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state library of queensland
John Oxley Library

Waiting to come home ...

By Marg Powell, Specialist Library Technician, Metadata Services | 9 November 2015

When we think of 11 November, we remember those who served and those who fell in conflicts all around the world.

For some, the armistice brokered in 1918, brought hope that they would soon be reunited with their families back home.

James Patterson wrote letters to his mother in Toowong, while he waited to be repatriated home, but there were thousands of men to be transported, so the wait continued for many months.

James and Alexander Patterson, 1915

“We have survived the ordeal at last, but it will be some time before things are properly settled.”
“They have been very methodical in their destruction, all bridges & practically every building of importance has been destroyed by mines.”

27488 Oakhill family memorabilia

Eventually the men were gathered at various camps in England, but a seamen’s strike held up many scheduled voyages.

James returned to Australia in March 1919, but without his twin brother. Alec had been killed during the fierce offensive at Mouquet Farm, Pozieres, in August 1916 aged just 19, he was later awarded the Military Medal for his conspicuous bravery. Alec is remembered at the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, France.

Further reading

Marg Powell
QANZAC 100 Content Technician
State Library of Queensland


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