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Letters from France   By: (1879-1968)

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First Page:




War Correspondent for the Commonwealth of Australia

With a Map and Eight Plates

[Illustration: AUSTRALIANS WATCHING THE BOMBARDMENT OF POZIÈRES Their mates were beneath that bombardment at the time]

Cassell and Company, Ltd London, New York, Toronto and Melbourne


To those other Australians who fell in the Sharpest Action their Force has known, on July 19, 1916, before Fromelles, these Memories of a Greater, but not a Braver, Battle are herewith Dedicated


These letters are in no sense a history except that they contain the truth. They were written at the time and within close range of the events they describe. Half of the fighting, including the brave attack before Fromelles, is left untouched on, for these pages do not attempt to narrate the full story of the Australian Imperial Force in France. They were written to depict the surroundings in which, and the spirit with which, that history has been made; first in the quiet green Flemish lowlands, then with a swift, sudden plunge into the grim, reeking, naked desolation of the Somme. The record of the A.I.F., and its now historical units in their full action, will be painted upon that background some day. If these letters convey some reflection of the spirit which fought at Pozières, their object is well fulfilled. The author's profits are devoted to the fund for nursing back to useful citizenship Australians blinded or maimed in the war.

C. E. W. Bean.




1. A Padre who said the Right Thing

2. To the Front

3. The First Impression A Country with Eyes

4. The Road to Lille

5. The Differences

6. The Germans

7. The Planes

8. The Coming Struggle: Our Task

9. In a Forest of France

10. Identified

11. The Great Battle Begins

12. The British Fricourt and La Boiselle

13. The Dug outs of Fricourt

14. The Raid

15. Pozières

16. An Abysm of Desolation

17. Pozières Ridge

18. The Green Country

19. Trommelfeuer

20. The New Fighting

21. Angels' Work

22. Our Neighbour

23. Mouquet Farm

24. How the Australians were Relieved

25. On Leave to a New England

26. The New Entry

27. A Hard Time

28. The Winter of 1916

29. As in the World's Dawn

30. The Grass Bank

31. In the Mud of Le Barque

32. The New Draft

33. Why He is not "The Anzac"


Australians Watching the Bombardment of Pozières

Sketch Map

"Talking with the Kiddies in the Street"

"An Occasional Broken Tree Trunk"

No Man's Land

Along the Road to Lille

The Trenches here have to be Built Above the Ground in Breastwork

A Main Street of Pozières

The Church Pozières

The Windmill of Pozières

The Barely Recognisable Remains of a Trench

The Tumbled Heap of Bricks and Timber which the World Knows as Mouquet Farm

"Past the Mud Heaps Scraped by the Road Gangs"

[Illustration: Rough sketch showing some of the German defences of Pozières and the direction of the Australian attacks between July 22 and September 4, 1916. (From Pozières to Mouquet Farm is just over a mile.)]




France, April 8th, 1916.

The sun glared from a Mediterranean sky and from the surface of the Mediterranean sea. The liner heaved easily to a slow swell. In the waist of the ship a densely packed crowd of sunburnt faces upturned towards a speaker who leaned over the rail of the promenade deck above. Beside the speaker was a slight figure with three long rows of ribbons across the left breast. Every man in the Australian Imperial Force is as proud of those ribbons as the leader who wears them so modestly.

Australian ships had been moving through those waters for days. High over one's head, as one listened to that speaker, there sawed the wireless aerial backwards and forwards across the silver sky. Only yesterday that aerial had intercepted a stammering signal from far, far away over the brim of the world. "S.O.S.," it ran, "S... Continue reading book >>

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