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state library of queensland
John Oxley Library

As Brave as a Lion

By Marg Powell, Specialist Library Technician, Metadata Services | 1 May 2016

Diary of Lieutenant Peter F M Stuart, 9th and 49th Infantry Battalions 1914-1916

"A splendid officer, so careful and thoughtful of his men, and as brave as a lion"

The State Library of Queensland holds a photocopied diary, which Stuart began while convalescing, after being wounded on that same day, at Anzac Beach.

Jack Atherton, 9th Battalion

Norman and Fred Fox, 9th Battalion

Norman and Fred Fox, 9th Battalion

Stuart's brother Captain Gerald Stuart, (later Lieutenant Colonel, DSO) was a Medical Officer with the 2nd & 3rd Light Horse Field Ambulances in Egypt. The two brothers were eventually reunited in Egypt in January 1916.

AWM:B00801 : 3rd LH Field Ambulance Brigade, in front Lieutenant Colonel G E M Stuart DSO CO

Stuart was assigned 2nd Lieutenant in the 49th Battalion in May 1916 and joined his unit in France. Within weeks he attended an Officers School of Instruction aiding his promotion to Lieutenant in July 1916.

Stuart was killed at the battle of Mouquet Farm near Pozieres on 4 September 1916, almost 2 years to the day from when he enlisted. He was shot through the head by a sniper whilst leading a bombing attack. His name is located at Villers-Bretonneux Memorial France.

The Stuart family first heard the news of Peter's death in a cable from Peter's mate Fred Fox. Naturally the family were in a state of disbelief -

"Received cable saying first lieutenant peter stuart fortyninth battalion killed fourth any possibility of mistake"

Roll of Honour, Australian War Memorial

The Morning Bulletin of 18 November 1916 published the following, by Mrs Annie Wheeler in London -

"I have spoken to some of his men at Wandsworth, and they all say he was a splendid officer, so careful and thoughtful of his men, and as brave as a lion. Peter's old friends here are all very grieved."

Many thanks to our QANZAC Volunteer Judy Gilloway, for her dedication to this project. The diary has now been transcribed and will be available via the Library's catalogue.

Further Reading:

Marg Powell


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