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

I – R

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.


Benjamin Ingham

Ingham, William and Benjamin

Letters, postcards, and a diary which belonged to Toowoomba brothers William & Benjamin Ingham. William age 21 served with the 9th & 49th Infantry Battalions, and died of wounds received in France, February 1917. Benjamin age 18 served with the 47th Infantry Battalion in France. He was repatriated home and discharged medically unfit [shell shock] in May 1917.

View the catalogue record:

29901 William and benjamin Ingham papers 1915-1921 (Online content)
silhouette of soldier

Inglis, Eric

An audio tape recording of an interview with Eric Inglis. It contains reminiscences of his war experiences and life on the land. Private Inglis joined the 11th Light Horse Regiment aged 19 and served in the Middle East during the First World War. After the war, he settled at 'Inkerman' on the Barcoo River.

View the catalogue record:

OH2 Eric Inglis Oral History Recording (Online content)
Benjamin Ingham

Irving, William Howe

Letters written chiefly by Lance Corporal William Howe Irving, Imperial Camel Corps, to Merna Gillies during the First World War. Irving provides accounts of his service in Egypt and Palestine, he was killed in action at Palestine on 6 November 1917. Includes two letters from xxxx, written from Egypt and Palestine.

View the catalogue record:

M 674 Merna Gillies Papers 1916 -1918 (Online content)
Glen Kennedy

Kennedy, Colin and Glen

Three Kennedy brothers served in the First World War – Colin and Glen with the AIF and Kenneth with the United States Air Service. The collection consists of letters, photographs, and postcards exchanged between members of the Kennedy family. Glen Kennedy [pictured] enlisted in 1915 as part of the 9th Infantry Battalion, and later served in France with the 49th. Colin Kennedy enlisted in 1918, aged 19 and served as a driver in France for the 41st Battalion Motor Transport Services.

View the catalogue record:

OM90-46 Kennedy Family Papers 1907-1926
Constance Keys

Keys, Constance Mabel

Sister Constance Keys from Bundaberg served with the Australian Army Nursing Service from 1914-1919 and cared for the wounded from Gallipoli as well as in England, France and Flanders. There are two collections: a recording with Margaret Thorsborne, daughter of Constance Keys, and the other contains letters, photographs, diaries and ephemera that relate to Sister Kety' service with the AANS.

View the catalogue record:

29335 Q ANZAC 100 Digital Stories 2013 (Online content)
30674 Constance Mabel Keys Collection [new accession]
Frederick William Klingner

Klingner, Frederick William

Copied letter home from Frederick William Klingner, a prisoner of war in Germany, April 1918. Private Frederick Klingner, from Mackay, served in the 4th Pioneer Battalion and embarked from Brisbane on the 21st October 1916 on the HMAT Boonah A36. He was reported missing in April 1918 and listed as a prisoner of war in Germany. He was repatriated to England, and then Australia in March 1919.

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Letter home from Frederick William Klinger a prisoner of war in Germany, April 1918
silhouette of soldier

Lethbridge, Harold Octavius

A significant collection of letters and photographs relating the service of Captain [Dr] Harold Lethbridge who served as Medical Officer for the 6th Australian Field Ambulance and the 2nd Australian General Hospital in France during the First World War. He was awarded the M.B.E. in November 1918 for his services.

View the catalogue record:

OM84-16 Lethbridge Family Papers
silhouette of soldier

Levine, Michael

Two letters written by Private Michael Levine, 15th Infantry Battalion, C Company, from Gallipoli to his sister Mary Cutler. Private Levine a shearer from Toowoomba, was killed in action on 29 May 1915 and is buried at Shrapnel Valley Cemetery, Gallipoli

View the catalogue record:

2971 Michael Levine Correspondence

This poppy represents that this soldier did not return

silhouette of soldier

MacDonald Family Collection

Letters, photographs, postcards, a diary, relating to David Edwin Wasley, 5th Light Horse Regiment; Gunner Herbert Douglas Mackay, 12th Field Artillery Brigade; and George Livingston Macquarie (Corrie) Macdonald, 11th Light Horse Regiment, and their service during the First World War.

View the catalogue record:

29780 MacDonald Family Collection
silhouette of soldier

Mackay, Keith Hope

Letters from Lieutenant Keith Mackay to his brother Jack from 1916-1919. Lieutenant Mackay, age 21 enlisted in January 1916 and served with the 15th Infantry Battalion in France, returning to Australia in July 1919.

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M 1587 Frank Armstrong and Armstrong Family Papers
Herbert Thomas Moffitt Mallyon

Mallyon, Herbert Thomas Moffitt

Herbert Mallyon from Springsure, enlisted on 26 August 1915 aged 21. He served with 15th Field Ambulance, Army Medical Corps, mainly in France and Belgium. His papers consist of diaries, photographs and postcards kept by Mallyon who died of wounds on 29 September 1917 and is buried in Menin Road South Military Cemetery, Ypres.

View the catalogue record:

M 767 Herbert Thomas Moffitt Mallyon Papers ca. 1915 - ca. 1920 (Online content)

View the blog post:

M 767 Herbert Thomas Moffitt Mallyon Papers

This poppy represents that this soldier did not return

Alexander Hammett Marks

Marks, Alexander Hammett

Includes the correspondence of Colonel Alexander Hammett Marks, CBE, DSO, who served as a Regimental Medical Officer to the 3rd Field Artillery who fought at Gallipoli. The letters to his family describe daily events and provide great detail of the withdrawal from Gallipoli. He later served in France as Director of Medical Services with the 4th Division, commanded the 2nd Australian Field Ambulance, and the 1st Australian Casualty Clearing Station.

View the catalogue record:

27331 Marks Family Collection 1789-2004 (Online content)

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Marks Family Papers
Edwin McArthur

McArthur, Edwin Vivian

Copy of typescript of Edwin McArthur's diary from the time he left Brisbane on 22 January 1917 to the last entry in the diary on 29 September 1918. Private McArthur enlisted in the AIF aged 24 in October 1916 and served with the 3rd Pioneer Battalion in France. He returned to Australia in 1919, and later farmed in Lacey's Creek, Dayboro with his wife Elsie.

View the catalogue record:

M 1563 Edwin McArthur Diary 1917-1918 (Online content)
Ella Clow McLean

McLean, Ella Clow

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, chaplains, as well as Army Nurse Ella McLean who wrote about her experiences. Sister McLean, born in Roma enlisted in the Australian Army Nursing Service in September 1915. She was serving at the 34th Welsh General Hospital, Deolali, India, when she wrote to Canon Garland. Her younger brother served with the 5th Light Horse Regiment, 2nd Brigade in Gallipoli.

View the catalogue record:

OM64-14 Canon David John Garland Papers 1911-1919

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Queensland Nurses – Ella McLean
Jane McLennan

McLennan, Jane

Jane McLennan trained as a nurse in Bundaberg General Hospital and volunteered for service abroad in June 1917. She served in the British General Hospital at Hortiach near Salonika until she was invalided back to Australia in 1918. Her collection includes a diary in the form of a journal with photographs, as well as her red cape and insignia.

View the catalogue record:

29666 Jane McLennan Collection 1917-1930 (Online content)

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Tentmakers of Cairo

John Bain Moncrieff

Moncrieff, John Bain

This collection of papers from Amy Lee Moncrieff includes correspondence, clippings, photographs, medals etc. related to her brother John Bain Moncrieff who enlisted in September 1914 and served with the 5th Light Horse Regiment and 13th Infantry Brigade. He died of wounds received at Mouquet Farm, 3 September 1916 and is remembered at Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, France.

View the catalogue record:

R98 Moncrieff and Jenkins Family Papers

View the blog post:

John Bain Moncrieff Papers

This poppy represents that this soldier did not return

silhouette of soldier

Moore, Horton Percy

Included in the collection of Dr George William Macartney is a letter written by Lieutenant Horton Percy Moore, to a Miss MacGregor. Moore served with the 10th Light Horse Regiment, and the 3rd Machine Gun Company in the Middle East. He describes the actions of his unit in Palestine and historical sites they pass through during this time. Moore returned to Australia to marry his late Captains sister Staff Nurse Shirley Nicolas, who also served in Egypt during the First World War.

View the catalogue record:

OM75-60 Macartney Family Papers
silhouette of soldier

Morey, Fred Edmund McKenzie

Included in this family collection is a diary, postcards and memorabilia that relate to Frederick Morey's service during the First World War. Fred Edmund McKenzie Morey enlisted aged 22, in January 1916 and served with the 5th Light Horse Regiment in the Middle East.

View the catalogue record:

M 1137 Palmes Family Papers 1847-1960
Joseph Kevin Murphy

Murphy, Joseph Kevin

The papers of J. Kevin Murphy consist of postcards and letters sent during the First World War, medals awarded to Captain Murphy and a cloth menu for a dinner given by Major General Owen, 1889. Initially Joseph Murphy served with the 9th Light Horse Brigade on Gallipoli, then with 26th Battalion in France. He was Mentioned in Despatches in 1917, for "distinguished and gallant service and devotion in the field", and awarded the Military Cross in 1918.

View the catalogue record:

OM79-42 J. Kevin Murphy and Lawrence Murphy Papers 1883-1928 (Online content)

View the blog post:

Captain Murphy, 26th Infantry Battalion
Joseph Kevin Murphy

Murray, James Nicolas

This collection includes a 1915 diary and other papers relating to Private James Nicolas’s WWI service with the 25th Infantry Battalion, including his time in Egypt and Gallipoli. Private Murray was invalided home in March 1916 after suffering hearing loss. He returned to Queensland to continue his employment as a surveyor.

View the catalogue record:

29924 James Nicholas Murray Papers (Online content)

View the blog post:

James Nicholas Murray Papers
Cedric Roy North

North, Cedric Roy

Copy of an original diary by Private Cedric North, recording his daily movements, and the action encountered. Cedric North enlisted aged 21 in September 1915 and served with the 25th Battalion. Two other North brothers served during the First World War, Francis William and Roger Gilford. Both Cedric and Roger were killed while serving in France.

View the catalogue record:

OM70-09 Cedric Roy North Diary 1917-1918 (Online content)

View the blog post:

Unlocking diaries

This poppy represents that this soldier did not return

Charles O'Shea

O'Shea, Charles and Timothy

Letters and postcards relating to the service of Gunner Charles and Corporal Timothy O'Shea during the First World War. Timothy O’Shea served with the 7th & 12th Field Ambulances and  later the Army Pay Corps in London. Charles O'Shea [pictured] served in France and was taken prisoner in 1918. He was repatriated to England in January 1919 and returned to Australia in April 1919.

View the catalogue record:

29834 O'Shea Family Collection (Online content)

View the blog post:

O’Shea Family Collection
Kate Evans

Osborn, John Edward Norman

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. Rev J.E.N. Osborn from Moorooka, enlisted in the in August 1916. He was attached to several units in England and France, including the 9th Infantry Brigade, 35th Battalion and was awarded the Military Cross in 1918 for distinguished service in the field at Messines. He later served in Australia and in New Guinea during the Second World War.

View the catalogue record:

OM64-14 Canon David John Garland Papers 1911-1919
Alexander Patterson

Patterson, Alexander and James

More than 150 letters and postcards from twin brothers Alexander and James Patterson who enlisted together in May 1915. Primarily written to their parents, they describe their service in Gallipoli and France with the 15th Battalion. James was wounded on 9th August 1916 and evacuated to England; Alexander was killed in action three weeks later near Mouquet Farm, Pozieres. Alexander was awarded the Military Medal for 'conspicuous bravery in the field'. He is remembered at the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial. Three other Patterson brothers also served – Alan McKenzie, George Stanley and Raymond Mitchell. James returned home minus a forefinger, amputated after shrapnel wound.

View the catalogue record:

29420 Alexander and James Patterson Correspondence 1915-1919 (Online content)

View the blog post:

Brothers at war [Alexander & James Patterson]

This poppy represents that one of these soldiers did not return

silhouette of soldier

Payne, Tom William

Canon Garland was senior army camp chaplain at Enoggera during the First World War. Included in his collection are letters to and from nurses, chaplains, soldiers and their families, who wrote about their experiences. Lieut. Tom Payne, an accountant from Mt Morgan served with the 26th and 25th Infantry Battalions. He was wounded with mustard gas and suffered from 'shell-shock', but survived to return to Australian in 1919.

View the catalogue record:

OM71-51 Canon David John Garland Papers 1915-1918 (online content)
Sydney Edward Perkins

Perkins, Sydney Edward

Miscellaneous photographs of the Glenville Massy family and related historical material. Included are items relating to Captain Sydney Edward Perkins [pictured] from Townsville, who served with 49th Infantry Battalion, including postcards, correspondence, field message books and news clippings.

View the catalogue record:

TR 2053 Glenville Massey Family Papers
silhouette of soldier

Poulton, James William

Collection of two war diaries written by James William Poulton. Includes a photocopy of transcribed diaries, photographs and biographical notes. James Poulton was an attendant at the Ipswich Mental Hospital when he enlisted, age 24 and served with the 13th Field Ambulance Brigade in France. He safely returned to Australia in 1919.

View the catalogue record:

2981 James William Poulton Diaries 1916-1919
Arthur William Beach

Price and Burnett Family Papers ca. 1902-1945

A collection that includes postcards, letters and typed transcriptions relating to the First World War, including Gallipoli, written by family members and friends who served: Arthur William Beach [pictured], 2nd Field Artillery Brigade; Private James Allan Hobson, 15th Infantry Battalion [KIA]; and a Captain from the 10th Field Artillery Brigade.

View the catalogue record:

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

Proctor, Roy Douglas

Letters and postcards received by Ruby Proctor of Kelvin Grove from her brother Roy, while he was on active service in Egypt and France during the First World War. Included are photographs and Next of Kin memorial medal. Sergeant Proctor served with 15th Infantry Battalion in Gallipoli and France where he died in 1916, just a few months after being awarded the Military Medal for conspicuous bravery. He is buried in the Guards Cemetery, Lesboufs, Somme.

View the catalogue record:

3347: Roy Proctor Papers 1915-1917 (Online content)

View the blog post:

Lest We Forget – Sgt. Roy D. Proctor MM

This poppy represents that this soldier did not return

Albert James Rooks

Rooks, Albert James (Jim)

Albert James Rooks, (Jim), was the eldest son of John and Emma Rooks (nee Marks) of Mt. Pleasant, Dalby. His collection of photographs and postcards depict his time serving in England with the 1st Australian Field Ambulance. It includes postcards written by Jim to his wife Janet. He was an ambulance driver with the 1st Australian General Hospital, rising to the rank of Acting Corporal, 1st Australian Field Ambulance (1st Divisional Supply Column).

View the catalogue record:

29435 Albert James Rooks Photograph Albums 1916-1918
John Ryan

Ryan, George and John

This collection includes images of family members who served during the First World War. George Frederick Ryan was the fifth soldier son of Mr and Mrs W. Ryan of Clifton. He enlisted in the AIF in November 1915 aged 18. He served with the 25th Infantry Battalion in France and died soon after his return. 'Black Jack' John Joseph Ryan enlisted in September 1914. He served with the 15th Battalion and died of wounds he received on Gallipoli, 1 April 1915, aged 22 years. John is buried in the Chatbury Cemetery, Egypt.

View the catalogue record:

6960 Ryan Family Photographs 1910-1950 (Online content)
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