James Poulton diaries

James William Poulton, 13th Australian Field Ambulance. Image courtesy Discovering Anzacs, National Archive of Australia.

James William Poulton was born in 1891, the eldest son of George James and Elizabeth Poulton (nee Hawkins). He was employed as a nurse at the Sandy Gallop Mental Hospital, Ipswich when he enlisted in the First AIF in January 1916.

He left behind his wife Eva and their 12 month old daughter when he embarked for overseas in December 1916. On his journey to England he served as one of the nursing staff on board, dealing with injury and illness, in particular meningitis and pneumonia.

Poulton trained for several months at the Australian Army Medical Corps Training Depot, Parkhouse before embarking for France in March 1917 where he was assigned to the 13th Field Ambulance as a Field Stretcher Bearer. The Field Ambulance were posted close behind the firing line to collect the wounded and bury the dead.

Poulton served in the Somme Valley between March 1917 and January 1919, providing support during operations in Bailleul, Amiens, Messines, Ypres, Villers-Bretonneux and Bapaume.

He returned to his family in May 1919 and rejoined the nursing staff at the Sandy Gallop Mental Hospital. James and Eva had two more children, James born in 1917 and George in 1921. George’s middle name being Ypres, the town where his own brother, George Henry Poulton died of wounds in 1917. James Poulton died in 1969 age 77.

Digitised as part of the QANZAC100 project, the diaries are now available online.

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Marg Powell, Specialist Library Technician, State Library of Queensland

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