Words of War: letters and diaries of Queenslanders who served 1914-1918

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The collections of the John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland contain a wide variety of material related to the First World War, including photographs, documents, newspapers, diaries, maps, posters, books, magazines, letters, and medals.

Through this rich resource of manuscripts and memorabilia we can reach into the lives of the men and women who served – soldiers, nurses, chaplains, and the families they left behind.

These guides provide links to resources throughout the Library, as well as external websites, and a bibliography containing selections for both general and younger readers.


Maurice George Delpratt

Delpratt, Maurice George

A collection of letters and postcards written by and to Sergeant Maurice George Delpratt, while held as a prisoner of war in Turkey during the First World War. One of three Delpratt brothers who enlisted, he served with the 5th Light Horse Regiment in 1914, which fought at Gallipoli. He was taken prisoner by the Turks in June 1915 and remained a prisoner of war for the duration of the hostilities.

View the catalogue record:

28115 Maurice George Delpratt Correspondence 1915-1920 (Online content)

View the blog post:

Maurice Delpratt - prisoner of war
George Samuel Deviney

Deviney, George Samuel

George Samuel Deviney was a 21-year-old farmer from Helidon when he enlisted with the AIF in 1916. He served with the 52nd Infantry Battalion, and was killed in action in Dernancourt, France in April 1918.  His letters, diaries, correspondence and posthumous award, were donated to the John Oxley Library by his family. He is remembered at Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, France.

View the catalogue record:

5592 George Samuel Deviney Papers 1909-1918 (Online content)

View the blog post:

George Samuel Deviney papers

This poppy represents that this soldier did not return

silhouette of soldier

Earnshaw, Percy Alan

Australian Dictionary of Biography entry and transcribed diary of Captain Percy Alan Earnshaw, a medical officer during the First World War who served in France, with a number of units including the 8th Field Ambulance Brigade, several Infantry Battalions and Field Hospitals. He was admitted to hospital with gas poisoning in 1918, after which he took leave without pay from the service, to work in the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormonde.

View the catalogue record:

M 774 Percy Alan Earnshaw Papers 30 July 1917 - 18 May 1919
Charles Edward

Edward, Charles

A small collection of two photographs, two embroidered postcards and copies of his military records. Private Charles Edward enlisted, aged from Ipswich and served with the 31st Infantry Battalion, primarily in the Middle East and later in France.

View the catalogue record:

29619 Charles Edward Collection 1917-1918 (Online content)
silhouette of soldier

Edwards, Tom

Canon Garland was senior army camp chaplain at Enoggera during the First World War. Included in his collection are letters from Army Chaplains who wrote about their experiences. Chaplain Tom Edwards was posted for duty with the Overseas Training unit in Perham Downs, when he arrived in England. He resigned his appointment in September 1917 and remained in England until returning to Australia in 1919.

View the catalogue record:

OM64-14 Canon David John Garland Papers 1911-1919
silhouette of soldier

Ethell, John Oliver

Canon Garland was senior army camp chaplain at Enoggera during the First World War. Included in his collection are letters to and from soldiers and their families. 2nd Lieut. John Ethell enlisted age 19 in August 1915. He served with the 6th Field Company attached to the 23rd Infantry Battalion. He was severely wounded near Bullecourt, in May 1917; commissioned 2nd Lieut. April 1917; killed in action at Broodseinde, 4 October 1917, aged 21. He is buried at the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, France. A collection of his papers is also available at the Australian War Memorial.

View the catalogue record:

OM64-14 Canon David John Garland Papers 1911-1919

This poppy represents that this soldier did not return

silhouette of soldier

Eva, Austin Francis

Canon Garland was senior army camp chaplain at Enoggera during the First World War. Included in his collection are letters to and from soldiers and their families, as well as Army Chaplains who wrote about their experiences. Chaplain Captain Austin Francis Eva, from Boonah enlisted in 1916, he served with the 29th & 8th Infantry Battalions in France and was Mentioned in Despatches for his services in 1918. He later served as Rector of St Pauls Anglican Church, Roma from 1921-1957.

View the catalogue record:

OM64-14 Canon David John Garland Papers 1911-1919
Bernard Flewell-Smith

Flewell-Smith, John and Bernard

First World War material in this collection includes the 1916 diary of Col. John Francis Flewell-Smith, a 1918 diary (presumably of his son Bernard Flewell-Smith [pictured]) and 17 battlefield photographs. There is also material related to Bernard Flewell-Smith's Military Medal, awarded in 1918 for bravery in the field whilst serving with the 15th Australian Infantry Battalion.

View the catalogue record:

3135 Flewell-Smith Family Papers Feb 1885-1925 (Online content)
Alexander Foot

Foot, George, Alexander, Henry and Eric

Photocopies of correspondence from George, Alexander and Henry Foot to their family; a photograph of George Foot and a photograph of the Machine Gun Section 5th Light Horse Regiment. Three brothers enlisted in September 1914, another in 1917. George and Alexander served with the 5th Light Horse, Henry with the 15th Infantry Battalion and Eric with the 4th Pioneer Battalion. Trooper Alexander Foot [pictured] and Lance Corporal Henry Foot were both killed in action whilst serving in Gallipoli in 1915. Alexander is buried at Shell Green Cemetery; Henry is buried at Lone Pine Memorial, Gallipoli Peninsula.

View the catalogue record:

3147 Foot Family Papers 1914-1925

These two poppies represents that these soldiers did not return

William Fraser

Fraser, John and William

Photographs and letters in relation to the service of brothers John and William Fraser from Yandina, who served and died in the First World War. Private John Fraser was killed while serving in France, and is buried at the French National Cemetery, Etinehem, The Somme. His brother Lieutenant William Fraser of the 7th Squadron, Royal Flying Corps died in October 1916 of wounds, his grave is at the Arras Memorial, France. Image: William Fraser.

View the catalogue record:

M 836 Charles Droughton and William Fraser Photographs (Online content)

These two poppies represent that these soldiers did not return

silhouette of soldier

Fulton, William

A CD-ROM containing photographs, correspondence and diaries of Private William Fulton of the 9th Infantry Battalion, 13-23 Reinforcements. Private Fulton enlisted in March 1916, from Laidley, aged 24. The collection of letters and diaries describe his service and training in England, and activities in France.

View the catalogue record:

29597 William Fulton Collection 1914-1941
silhouette of soldier

Garland, Charles

Canon Garland was senior army camp chaplain at Enoggera during the First World War. Included in his collection are letters to and from soldiers and their families, who wrote about their experiences. His nephew Charles Garland joined the Queens Own Yorkshire Dragoons in England and was involved in the Easter Rising in Dublin, 24 April 1916.

View the catalogue record:

OM64-14 Canon David John Garland Papers 1911-1919

View the blog post:

Charles Garland, Easter Rising 1916
David John Garland

Garland, David John

Papers relating to Canon Garland's career, focusing on church work during the First World War. He was senior army camp chaplain at Enoggera and was an active member of the Queensland Recruiting Committee. He was heavily involved with the Bible in State Schools League in Queensland, and an important architect and originator of the Anzac Day ceremonies. Included in the collection are letters to and from soldiers and their families, who served in the First World War, as well as Army Nurses and Chaplains who wrote about their experiences.

View the catalogue record:

OM64-14 Canon David John Garland Papers 1911-1919

View the blog post:

Garland Family papers
silhouette of soldier

Gibson, George Holland

A small collection of postcards and a letter from Private George Gibson to his mother in Brisbane. George Gibson, a telephone mechanic, enlisted in February 1916 and served in France with the 3rd Pioneers Battalion, where he was wounded several times, he returned to Australia in 1919. His brother Ronald enlisted in the 49th Battalion in 1915, he returned to Brisbane, medically unfit in 1917.

View the catalogue record:

OM64-31/1 George Gibson Letters 1917
Thomas William Glasgow

Glasgow, Thomas William [Bill]

A collection of letters, photographs and other correspondence chiefly from Glasgow to his wife Annie. Major General Sir Thomas William Glasgow, enlisted with the 2nd Light Horse Regiment in 1914. He landed with his unit at Anzac on 12 May 1915. He was later appointed commander of 13th Infantry Brigade, which fought at Mouquet Farm, Messines, Polygon Wood and Dernacourt. He commanded the 1st Division and went on to become one of the most highly decorated officers of the AIF.

View the catalogue record:

29571 Sir William and Lady Glasgow Papers 1894-1955 (Online content)

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The Gallipoli Campaign in the William Glasgow letters
silhouette of soldier

Goddard, George Hubert

Letters and correspondence from Lieut. George Hubert Goddard, a journalist for Sydney's Daily Telegraph in Melbourne before enlisting in the First World War. The letters are eloquent accounts of his experiences on active service with the 59th Infantry Battalion, at the front in France and Belgium from June 1917 to July 1918; leave to London and Paris, work in London during peace time on publicity for the A.I.F.'s Sports Section and the Allied Games in Paris 1919.

View the catalogue record:

2885 George Goddard Correspondence 7 Aug 1916 - 30 Aug 1919
silhouette of soldier

Green, George

Includes photograph albums, diaries and journals of Rev George Green, Dec 1914 - Mar 1915; May - Aug 1915. One entry records the burial of John Simpson Kirkpatrick (Simpson and the donkey) at Gallipoli. Rev George Green enlisted in September 1914 and was commissioned as a Captain Chaplain. He served with the 1st Light Horse Regiment on Gallipoli, and later the Australian Corps.

View the catalogue record:

Rev. George Green OM77-14 2nd Light Horse Association Records 1914-1920 (Online content)
George Woodthorpe Hackett

Hackett, George Woodthorpe

Lists of letters received and sent, a brief diary for 1918, notes on French towns, addresses, a list of 'chaps I have met' and a list of debts. George Hackett enlisted in 1917 aged 22 and served with the 6th Field Ambulance, on the Western Front.

View the catalogue record:

OM64-31/3 George W Hackett Papers ca. 1918

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Hackett scrapbooks
silhouette of soldier

Harvey, Norman K

Papers relating mainly to the First World War, and the Anzacs at Gallipoli. The collection includes Harvey's diaries, correspondence, maps, and photographs. Private Harvey was a schoolmaster who enlisted in the AIF in November 1915. He served with the 2nd Division Signal Corps, in France from 1915 to 1919.

View the catalogue record:

OM64-05 Norman K Harvey Papers 1914-1918
silhouette of soldier

Hely-Wilson, Thomas Herbert Willoughby

Canon Garland was senior army camp chaplain at Enoggera during the First World War. Included in his collection are letters to and from Army Chaplains who wrote about their experiences. Chaplain T Hely-Wilson from South Brisbane enlisted in April 1916. Initially assigned to the 1st Anzac Division HQ in England, he then served with the 7th Infantry Battalion HQ in France. He returned to Australia in 1917, and served as rector at St Pauls Anglican Church, Cleveland for many years.

View the catalogue record:

OM64-14 Canon David John Garland Papers 1911-1919 (Online content)
silhouette of soldier

Henderson, James Lindsay

A substantial collection of letters written by Lieutenant Lindsay Henderson, a grazier from Jimboomba, who enlisted in the 2nd Light Horse Regiment in June 1915. He served with distinction and was awarded the Military Cross after an offensive in the Jordan Valley in July 1818 in which he was severely wounded. He returned to his family in Queensland in 1919.

View the catalogue record:

TR 1835 Henderson family and jimboomba Station Papers 1834-1973 (Online content)
silhouette of soldier

Hobson, James Allan

A collection of material relating to the First World War, includes diary, letters, news clippings, newsletters. Letters and typed transcriptions 6 Oct 1915 - 15 Jan 1919 (World War I, including Gallipoli) to George Thomason from Private J.A. Hobson, who served in the 15th Battalion along with his cousin Eric. He was killed in action in August 1916 and is remembered at the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, France.

View the catalogue record:

M 1325 Price and Burnett Family Papers ca. 1902-1945

This poppy represents that this soldier did not return

George Henry Hoffman

Hoffman, George Henry

Canon Garland was senior army camp chaplain at Enoggera during the First World War. Included in his collection are letters to and from soldiers and their families. George Hoffman served with the 5th & 11th Light Horse Regiments in the Middle East from 1915-1918. He was wounded several times, including on the eve of the evacuation from Gallipoli. He was promoted to Lieutenant and received a Special Mention for his work during operations at Sharia, November 1917. He returned to Australia in 1919.

View the catalogue record:

OM64-14 Canon David John Garland Papers 1911-1919 (Online content)
Gilbert Leonard Holcombe

Holcomb, Gilbert Leonard

A collection that includes a diary recording Gilbert Holcomb's passage to the Middle East as a member of the AIF, and his subsequent duties as a stretcher bearer including service in the Dardanelles during the First World War. Private Holcomb, a carpenter from Gatton enlisted age 28 and was assigned to the 2nd Light Horse Field Ambulance Brigade. His diary records his duties on board the Hospital Ship Sicilia off Anzac Cove. He contracted rheumatic fever in August 1915 and returned to Australia in May 1916.

View the catalogue records:

OM79-64/12 Gilbert L Holcomb Diary (Online content) OM78-58/7 Gilbert Holcomb Papers 1910-1954

View the blog post:

Gilbert Holcomb, 2nd Light Horse Field Regiment
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