses

Your aff. and ever devoted son & [bro]

Capt. W. A. Cull
22nd Bn. A.I.F
Karlsruhe i.B

[Page 449]
[Envelope; postmarked 30.7.17 Karlsruhe, Baden]
Capt. W. A. Cull
22nd Bn. A.I.F.
Karlsruhe i.B.]
June 18

Mr John. F. Cull,
Bree St

[Page 450]
July 6th 17.

Dear Dad Mum & All.

I can only hope and trust you are well – Its awfully trying though – not a letter this five month – I expect I shall get them all in a heap one of these days

I’m quite settled down – and really I’m getting on so well. You need have not the least concern about my leg, for I’m sure that now that I shall not be as I believed – My right leg is 3/8 ths. to half an inch shorter than the left, but that is a mere detail. The sinews are joining up wonderfully well.

I sent a card to our Red Cross a few days ago, directing them to send you a cable, to effect that I was out of hospital – and well I suppose you got War Office Cable to say that I was "Missing" – I’m sure it gave you a great shock .

I receive nice parcels from the Red Cross, but ’tis mail I long for. I need not ask you to write as often as you can

Love and kisses from your very aff. son & bro.

[Page 451]
[Envelope; marked Kriegsgefangenen Sendung; postmarked Karlsruhe Baden [indecipherable].7.17]
[Absender:] Capt. W. A Cull
22nd Bn A.I.F.
[Offizier-Kriegsgefangenenlager Karlsruhe]
Mr. John, F, Cull,
Bree St.

[Page 452]
Concert held by Prisoners of War – French & British at Karlsruhe


[Page 453]
[PREMIERE PARTIE – list of items and performers; details not transcribed]

[Page 454]

[Page 455]
[Back cover of concert program]

[Page 456]

[Postprüfungsstelle des Gefangenenlagers
Friedrichsfeld bei Wesel
Geprüft und freigegeben 63]
Mr John. F. Cull,
Bree St,

[Page 457]
Karlsruhe 5.8.17

Dear Dad Mum & All

Twenty-three weeks a prisoner and yet to date I have received no Australian mail. "Hope deferred maketh the heart sick"! Truly!" I trust that so far as general health is concerned you are as fortunate as I, for I feel jolly well.

Immediately I arrive in England I expect I shall be fitted up with some apparatus which will enable me to propel my ungainly form where-so-ever ’tis necessary: with average good fortune I may be with you for Xmas.

I remembered your birthday, Mum, and pray that you celebrate many others under happier circumstances.

I feel awfully strange with regard to myself. I mean to say ’tis difficult to realise that since leaving home I have left behind me some three years of the allotted span. With stupendous

[Page 458]
effort. I concentrate sufficient thought to grasp the fact that three if the best years of my life have passed in a dream. Oh ça! And yet what is three years? If we are to believe that time is but a parenthesis in eternity then life is but a parenthesis in a parenthesis and therefore three years is appreciable. From the personal point of view I find, on retrospection, that the dream decidedly favours me with a credit balance: it requires only now that I should return to the starting-post and satisfy myself and you on that point by recapitulation – dans théorie.

I had to scrap the small sticks in favour of crutches. I can get along easier now and side-step much pain which with small sticks I’m unable to avoid. I believe that ’twill be easy

[Page 459]
to fix me up when I get to Eng.

This camp is quite a good one and really we have such a cheery time. Five of us are messing together: one of our number, a Royal Flying Corps officer, is the cook and really he’s priceless.

I had a letter from Eva Barnes a few days ago dated 13th May. She said that cable had been sent to you – Last letter I had from the little girl was dated 4th July. She writes to Cec. and to Joe regularly. She said in her letter that she had written to Jessie.

"Encyclopédie Univers" is yet with us. He’s a never ending source of amusement.

Would you care to see me with a moustache? I have started to try and grow one! I did have a little fur on a few weeks ago but a Belgian shaved it off. He said that it was not the thing for an

[Page 460]
Englishman to grow a moustache.

I fancy I have put on quite two inches since last you saw me. I look better now than ever I did. as a matter of fact my pals ma[ke] my fatness the subject of their envi[ous] ragging. This I recognise as a most str[ange] epistle but don’t let it worry you. I fee[l] under circumstances existing that I am licensed to write in an exceptional stra[in.]
With hope of better times to come – an[d] soon – I send you all my love and very many affectionate kisses
your ever loving and devoted son & br[o]

[Page 461]
[Envelope; postmarked Karlsruhe 10.8.17]
[Absender: Kriegsgefangenensendung]
Capt. W. A. Cull
22nd Bn A,I.F.
[Offizier-Kriegsgefangenenlager Karslruhe i.B]
Mr John, F, Cull
Bree St.


[Page 462]
[Post card; postmarked Karlsruhe 21.8.17]

Love to all. Cheery-O Bill

Capt. W. A. Cull
22nd A,I.F.

Mr John, F, Cull
Bree St.

[Page 463]
Sep. 1st

Dear Dad Mum & All

Delighted to receive your post card written under date May 26th Your card conveys a world of meaning. It is the first news I have had from you for seven months, so that you understand my feelings I’m very very glad to know that you are all well.

I’m awfully bucked now for I expect the exchange to come off soon and if so ’twill not be long till I am with you again.

I have just had a couple

[Page 464]
of letters from France – one from the kiddie and one from Cec. All were well. Cec was about to send me money – It was awfully good of him to think of it – but really I’m not in the least need of it. I have simply to write out a checque to get what money I require.

You remember me telling you, in one of my letters from France, of Eva Barnes, She seems to have gone clean off her nut.

A few days ago I dropped her the most amusing card I have ever written: ’twas in answer to a soppy letter

[Page 465]
of hers.

I started to grow a moustache a couple of weeks back. It’s coming on quite well. In a couple of month it should be some moustache It isn’t strong – quite silky as a matter of fact

I’m the wonder of this place in that even doctors cannot make out how it is I’m alive. "Good heavens’, they say, "You should be dead"! They scar was is so very large that the skin will not grow all over it, and so new skin will need to be grafted on when I get to England. However that should not take long and soon after I hope to be home with you.

[Page 466]
Remember me to inquiring friends. Tell Jack from me, that jokes aside I sha[ll] need one of his machines when I return. I’m awfully keen on them and shall be able to manage one admirably. I must close with –
love and kisses to all from Your loving son & bro

[Page 467]
[Envelope; postmarked Karlsruhe 15.9.17]
[Absender: Kriegsgefangenensendung]
Capt. W. A. Cull
22nd Bn A,I.F.
[Offizier-Kriegsgefangenenlager Karslruhe i.B]
Sep 1st 1917

Mr. John. F. Cull
Bree St.

[Page 468]
Karlsruhe i.B
September 28th

Dear Dad Mum & All

I am quite well and hope and trust that you are likewise fortunate, I’m looking forward longingly to the time when I shall see you again – renew old pleasant associations and acquaintances. I’m anxious to get to the barrier – to ‘toe the mark from which I shall view lifes perspective – to pick the ropes between with I shall run my race for livlihood. I’m sure that I have benifited by my experiances! I feel that I know the world and humanity for what it is – Charitable protestations – Affectation gloss etc. Dreams as Card castles.

The practical only counts – the

[Page 469]
measure of the achievement dependent upon the weight of energy ruthlessness of purpose and to some degree that uncertain element luck – with which one sets about to achieve and maintain it.

I have many ideas – I intend to make a big shot in Eng. for a most congenial possy at home. Its possible in the sense that all things are possible. By ‘home’ I mean Australia of course.

I shaved my little bit of fluff off – it was tiresome waiting for it to grow.

I’m sure that you would scarcely know me now – Im so very fat and I’ve grown to, such a great deal. I’m not sure but I fancy that I’m about 5 ft. 9.

[Page 470]
I grew quite an appreciable amount during the four and a half month I was in bed.

Yes! I have just compared height with an officer who declares that he is 5 ft. 6, and I’m almost three inches taller than he.

Strange that I have received but one card from you. Can’t make it out – I hunger for letters. I have had letters from Cec., Joe and Bob.

My leg is getting much shorter – its two inches short now – but that is a mere detail, I would love to be with you next month – October – but that cannot be – C’est la guerre!

The weather is beautiful here now – Real Spring days at home.

[Page 471]
Please address future mail to Sec. Australian Red Cross
54 Victoria St

I must close now with love and kisses to all
Your aff & loving son & [bro]

PS. Just received letter from Joe. Cec was home & would see Bob.

[Page 472]
[Envelope; postmarked Karlsruhe, date indecipherable]
Capt. W. A. Cull
22nd A,I.F.
[Offizier-Kriegsgefangenenlager Karslruhe i.B]
28 Sept. 17

Mr John F. Cull
Bree Street

[Page 473]
[Post card; view of camp?]

[Page 474]
[Post card; postmarked Karlsruhe 4.11.17]

23 Oct. 17

Dear Dad

Je suis assez bien; j’espere que vous sont bon santé. Faites-moi savoir de vos nouvelles bientôt. Qui Dieu vous bénisse!
votre aff fils

Capt. W. A. Cull
22nd Bn A,I.F.
Offizier Kriegsgefangenenlager.
Karlsruhe i.B


Mr. John. F. Cull
Bree St.

[Page 475]
Karlsruhe i.B

Dear Dad Mum & All

I have not the foggiest idea of what I shall write. News is as vegetation in ‘Sahara’! Unfortunately I have not yet received a letter from you Almost nine month since I received a letter from home. Oh ça! mais courage: I shall get a letter from you, one fine day. Do you get my letters? I hope so.

I pray that you are well and that we may soon be with you – I’m really quite well and as happy as can be. I received a letter from Col. a few days ago. His first letter went astray. Extract from his note: "I was greatly pleased to get your card with its short message. I do hope that you received my mess letter alright. Can’t you let us have some news about yourself and whether you are quite recovered! Is there anything I can do for you

[Page 476]
here or send to you? You don’t know how much we miss you old chap, and everyone was delighted to know that I had heard from you" etc.

Occasionally I get a letter from, Cec. Joe and Bob. They seem to be well and happy – I would love to be with ‘my boys’, but that may not be. I have been in the midst of action – so long that I am oppressed by the peace and quiet! I hardly realize that I’m a ‘kriegsgefangenen’ I seem to be dreaming: Isn’t it strange! Last December, I knew perfectly well, something was about to happen to me, but I had an idea I would be killed – I felt sure of it, and yet all such thoughts escaped my memory when I attacked.

I got a letter from Marie this morning. She had just received two letters from you, Dad, and was delighted. Extract:– "Three days ago and again this morning I had a letter from your father and I am very glad because he writes very nicely. He tells me that a little while before you were captured you wrote

[Page 477]
to him about me, and that I can be sure you employed all the phrases befitting the description of body and mind of "la belle Marie"! He received my photo – your parents knew on March 10th that you were wounded and missing. They prayed for you very very often – that God would spare you to us. They received your first letter written on Apr. 30th on Aug. 1st., also a cable on the 9th Aug. telling them you were discharged from hospital. They wrote on May 15th but their letter was lost. He wrote again May 27th. Did you receive it? They heard of you by a card from an Officer." etc. – She is a dear sweet kiddie. I think her people intend to hang onto her though – Say she is not strong etc. She has one brother. Old ‘Vasseur’ is a coal-merchant They have a little property but live in a very unpretentious place

I’m getting on reasonably well at French I can keep a conversation going fairly well – I often correspond in French and occasionally

[Page 478]
read a French book. When I get to "Blighty" I intend to look around for something to do, aprés la guerre. Agency etc. £1000 year. I have some good letters of recommendation three to titled aristocracy and others. They might be of some use to me.

My wound has quite healed over. I live in the infirmary & take my exercise on crutches. One thing only I may hope for and that is mail.

Remember me kindly to my friends

I send you all my love and many aff [kisses]
Your aff. & dutiful son & bro. Bill

Capt. W. A. Cull
22nd Bn. A.I.F.’
Karlsruhe i.B,

P.S. Photograph enclosed.

[Page 479]
[Envelope; postmarked Karlsruhe [indecipherable].11.17]
[Absender: Kriegsgefangenensendung]
Capt. W. A. Cull
22nd Bn.
[Offizier-Kriegsgefangenenlager Karslruhe i.B]
Mr. John. F. Cull,
Bree Street


[Page 480]
Captain W. A Cull
22nd Bn. A.I.F.
[Off.-Gef.-Lager Freiburg, Baden]
[German censor’s stamp: Off.-Gefangenenlager Freiburg, Baden Geprüft 5]
November 1st 1917.

Dear Dad Mum & All

You will note the above change of address. I hit this place about 30 hours ago. Things are quite comfy here – Cinema, Library etc. We are often taken out for walks – quite good – eh. – indeed I fancy we shall be quite a happy family. They have a bath chair to take me out, for ’tis a little difficult to walk on crutches for any length of time.

I’m perfectly all right in health – and as for my leg, its of course at a standstill. Sinews grow but hip bones don’t. In all probability I’m told, they may graft a new bone in or else put in a silver substitute

[Page 481]

when I get to England, in which case I shall probably be laid up for nine months – in any case I shall have to have skin grafted on, for the wound was so large that scar tissue only formed over it; and of course ’twill stand very little. If the former is not decided on then I will be fixed up with irons till I get a little stronger.

When exchanged I shall do my best to be sent straight home to Australia – If I’m to spend some time in hospital, ’twould be ever so much better to be near you.

I do hope that you are all quite well. To date I have had but one post-card from you, since I was wounded, and that you wrote on the 26th May. Of course

[Page 482]

as I mentioned in my last letter, I have heard from you thro. the little kiddie, Cec & Joe. I really can’t understand why I have not received letters from you. Try sending them through Mary, or else 54 Victoria St. – (our Red Cross.

I believe that in English papers I was reported, "killed" and, "died of wounds" and I know that mail was returned to many friends marled, "DECEASED". –

By the way I have a little friend in Malta that Jessie may care to write to. She and her people are very good and were extra-ordinarily kind to me. They wish to send to me things, but I tell them, I’m quite all right. I cannot tell you their history here now – make a guess from the following

[Page 483]

– Old pot and pan interned – Was connected with one of the very large shipping Companys – Mother Scotch. Good family – Well to do This kiddie friend of mine, for she[‘s] only a child – about nine-teen thinks I’m an absolute wonder – the only one of my kind in the world – her name, Emily Hammer, address, 24 Strada Imrabat, Sliema,

I will send Jess her photo and she can write or not just as she pleases, for it does not really matter only that I can only afford to write a card to her once in a blue moon and she’s awfully keen to hear about me. Of course Jess must be diplomatic and not

[Page 484]

mention my kiddie to her because she might be a little disappointed that I had not told her myself. She’s a very sensible kid and I know would be delighted to hear from any of you.

In four days ’twill be two years since I was first wounded. It’s awfully difficult for one to concentrate ones mind on a thing for any appreciable length of time, here. I’m doing my best to learn French, but I’m afraid my best is not exceedingly good. At present I’m going through a french edition of ‘Shakespeare’. I am beginning to write and read moderately well.

I would like some photo’s from you. Please have some taken and send to me – I will send you

[Page 485]
another, one of these fine days.

It’s setting in cold now, but fortunately I have plenty good warm clothing – all that I require – Goodness knows when the exchange will take place. I received a letter from our Red Cross, over a month ago, in which Miss. Chomley, Sec., said we were expected in Eng. very soon.

My kind remembrances to all friends, and to yourselves all the love and kisses of your aff. and devoted son and brother

[Page 486]
[Envelope; postmarked Freiburg Breisgau 16.11 17]
[Sender details indecipherable]
Nov 1st 1917

Mr. John, F, Cull,
Bree St.

[Page 487]
Captain W. A Cull
22nd Bn. A.I.F.
[Off.-Gef.-Lager Freiburg, Baden]
[German censor’s stamp: Off.-Gefangenenlager Freiburg, Baden Geprüft 6]
November 8th. 17
Dear Dad Mum & All

This follows closely upon my six pagesletter to you. For that reason tis necessary to enclose the sheet in a note to Marie

I hope and pray that you are all well. Im – well I’m as per usual – ‘in the pink’. I’ve learnt to realize that, ‘La vie est un chapelet de petites misères que le philosophe égrène en riant’. and I to, have learnt to pluck them smilingly.

No mail from you yet, but still, providing that you are well, and that I hear from you through others, ‘tis not so bad.

Just think ’tis nearly Xmas 17, and I haven’t the foggiest notion how you spent Xmas 16. It seems to me that I shall spend my Xmas here this year. I thought my exchange would have been effected

[Page 488]
months ago. However I might yet see ‘Blighty before Xmas. Two of us – both Australia[ns] live in the lager infirmary. We have everything we require and we’re well treated so that you need not worry on my score

W. Tell my friends that I wish them a Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year. Wish brothers and sisters the same from me. You will understand that my letter writing is limited – two letters and four p. cs per month. I send you two letters one direct and of late one through Marie. I don’t like sending cards, and besides I write occasionally to Cec. Joe and Eng. Immediately Marie hears from me she writes to Cec. and to Joe.

I must close. I wish you all a Merry Xmas and a happy and prosperous New Year.

My love and many, very many, aff. kisses from your loving and devoted son & brother
Wm Ambrose Cull

[Page 489]
Captain W. A Cull
22nd Bn. A.I.F.
[Off.-Gef.-Lager Freiburg, Baden]
[German censor’s stamp: Off.-Gefangenenlager Freiburg, Baden Geprüft 6]

Dear Dad Mum & All – Dec . 7th

I wrote to you on the 5th – this follows so quickly because of the good news I have just received. The exchange is on the point of being carried out. To-morrow I go to another town to be finally examined – "Heidelberg". The exchange is I verily believe, almost an accomplished fact. I’m awfully bucked about it.

Hullo! What do you think? I have just received a letter from you: I have read it three times already – Oh! how pleased I am, I’m a new ‘being’. Your letter was written under date Sept. 19th. 17; You had just returned from Melb. Dad; And your letter – the most beautiful ever written I think. Yes, I have suffered physically (a little) but ’twas as nothing compared to

[Page 490]
[German censor’s stamp: Off.-Gefangenenlager Freiburg, Baden Geprüft 6]
your mental suffering for me – nor of mine for you. I knew how you would suffer – I know – ‘"how deeply The cold blight if misery hath prey’d upon you."’ Our return will rejuvenate you – hard, miserable times shall be forgotten – banished by our greater happiness. We might say of the past few years:–
"Our life has not all been sunshine,
We have had our trials and woe,
But the love we have borne each other,
Like faith, we never let go!"

It does not need for me to have the a most elastic imagination, in order that I see you in your various conditions – I see you every day – every night – I see you all worrying for us – praying for us – longing for our return. I see the little ones – joyful little kiddies – inhaling that which is best

[Page 491]
[German censor’s stamp: Off.-Gefangenenlager Freiburg, Baden Geprüft 6]
in life – their very happiness and joyfulness an adequate return, or should I say some compensation for the troubles of our absence cause you – for they, I know, were never a trouble to you.

Jess, Mag. and Annie – the difference I can well imagine. Jack has made headway! – I guessed he had. And George, how is his business?

Remember me kindly to them – Jack – Ethel, George & Annie: I think of you all each in turn – every night.

Who was the officer who sent you that card, explaining in it my capture? In a letter from Marie which I received some time ago, she mentioned that you had received a card from an officer – In all probability ’twas one of my officers – MacKinnon perhaps.

Well, I really cannot find any news

[Page 492]
that could be of interest to you. I shall send this letter to you through Marie – for then I’m able to send her a page which otherwise I should not be able to do. You will probably get it sooner than if ’twas sent through Eng

Well I shall close now with love to you all,
Many kisses from your loving & devoted son and bro.

[German censor’s stamp: Off.-Gefangenenlager Freiburg, Baden Geprüft 6]

[Page 493]
Hôtel de l’Europe

Dear Dad Mum & All

A few lines only – to let you know that I am quite all right. I hope and trust that you are well. I have already been to three doctors; on Monday I am to be "X-rayed". A well known surgeon told me that if a little of the hip socket is left, he will be able to fix me up fairly well, but that if it is all gone he must fit irons on me. Personally I think that with treatment

[Page 494]
I will soon be quite all right. Rather strange that some of the fellows who were repatriated are not so badly injured as three of us who arrived here with the last batch. One has a leg and one an arm amputated. I am being fitted with a bottom plate – more expense –

With regard to appearances, you must certainly look for a change in me, I fancy. Twelve month ago I was told that I resembled a certain personage whose name or title I had better not mention – Yesterday morning I was told that I resembled a painting I will not mention, and last night Mrs. Doubleday told me that a lady whom I had met but twice, expressed a wish to paint my portrait as, (what do you think?) Saint Somebody or Other. Now I ask you?

[Page 495]
I intend to settle down to Study. I have a arranged with a teacher for three French lessons a week; a great part of my time I shall spend reading, for I have joined the English Library.

Really this is a loafers life:–
Breakfast in bed at 9.30 or 10.
Library before lunch – Lunch 12.30.
Tea parties or mountain excursions – afternoon Dinner 7. Hang about for rest of evening.

Well I must close. The long letter follows Monday. This is just a note.

Love and Kisses to all
Your loving and devoted son & bro.

[Page 496]
[Envelope; postmarked Montreux 14.1.18]
Mr. John. F. Cull,
Bree St.,


[Page 497]
Hôtel de l’Europe

Dear Dad Mum & All

I’m fed up today! fed to the teeth! Got a letter from the girl with a note enclosed from Joe. Her people will not allow her to live out of France, unless ’tis England. They can go to Hell, the whole box and dice and I shall let them know in as many words. No longer a dreamer, in future I shall laugh at dreams.

I swear that if ever I get married and I don’t give a Continental d– now whether I do or not, it will be essentially a commercial contract. What a colossal joke? Don’t think that I’m worrying; I’m not!

[Page 498]
I’m amused! Joe expected to get leave to Blighty about 28th of this month.

I’m studying hard at French. I want to speak not only fluently but grammatically correct. I get three lessons a week from a regular teacher. When I have advanced sufficiently far I intend to take up some subject at the University Lausanne or Geneva. I shall probably go there in a couple of month. I joined the Library. People think that I’m well read. I’m not; but I want to be.

The "Doubledays" are just topping people; I go there just when I feel inclined, and I make myself at home. They are jolly good to me. Miss Doubleday took me up to "Glion" a few days ago. Its a lovely place 700 metres high, covered with snow of course – and overlooks Lake Leman. We had a

[Page 499]
ripping time. I enclose a couple of snaps I took there. We have booked many excursions – one to "Château de Chillon" which name I’m sure is familiar to you Dad for, ’twas chanté par lord Byron, célébré par Victor Hugo et Alexandre Dumas.

Prison de Bonivard au Château de Chillon – is as a matter of fact on the tramline from here.

I had to spend a lot of money here to re-fit but can go easy now.

I was "Xrayed" four days ago, but have heard nothing since from the doctor

I’m keeping my eyes open for a good, Sole agency, for Australia. What do you think about it? It pays extraordinarily well. The only trouble I see is to get the agency and I fancy I can get one easily eneough. On the other hand I believe my Study French and German, for I know a little German and of course shall

[Page 500]
study it after French might help me into some other good billet, as for instan[ce] "Customs". You can see that I’m a waster now! Can’t you! I want money for nothing – at least I’m prepared to work hard with my brains but I’m –– if I am with my hands.

I should get a good hefty pension from the Commonwealth, but of course I’m not backing on it. Tell me what allotment you draw now. I changed it 1st. December 16. I believe we pay half our hotel bill and of course all our expenses. C’est la guerre!

I can walk just a little way without crutches – a few yards. My action is somewhat like a coach on a rocky road. Excuse this horrible attempt.

All my love and many kisses to all.
Your loving and aff. son & bro.

If Jess hasn’t written to Malta please tell her not to.

[Page 501]

Mr. John. F. Cull,
Bree Street.

[Page 502]
Hôtel de l’Europe

Dear Dad Mum & All

A few lines only before I turn in. Saw my doctor again and the following is as much as is known at present.

[Diagrams of pelvis, hip sockets and leg bones, labelled 1 SPINE, HIP and PELVIS (left) and 2 (right)]
In the first diagram you see the shanks normally, and in the second you get an idea of mine.

The inked part shows approx. what is blown away of hip bone. The light dots ..... show the fractures. The doctor is not sure from the photos he has

[Page 503]
whether that part of the socket marked on no. 1 diagram is intact or n[ot] If it is he will pull my leg back and with a support for a time I shall be perfectly all right – On the other hand, if it is gone he can fix me up with a support – in fact I shall be as goo[d] as new. I have to be Xrayed again [on] Friday so that he can decide.

I have been fed to the teeth. Maries people have been doing all in their power to keep the kid – but she’s a real brick. I hope you won’t think me hopelessly silly but I do love that kiddie and I simply can’t let her go. Her people are certainly trying to make a fool of me. The girl[ie] wanted to come and see m[e] and after much trouble her mother said that she would accompany her. I sent a rather straight letter in which I was guess I hit the point. I let the mother know that

[Page 504]
I was not to be fooled with and that it would be a distinct saving to cancel the visit, if it was that she was not prepared to see my point of view. A girl – according to French law, is not of age till 30. Malheureux. I sent a telegram telling her to wait for that letter.

I have just received a letter from you and I am so pleased. This letter Novr. 5th (yes I remembered the date) to Novr. 14th. is the second letter I have received from Australia, in about twelve month, so that you can guess how pleased I am to have received it. I trust that you receive mine regularly. Have just received ten other letters from friends in various parts – Malta Eng. Scotland France and Switzerland.

I have a splendid letter from Lt. Col. Wiltshire – Extracts:– "You can rest assured that

[Page 505]
our thoughts have often been with you. I don’t know if you got my last letter but let me once more say that what you did in that stunt was splendid and you did all that was humanly possible. As far as your reputation and your record go you can rest assured that there is no officer that the old regiment is prouder of than Billy Cull. My only regret is that you have not a medal ribbon to show."

I am not given to skite, but I tell you I did do something but you see being taken prisoner washes the thing out. I couldn’t get back – I would not have shot myself had I thought of it. I didn’t thing of it because, I thought I was done, and my thoughts, well! You know where they were. You can’t know until you see my wounds how near dead I was. My only worry was for you. I was

[Page 506]
perfectly happy otherwise. Its strange but nevertheless true. You see just as I was hit I landed a beautiful grenade – a don. I’m proud to say that I was nearer to the Boche than any man I could see. Machine Gun bullets almost combed my hair and at least twenty bombs fell around me before I stopped one. The chaps were splendid; it was only that I was much more lightly equiped and was fairly fast on my pins that I got ahead.

Well about my home here! Montreux is just simply topping. I intend to transfer from this hotel to quieter and less expensive place. This certainly is a lovely hotel, but extra’s are a bit over the odds. Too many friends. The place I wish to go to is a "Pension" a nice place, but quiet. Capt. Hall a Mercantile Marine Officer, whom I’m sure I have mentioned – a man 56

[Page 507]

good, honest, sensible soul – in fact he reminds me of you Dad, and inde[ed] he calls me his boy – has taken an awful fancy to me – and as he is now the only officer staying at the Pension, and is very keen that I transfer I shall fix it up. He’s not too happy and I can help him. I was jokingly telling him yesterday just what I have told you about my leg, (it is not really as bad as one thinks) and would you believe it, he commenced crying like a child, then hugged and kissed me.

You know the thing is – some chaps who have damn all wrong with them make an awful fuss – and again my issue is not much, but officers who saw my wounds when they were bad – horrible in fact, have told these people and they can’t make out how it is I am so jolly. They won’t realize that that bad time is past, and that now I am Good,o. The petting I get would make

[Page 508]
a cat laugh.

Prices here are atrocious – I’ve spent an awful lot of money but I simply can’t help it. Imagine, a tunic and trousers only costing £9-5/-. I’m in rags but I cant come at that. I’m sending to England for a uniform. I’ve had to get a lot of stuff. I landed in Switzerland without boots and my clothing, well, it was warm but nothing more. Boots cost £2.10.

Well really I must close
Excuse horrible scribble.

Love and kisses to you all
Your loving and devoted son & bro

P.S. Just opened a letter from Clacton Road. Am pleased to say they were well.

[Page 509]
[Envelope; marked PASSED]
Mr. John F. Cull. 24-1-18.
Bree St.
Australia Victoria

[Page 510]
[Sketch of pair of crutches – shows through from page 512.]
Hotel de l’Europe


Dear Dad Mum & All

Awfully sorry that I have not written these two weeks; fact of matter is I have been rather ill. I am getting about again now. I was a complete nervous breakdown. No sleep, couldn’t read or write – heart 92 a minute 20 revs. over normal. My kidneys and bladder have been out of order for some considerable time past, and I’ve got an internal rupture (part of my wound)

After taking two "Xrays" – quite a number of examinations & deliberations to boot, it has been decided to send me home – as nothing can be done

[Page 511]
for me in Switzerland I expect to leave here before the end of March and I feel certain that I shall not be kept long in Eng. I’m really getting stronger every day; in a couple of years I reckon to be as good as gold.

I have heard from Cec. Joe & Bob quite recently – (within the last few days) They were quite well and happy.

I hope that you have all been quite well and have not worried too much about me.

I have some splendid friends here who take a great interest in me – some of them in fact take too great an interest in me. By a splendid system I have warded off the atta[cks] of a number of females who fell in desperate love with me.

You can’t imagine how awful it [is]

[Page 512]
and this:– [sketch of pair of crutches] only is the witchcraft I have used. As its no fault of mine, I must use the infernal things, my conscience re the females is quite clear.

Candidly though the place is too hot to hold me much longer. While I was ill my room was invaded with these unfortunate people. I received more than eneough pot plants and cut flowers – cushions and goodness knows what. I thought for a time to declare a "lock out" but after a thought decided on least line of resistance and "got out" myself.

One silly cuss wished to paint my portrait; He can go to hell. Another – a silly woman wanted to paint me as Saint Somebody or other – She can go to Pergatory.

There is not a doubt about it, but

[Page 513]
these few weeks I have had a number of opportunities to clinch real sound Commercial Contracts Real live business propositions Its so rotten that I intend to go away for a few days – Change of air.

I must close up shop and go to bed for I’m quite tired out.

Yesterday morning I was taken for a two hours run in a motor and in the afternoon I went out on the lake in a row-boat. It was topping.

Love and kisses to al
Your loving & devoted son & bro.

[Page 515]
– I eat well and sleep ever s[o] much better. The terrible pain I used to have has almost entirely left me and the "hernia of the bowels causes me very little trouble now.

Now that the trouble is over and don[e] with I can tell you that the pain I suffered, both day and night, for five month was I’m sure the most terrible possible for mortal to suffer an[d] live with. I wonder that I’m not dotty. Doctors say that no one else could have lived through what I h[ad]

Yes I am 10 st. 13 lbs. 11 oz. now; six month ago I was about seven s[tone] and just before I was captured I was 12 stone 8 lb.

Its awfully strange; I must look awfully boyish although I feel so o[ld]

[Page 516]
People here find time to call me Baby Soldier. A French lady to whom I was introduced yesterday – said in French (she didn’t think I could understand, "How old is he? "He only looks 15"! I told you in other letters what Xray proved to be the extent of my injuries but because of probabilities of letters going astray – shall tell you again.

Practically all of hip bone shot away – two pieces of pelvis shot away – four bad fractures round region of pelvis – compound fracture of thigh – hernia of bowels and the leg is as shown in diagram – not short but stuck up in the side some three inches The fact that the scar is shrinking up to nothing, seriously annoys me.

[Page 517]
[Diagram of pelvis showing injuries and displacement of left leg]
We have had glorious sunshine for some days but ’tis snowing heavily today

My dear friend Capt. Hall Mercantile Marine left for England two days ago. He thought the world of me and I of him. He was awfully keen about writing to you so I gave him the address.

Very sorry to hear about Uncle Jack. If you write remember me kindly to him, and send him my best wishes for his speedy recovery. Had a letter from Joe today. He was well as also were Cec. & Bob. I shall be home soon.

Cheerio. I send you all my love and kisses
Your loving & aff. son & bro.

[Page 518]
[Envelope; postmarked Montreux and stamped PASSED


Mr. John. F. Cull,
Bree St.

[Page 519]
[First of two pages written in a different hand, in French]
Le bombardment intense des positions France-Anglaises au sul de la Somme et sur l’avre a été suvé par une attaque Allemands menié sur tout ce front par des forces considerables. Des cinq hailus du matin les efforts des all-mands se sont portis sur Hangard-en-Santerre la region de Hailles et sur le bois serecat ausuá de avra ibaitle qui a duré tolute la journée et cont revub encole a l’heure actuelle a ete parlu ultiairérent. Acharnée dans la region de Hangard. Apres une serie d’assauts furieux les Allemands ont refusse apprenane era dans les bois au nord de Hangard. Ainsi que sur la lisiere est du village que les troupes francaises defendent avec archannement. La lutte a bele on mains violents dans la region Hailles. Plusieures assauts Allemands diriges sur la croupe a lest du village ont été brisés pas les feux et les contre attaques des Francais. Plus au sude les Allemands ont egalement echoue dans lisers tintatives contre le bois serécat et la rien signaler sur la reste du front.

W R Shaw
Snr. W/T Officer
H.M.H.S. [His Majesty’s Hospital Ship]
Dunluce Castle
At Sea 4.45 AM.

[Page 520]
[Second of two pages in a different hand, in French]
Un a signaler au cours de la journée a dehors d’une assez grand activité de lartil lerie dans la region Montdidier et Noyon.

Dans les journées du 20 et du 21 Avril quatre avions Allemands et deux ballons captif ont été detruits par les pilotes Francais un cinqufeme vion a été a battu par le tir de l’infanterie en autre seizeuppore ils Allemands sont tombés dans leurs lignes fortiment endommagés a la suite de combats aeriens. Dans la meme period l’aviation Francais de bombardement a effectuf de nombres sorties 4900 kilos de projectiles ont été jetés sur des gares contonments Terrain d’aviation en nenies dans la region de Saint Quentin. Jussy Chaulnes, Royes, Ham, Guiscard, Asfeld, deux incendies ont éclate en gare de Chaulnes et en le gare de Asfeld un depot de munitions [indecipherable] Guiscard a fait explosion.

Dunluce Castle

[Page 521]
[Cover page of B.I.M. (British Internees Magazine), Vol. 2, No. 1, January, 1918]

[Page 522]
[B.I.M. (British Internees Magazine); Advertisements. Ads for G. Hasler, English pipes, cigars and Cigarettes, Interlaken; Hotel Baeren, Interlaken; Hotel Zahringerhof, the British Soldiers’ Hotel, Bern; Och Freres, winter sports equipment, Geneva; Old England, British tailors and drapers, Geneva.]
[Page not fully transcribed]

[Page 523]
[Handwritten note:]
British Internees Magazine
[B.I.M. (British Internees Magazine). Under the Patronage of His Excellency, Sir HORACE RUMBOLD, Bart., His Britannic Majesty’s Minister in Switzerland. Editor and Manager – Captain G. T. BUTTON, Oxfordshire Light Infantry; Articles: A Change of Policy; Opportunity for the Immigrant in Ontario, Canada.]
[Page not fully transcribed]

[Page 524]
[B.I.M. (British Internees Magazine), page 2. Articles: Opportunity for the Immigrant in Ontario, Canada (continued); The Motor School at Vevey.]
[Page not fully transcribed]

[Page 525]
[B.I.M. (British Internees Magazine), page 3. Articles: The Motor School at Vevey (continued); Electric Wiring.]
[Page not fully transcribed]

[Page 526]
[B.I.M. (British Internees Magazine), page 4. Articles: The Manufacture of Leather Goods at Meiringen; Sawdust, Etc.]
[Page not fully transcribed]

[Page 527]
[B.I.M. (British Internees Magazine), page 5. Articles: Sawdust, Etc. (continued); Vevey Notes.]
[Page not fully transcribed]

[Page 528]
[B.I.M. (British Internees Magazine), page 6. Articles: Vevey Notes (continued).]
[Page not fully transcribed]

[Page 529]
[B.I.M. (British Internees Magazine), page 7. Articles: Vevey Notes (continued); Ice Carnival at Murren; Leysin Notes.]
[Page not fully transcribed]

[Page 530]
[B.I.M. (British Internees Magazine), page 8. Articles: Leysin Notes (continued); Bellevue Hotel.]
[Page not fully transcribed]

[Page 531]
[B.I.M. (British Internees Magazine), page 9. Articles: Bellevue Hotel (continued); Jungfrau Hotel. Ad for Bellevue Hotel, Murren.]
[Page not fully transcribed]

[Page 532]
[B.I.M. (British Internees Magazine), page 10. Articles: Jungfrau Hotel (continued); Alpenruh Hotel. Ad for Paul Gertsch, Interlaken and Murren, Stationery, Library.]
[Page not fully transcribed]

[Page 533]
[B.I.M. (British Internees Magazine), page 11. Articles: Alpenruh Hotel (continued); Chateau D’Oex Notes – Marriages, Entertainments.]
[Page not fully transcribed]

[Page 534]
[B.I.M. (British Internees Magazine), page 12. Articles: Chateau D’Oex Notes (continued).]
[Page not fully transcribed]

[Page 535]
[B.I.M. (British Internees Magazine), page 13. Articles: Chateau D’Oex Notes (continued) – Boxing. Ad for J. Pierre Ladies and Gents Hairdressers, Interlaken.]
[Page not fully transcribed]

[Page 536]
[B.I.M. (British Internees Magazine), page 14. Articles: Chateau D’Oex Notes (continued) – The Grey Hut, Echoes; Arrivals from Germany.]
[Page not fully transcribed]

[Page 537]
[B.I.M. (British Internees Magazine), page 15; Articles: British Prisoners of War Interned in Switzerland. Distribution on 1st January, 1918 (Table); Y.M.C.A. Notes; Interlaken. Ad for Military Carpenters’ Shop, Murren.]

[Page 538]
[B.I.M. (British Internees Magazine), page 16. Articles: Interlaken (continued); Leysin; British Interned Interlaken Football Club, 1917-1918 (Table of results). Ads for Drug Store and Photo Hall, Interlaken; Max the Photographer, Murren.]
[Page not fully transcribed]

[Page 539]
[B.I.M. (British Internees Magazine). Ads for The Anglo-American Pharmacy, Bern; W. Turler, Swiss watches, Bern; FR. Hoffer, Jeweller, Berne; Old England Gents’ Outfitters, Lausanne; Nestlé’s (au lait Suisse) Chocolate.]
[Page not fully transcribed]

[Page 540]
[B.I.M. (British Internees Magazine). Ads for Tobler & Co. Berne; Grand Hotel des Alpes, Interlaken; Au Pacha English cigarettes, tobaccos and briars, Lausanne; Omega watches.]
[Page not fully transcribed]

[Transcriber’s notes:
enough is spelt eneough throughout
Euripides sometimes spelt Euripidies
Flers spelt Fleurs
Gueudecourt spelt Guedecourt
Lesboeufs spelt Les Boeuf
Pozieres occasionally spelt Posieres
Warlencourt spelt Walencourt or Walincourt]
Signs sometimes ‘Will’, sometimes ‘Bill’.

[Transcribed by Barbara Manchester and John Stephenson for the State Library of NSW]