Sir William Glasgow and Lady Glasgow Correspondence Digitised@SLQ
The John Oxley Library is thrilled to announce that the World War I correspondence of Sir Thomas William Glasgow has been digitised and is now live on our catalogue (Accession 29571). This is arguably the most comprehensive and significant World War I collection which we hold, consisting of the personal correspondence, photographs, ephemera, maps and other items relating to Major General Glasgow, the highest ranking Queenslander to serve during the war.
Most of the letters, which span the period 1914 to 1919, were written to his wife, Annie Isabell (Belle) Glasgow, who followed him from their home on Sanders Station in Central Queensland to settle in London for the duration of the war. The couple's two young daughters, Joan and Beth, were left behind to be cared for by relatives and did not see either of their parents again until mid 1919.
Joan (left) and Beth Glasgow, item 695. The photograph was enclosed in a letter from Belle to Glasgow dated 14 June 1918. He writes "The photos of the youngsters were particularly good. The best I have seen of them. No doubt both look well and appear happy".
William Glasgow served at Gallipoli and on the Western Front rising to become the Commander of the 1st Australian Division. He was loved and revered by his men and his character, as displayed in these letters, makes it easy to understand why. Despite rising to such a high rank he had a genuine care for the troops under his command, a profound sense of humility, and a wry sense of humour.
In the following letter written to Belle on the 12th may 1918 he discusses the Battle of Villers-Bretonneux (item 655).
Other World War I items in the collection include photographs, maps, and ephemera such as menus, Christmas cards and postcards, as well as certificates, and publications. The collection also includes material relating to Glasgow's military service during the Boer War, his political career in the Australian Senate and as a minister in the federal government, and his tenure as Australia's first High Commissioner to Canada from 1939 until 1945.
The menu below (item 911) is for a dinner held on the 27th December 1918 at the 2nd Australian Infantry Brigade Headquarters. It is written in French and signed by the attendees, including T.W. Glasgow. On the reverse of the menu is an aerial military photograph of France.
This rich and diverse collection of correspondence provides a unique insight into the wartime experiences of one Queensland family, spanning the war zones of Gallipoli, the Middle East and the Western Front to the home-fronts of England and Australia. We are indeed fortunate that these wonderful letters were lovingly cared for by the family and then donated to the State Library of Queensland for everyone to share and appreciate.
The correspondence may be viewed at: http://hdl.handle.net/10462/eadarc/8316 The other World War I material in the Glasgow collection has also been digitised and will appear on our catalogue in due course.
Lynn Meyers, QANZAC100 Content Curator