Friday, 19 April 2013

Ending a war

In April 1919, Australians were preparing for the first peace-time commemoration of Anzac Day. For many this would truly confirm the events of Armistice Day that had ended the War to End All Wars. But for some, the terrible war was far from over.

Our great grandmother Lucy COLEY must have felt mixed emotions when she signed for a package from Army Records Branch on 19 April of that year. It was another sharp reminder that it was just six months since her son, Charles Cephas COLEY, had fallen in the Battle for Mont St Quentin on the Somme. On the other hand, this promised to bring her "the effects of No 6421 Coley C.C." by which she would remember her cherished son.

Lucy was obviously a strong woman. The undeniable shock of finding military paraphernalia rather than his personal items sent her not to her bed, but to her writing desk. She dutifully acknowledged the delivery and enclosed the official receipt but then added the following plaintive postscript (spelled as she wrote it).

Could you please tell me if there is anything els belonging to this soldier comming to me, he had a good many things which he treasured & I would so like to have them for remembrance.

To the credit of the staff in Victoria Barracks, they responded promptly. On Anzac Day (which was not yet a public holiday) the Major in Charge of Base Records signed a reply indicating that another package had been located and would be despatched post haste.

On May 5, Lucy received the second parcel. This one contained "2 wallets, testament, notebook".

These simple items no doubt gave her greater comfort than either the medals forwarded in May 1921 or the Commemorative Scroll and King's Message that she was eventually to receive in December 1922.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...