Wwi Australian Frontline Letters, 19th Battalion, Somme 1916. Battle Of Pozieres
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Wwi Australian Frontline Letters, 19th Battalion, Somme 1916. Battle Of Pozieres:
of2 originalFirst World War Australiansoldier's letters,sent fromthe Western Frontin 1916bya soldierin the 19th Australian Infantry Battalion.These letters were written in August and September 1916. One is an 8 page letter written on the 6th of August, withexcellent content aboutthe recent Battle of Pozieres at the Somme, in which the Australians hadsufferedenormous losses.
The soldier who wrote these letters served at Gallipoli in 1915 and on the Western Front from 1916 to 1918. He became an officer in 1917, and was awarded the Military Cross in 1918.
*** These letterswere writtenby a soldier named Wilfred Charles Cundell Satchell, whoserved throughout most of the warin the 19th Australian Infantry Battalion, 5th Brigade, 2nd Australian Division.Satchell served first as aprivate,rose to sergeant, and then received an officer'scommission in 1917. He was awarded the Military Cross,which he earned in August 1918 atthe Battle of Amiens.Satchell fought at Gallipoli in 1915. Following the Gallipoli evacuationSatchell and his battalion arrived on the Western Front in early 1916.
When the 19th Australian Infantry Battalion was disbanded in early autumn, 1918,Satchell was transferred to the 18th Australian Infantry Battalion, with which he served for the remainder of the war.
There are two original letters in this grouping, both written by Satchell to his mother. One was written by Satchell on the 6th of August, 1916.Much of this long letter is an outstanding account of the recent fightingatPozieres:
"Just a few lines dear letting you know that I am safe and sound. We have been right into it since 25th July but am now glad to say we are back in a town to reorganize and get reinforcements. It has been an awful time for us all but we have made a name for Australia which can never die.
It is Sunday night about 9 o'clock and I can just imagine the headings in the SydneyMorningHerald of Monday. It is a good thing most of the world only sees the brilliant victory. It would not do for them to see things that really take place. God, I never want to see such sights as I'veseen recently.
Mother dear, our battalion hung to the trenches like tigers for over a week before the others charged, and I mourn the loss of many lads I knew. Everything that is best in a man comes out, and I have never witnessed such acts of devotion and self denial. Poor lads who had been buried by falling earth and had their nerves utterly broken sending their small bread issue and any little extra theymay have possessed up to the front line for their brave 'cobbers' who were still holding on - that is just one instance.
It did not fall to our battalion to partake in the glory of the charge, they had to hold positions just won under an awful artillery fire which no man living can describe. They may swear mother, and drink, but by God they are men.
I saw many Burwood boys brought down wounded, and in my time off duty (very little) I would often go into the dressing station and say 'That's one for Burwood so andso.'
Well Mother, I will be making you down hearted, but I don't want to do that, but I thought you would like to hear how good and brave our boys are, and I am more than ever proud to be an Australian.
As to my luck dear, well I thank God for his protection. I have only marched down from the danger zone today and am feeling tired. During the time in the trenches I did not lie down to sleep, just sat up occasionally, but am feeling pretty good, but I felt I had to drop you a line. You poor dear, how awful it must be for you.
Let Una knowMother dear that I am safe and sound and will write as soon as I can. She will understand me not writing tonight.
Later I will send you a few curios, German gas helmet amongst them, and my hat which was riddled with shrapnel (luckily not on my head), and my old colours, worn by me for 12 months."
The second letter is 3 pages long. It was written on the 11th of September, 1916. Satchell's division had moved temporarily to aslightly quieter sector of the front, in Flanders, before being moved back to the Somme. There is a moving segment about a wounded soldier who was killed while helping to carry supplies to the firing line. The manwas shell shocked and had been taken back from the line, but he thenvolunteered to carry medical supplies up to the front line trenches. He was killedon the way:
"I am writing this in what remains of a room in a house in a deserted city. To stand out in the street and lookat what was once beautiful work and architecture almost makes a fellow cry. As far as I can make out in most places it is nothing but wanton destruction.
...There has been great news for all since July 1 hasn't there, from every front? It seems to have cheered the world up. It's a good thing they can only see the bright side. I wonder, do they ever think of the poor mother's hearts which are almost breaking?
During the heavy fighting lately I took one of our boys back to a gully for a bit of a rest. He was terribly shaken with the shelling and could hardly walk. Arm in arm we went, and got there alright, but it was awful to see him jump when one of our guns fired even. Well I left him, to carry water back to the front line, thinking he was safe at last. But there were some medical stores to come up (been forgotten) a little later, and he having left a German helmet behind at the firing line, which he had got for his sweetheart, volunteered to carry these stores. Anyway, poor brave lad got about half way there when a shrapnel pellet went through his heart."
Anoutstanding grouping of original First World War Australiansoldier's letters from the Western Front. The two letters are contained in a single censored cover.
*** Wilfred Charles CundellSatchell, of the 19th Infantry Battalion, Australian Imperial Force, arrived atGallipoli in August 1915.He later served on the Western Front from early 1916 until the end of the war. He was promoted to corporal in March 1916, to Temporary Sergeant in February 1917, and was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant inAugust 1917.In August 1918,in the openingdays of the Battle of Amiens, Lieutenant Satchell earned the Military Cross. His citationfor the Military Cross reads as follows:
"Lieutenant Wilfred Charles Cundell Satchell.
During operations east of Amiens, on 8th August, 1918, he rendered invaluable service in establishing and maintaining communications between battalion headquarters and attacking troops. With two signallers, he followed closely in rear of the fourth wave, laying wires as he went forward, resulting in the establishing of telephonic communication immediately the objective was taken. On 9th August, during the attack on Framerville, and again on 11th August, he carried out his duties under heavy fire with the greatest zeal and efficiency, and rendered most valuable service."
(Lieutenant Satchell was decorated by King George V at Buckingham Palace in March, 1919.)
(Note: I have shown 3pages of copied extracts fromSatchell's service file in the listing images. These are shown for purposes of information only; they are not included in the sale.)
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