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Digger's Scrapbook Page 1

  • This page is designed as a place to put all those little bits 'n  pieces that don't fit anywhere else. 
  • It might be a newspaper clipping or a funny fact or an interesting note. 
  • Look for it here; but don't look for "good order and military discipline". Here, chaos reigns supreme.
Brigadier Generals (and Colonels) were paid £2 5s 0d per day ($4.50), of which 8d (80 cents) was deferred until discharge, plus while in the field, a field allowance of 7s 6d (75 cents) per day. Major and Lieutenant Generals were paid a salary of £1,200 ($2,400.00) per annum with a field allowance of 12s 6d ($1.25) per day. No special or additional payments were made to generals in the Great War. Their pay can be compared with a private's pay of 6s (60 cents) per day (of which 1s (10 cents) was deferred).
flags-4-countries.jpg (47400 bytes) Flags of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Cape Colony (South Africa) in an advertising poster, circa 1915.

Princess Mary's Gift Box; Christmas 1914

Embossed brass tin with a hinged lid and remnants of an overall gilt finish. The lid features, at its centre, the profile head of Princess Mary within a circular wreath, flanked on each side by the letter 'M'. There is a decorative border portraying heraldic and military devices, and the words 'IMPERIUM BRITANNICUM', 'CHRISTMAS 1914', and the names 'BELGIUM', 'JAPAN', 'FRANCE', 'RUSSIA', 'SERVIA' and 'MONTE NEGRO'.   This pencil was contained in a Princess Mary's Christmas Gift box. Sterling silver; Wood (non specific); Lead; Brass; MK VI .303 brass bullet cartridge containing a small pencil. Impressed on shaft of the cartridge is Princess Mary's crest. The head-stamp on the cartridge is 'L VI C R' and a broad arrow. The 'head' of the bullet is made of sterling silver and holds a small pencil which fits into the body of the cartridge.
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  • Princess Mary's gift tin was distributed to all British, Commonwealth and Empire soldiers and sailors who were serving on Christmas Day, 1914. 
  • HRH Princess Victoria Alexandra Alice Mary was responsible for a public appeal to ensure that 'every Sailor afloat and every Soldier at the front' received a Christmas present. 
  • Boxes such as this one, given to Australian troops in Egypt, would originally have contained a New Year's greeting card, a small pencil in the form of a .303 bullet and cigarettes.


On 30th March, 1918, in Sailly le Sec, South of Albert, Private McDowell was engaged in preparing a hot meal for the troops in the trenches. His position was heavily shelled and his comrades sought shelter. This man continued to prepare the meal and make arrangements for its distribution, which owing to his devotion to duty and courage was possible even during the lulls in the enemy attack His conduct was much admired by the men of his company and it was only due to his example and fine soldierly bearing that the hot meal was able to be served to the troops immediately the enemy's attack had been defeated. There was no officer or N.C.O. who could supervise this important duty, and his example to the other men of his kitchen is worthy of commendation. (McDowell was KIA 26 May 1918).  

'Colonel Bogey' is arguably the most famous march ever written. First published in 1914. By the early Thirties it had sold well over a million copies. In 1958 it was chosen as the theme tune for the splendid film The Bridge on the River Kwai . It is of course a fine march whose opening has proved totally irresistible for the best part of a century. Its composer was Lieutenant F.J.Ricketts (1881-1945), a military bandmaster who was Director of Music for the Royal Marines at Plymouth. Because at that time Service personnel were not encouraged to have professional lives, Ricketts published 'Colonel Bogey' and his other compositions under the pseudonym Kenneth Alford.

So much for the composer Ė but who in fact was Colonel Bogey? The story goes that this was a nickname by which a certain fiery colonel was known just before the 1914 War when Ricketts was stationed at Fort George near Inverness in Scotland. One of the composer's recreations was playing golf and it was on the local course that he sometimes encountered the eccentric colonel. One of the latter's peculiarities was that instead of shouting 'Fore' to warn of an impending drive, he preferred to whistle a descending minor third. This little musical tag stayed and germinated in the mind of the receptive Ricketts Ė and so the opening of a memorable march was born.   Copyright © Richard Graves, April 7th 1999

$2.5 billion were loaned by US banks to Allied forces in 1917, as opposed to $45 million loaned to Germany.
The kangaroo that got "lost". This is a hat badge but it is not Australian and not a badge from the colonies either.

It is the hat badge of the Canadian Armoured Carrier Regiment from WW2. They complained that in England they were constantly mistaken for Aussies......until the spoke and then they were mistaken for Yanks.

Co-incidence. My great/uncle served at the Siege of Tobruk and was MID in New Guinea. On his death I requested that I be custodian of his medals. T'was not to be. Several years later after other deaths they did come to me to hold in trust. In the bag containing them were two WWI medals (The War Medal & The Victory Medal) from someone who has absolutely no connection with my family that I can discover. They belong to Pte Wilfred Moore, KIA in 1917. His family were in England. My G/uncle was not a medal collector or dealer. What is the co-incidence? Pte Moore served with my father in the 42nd Bn.

Greatest Grenade Battle of the War Undoubtedly the greatest grenade battle of the war occurred on the Pozieres Heights on the night of 26-27 July 1916.Lasting for twelve-and-a-half hours without a break the Australians, with British support, exchanged grenades with their German foes (who threw multiple types of grenade: sticks, cricket balls, egg bombs and rifle grenades). The allied contingent alone threw some 15,000 Mills bombs during the night. Many grenadiers were killed that night, while many others simply fell down due to complete exhaustion.

AIF DESERTER. AIF soldier Walter Lesley Schwarz enlisted with the AIF in 1915, but felt he was being discriminated against because of his name. He deserted in England and joined the Royal Fusiliers. He became a Lieutenant winning an MC and Bar and was mentioned three times in despatches. In 1921 King George V granted him a pardon on the desertion charge.
"Donít forget me, cobber". The sight of the wounded lying helpless within a stoneís throw from safety so affected Major A W Murdoch of the 29th  Battalion that he improvised a flag of truce, crossed no-manís land to the German lines, and asked a Lieutenant if an informal truce could be declared so the wounded could be rescued. The German officer received permission from his HQ for the truce but Murdoch was told that the Allied General HQ had given orders that "no negotiations of any kind, and on any subject, were to be had with the enemy".  

So the Australian stretcher bearers were stopped from going out. Bean wrote: "Then was seen along the whole front of the Australian 5th Division that magnificent tribute of devotion which the Australian soldier never failed to pay to his mates. "For three days and nights, risking death or wounding, single men and parties continued to go out to help the wounded. On the night of July 20, 300 men were rescued. One of those who went to help was Lieutenant (then Sergeant) Fraser. 

He found one man who was too heavy for him to lift on his own. He was just about to go back for a stretcher party when another man called out from 30 metres away: "Donít forget me, cobber". Fraser and his stretcher parties rescued both men. Fraser was killed a year later at the second battle of Bullecourt and has no known grave.

scrap-of-paper.jpg (36212 bytes) Britain had signed an agreement that guaranteed Britain would support Belgium if she was attacked. The Kaiser believed that no one would get involved in a war for "a little scrap of paper". Once more the Germans failed to understand the English. These are the flags of the principal nations that fought on the British side. Britain, France, Belgium, Russia, Japan, Australia, Canada, Cape Colony (Sth Africa), New Zealand. There were others who took a smaller role.
When is a Sergeant a Serjeant? Normally in military and police contexts it is spelt sergeant (hence sergeant-major), but in older use often written as serjeant. 'The spelling serjeant is now usually restricted to legal and ceremonial offices, except in historical and in certain official contexts' (New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary).  The New Fowler's Modern English Usage, © Oxford University Press 1968 
Grenades. Hand held bombs were called grenades. The soldiers who trained to use them were called 'grenadiers' until the Grenadier Guards complained that that usage would reflect badly on them and their name. So King George V "requested" a change and the grenades became 'bombs' and the soldiers that used them were referred to as 'bombers'.
Click to enlarge << Troop train Egypt c1915

Daily life, Egypt c 1915 >>

Click to enlarge

images from Gwen Ladner

Red Cross drafts board & draftsmen as supplied to the Recreation Rooms for use by the troops WW2.

The gift of the Colonies of Trinidad, Grenada & St Lucia to His Majesty's Naval & Military Forces (WW1). 

This chocolate was made from cocoa grown in Trinidad Grenada & St Lucia

  • "Wally & the Major" was a popular Australian cartoon during WW2.
  • This 1916 edition of The Sydney Mail indicates how pressure was applied to men to enlist. It carried lists of men who had enlisted and the front cover has the woman saying to her man, "I don't see your name on the list".

A souvenir brought or sent home from Egypt by a Digger in 1915

Memorials to mounted men. If a memorial has a mounted man on a horse with both front legs in the air it indicates he died in battle. If the horse has one leg raised the soldier died of wounds. If all four legs are on the ground the soldier survived to die of natural causes. 


Helmet designed to replace British style helmet to give better protection to wearer.

Designer Hale and Kilburn of Philadelphia didn't take into account shape resembled that of the enemy and troops didn't like the idea of being shot by their own side.

Helmet made of Hadfield Manganese and weighed 2lbs 10 ounces , helmet is sand / saw dust finished very much like WW11 M1 helmet.

Whoops. This 1944 fund-raising badge (value sixpence or 5 cents) was obviously designed to capture the famous "V" for Victory sign made popular by Winston Churchill.

However, the "V" for Victory sign requires the other fingers to face the audience. As shown here it has a meaning quite different from "V" for Victory.

I feel quite sure that the Tubercular Soldiers' Aid Society did not mean "Get stuffed".

Sign in a hotel in Virginia Beach Virginia USA in 1942
  • Commonwealth of Australia War Savings Certificate to the value of one pound (£1) (equivalent $2)
"Liberty Bonds" were sold in both countries (separately) to raise money to fight the war. 

This 1942 NZ version shows that the bond cost 1 pound and when redeemed in 1949 would be valued at 1 pound 4 shillings.

"Diggers' Loan".

£96 (96 pounds or $192) buys a £100 (one hundred pounds or $200) bond.

Interest was paid at 6% paid half yearly.

Covers of books produced for Anzac day 1916 & 1917 in Queensland Australia

WW1 Soldier's Certificate from Shire of Ararat

Propaganda poster from WW1


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Digger History:  an unofficial history of the Australian & New Zealand Armed Forces