Creswick’s War Through the Letters of Driver Spittle. By Neil Leckie

This book explores the Creswick locals who served in The Great War and highlights the importance of keeping an army fed and the difficulties facing soldiers tasked with that job. The book gives a great insight into the local 18 Company, formed in Ballarat during WWI, who supplied the 8th Brigade (about 4000 men) with its daily requirements.

In August 1915, a Ballarat Auctioneer, Captain John Brazenor, the Officer Commanding Ballarat’s Militia 18 Company, Army Service Corps was asked to form the 18 Company Australian Army Service Corps for the AIF. Brazenor went about selecting men from the volunteers in the Royal Park, Seymour and Broadmeadows camps. He selected men with a background that included working with horses, including Drivers, Shoe-Smiths, Farriers, Wheelwrights and Clerks. Over one third of Brazenor’s selected men came from the Ballarat and Creswick districts, many of whom Brazenor knew personally.

Soldier’s War Service Records will tell facts but their records do not tell you what the men actually did on a day to day basis.  Gordon wrote home weekly and many of his letters survived the years and were put into a book in 1994 called “The War Correspondent”, the nickname Gordon was given during the war by his mates. This book is based on those letters. He writes of what is was like delivering rations and stores to the front line with the occasional artillery shell landing nearby, the hard work looking after the horses and wagons in winter when the roads were like skating rinks, the grief at the loss of friends, the joy of leave to London and Paris, his thoughts on conscription and the ‘shirkers’ at home who wouldn’t enlist, and the happiness of receiving mail and parcels from home. Gordon was quite forthright in his opinions and wrote what he thought!

In addition to Gordon’s letters, the book includes facts from such books as ‘The History of the 5th Australian Division’ under which 18 Coy AASC served, other battalion histories, the Australian War Memorial and the National Archives Australia websites and other military websites.

Neil Leckie is an Army Reserve Officer in the Royal Australian Infantry Corps. He commenced his Army service in 1968 as a National Serviceman, gaining his commission at the Officer Training Unit – Scheyville, in New South Wales. Since then he has spent thirty of the past forty years in various Army Reserve units, but mainly with his current unit The 8th/7th Battalion, The Royal Victoria Regiment. He was awarded the Reserve Force Decoration for 15 years service as an officer in 1989.

It has been during his time with 8th/7th RVR, a battalion steeped in tradition which includes service in both World Wars, that he developed an interest in military history. Neil is a regular contributor to military newsletters and magazines and in 1999 he wrote his first book Bushmens Rifles: A History of the 22nd Battalion, The Royal Victoria Regiment. His second book, Country Victoria’s Own, 150 Years of 8th/7th RVR and its Predecessors, was launched on 09 August 2008, the battalion’s 150th birthday.

Major Leckie is also the Museum Manager of the Ranger Military Museum in Ballarat and has toured Gallipoli and the Western Front with Belmore Travel and walked the Kokoda Track.

ISBN: 978 164633258 8
Published by the author

$50.00

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Description

This book explores the Creswick locals who served in The Great War and highlights the importance of keeping an army fed and the difficulties facing soldiers tasked with that job. The book gives a great insight into the local 18 Company, formed in Ballarat during WWI, who supplied the 8th Brigade (about 4000 men) with its daily requirements.

In August 1915, a Ballarat Auctioneer, Captain John Brazenor, the Officer Commanding Ballarat’s Militia 18 Company, Army Service Corps was asked to form the 18 Company Australian Army Service Corps for the AIF. Brazenor went about selecting men from the volunteers in the Royal Park, Seymour and Broadmeadows camps. He selected men with a background that included working with horses, including Drivers, Shoe-Smiths, Farriers, Wheelwrights and Clerks. Over one third of Brazenor’s selected men came from the Ballarat and Creswick districts, many of whom Brazenor knew personally.

Soldier’s War Service Records will tell facts but their records do not tell you what the men actually did on a day to day basis.  Gordon wrote home weekly and many of his letters survived the years and were put into a book in 1994 called “The War Correspondent”, the nickname Gordon was given during the war by his mates. This book is based on those letters. He writes of what is was like delivering rations and stores to the front line with the occasional artillery shell landing nearby, the hard work looking after the horses and wagons in winter when the roads were like skating rinks, the grief at the loss of friends, the joy of leave to London and Paris, his thoughts on conscription and the ‘shirkers’ at home who wouldn’t enlist, and the happiness of receiving mail and parcels from home. Gordon was quite forthright in his opinions and wrote what he thought!

In addition to Gordon’s letters, the book includes facts from such books as ‘The History of the 5th Australian Division’ under which 18 Coy AASC served, other battalion histories, the Australian War Memorial and the National Archives Australia websites and other military websites.

Neil Leckie is an Army Reserve Officer in the Royal Australian Infantry Corps. He commenced his Army service in 1968 as a National Serviceman, gaining his commission at the Officer Training Unit – Scheyville, in New South Wales. Since then he has spent thirty of the past forty years in various Army Reserve units, but mainly with his current unit The 8th/7th Battalion, The Royal Victoria Regiment. He was awarded the Reserve Force Decoration for 15 years service as an officer in 1989.

It has been during his time with 8th/7th RVR, a battalion steeped in tradition which includes service in both World Wars, that he developed an interest in military history. Neil is a regular contributor to military newsletters and magazines and in 1999 he wrote his first book Bushmens Rifles: A History of the 22nd Battalion, The Royal Victoria Regiment. His second book, Country Victoria’s Own, 150 Years of 8th/7th RVR and its Predecessors, was launched on 09 August 2008, the battalion’s 150th birthday.

Major Leckie is also the Museum Manager of the Ranger Military Museum in Ballarat and has toured Gallipoli and the Western Front with Belmore Travel and walked the Kokoda Track.

ISBN: 978 164633258 8
Published by the author

Additional information

Weight 0.85 kg
Dimensions 25.8 × 18.5 × 1.7 cm

Book Reviews Reviews

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