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Sooner to be back at old Pialba

Sooner to be back at old Pialba

‘ … would sooner be … at old Pialba with the tent and fishing line … catching whiting.’

Cpl J. W. (‘Nip’) Hunter: I have been wounded and pretty badly at that. I have lost one kneecap and am shot in the legs. They are not doing too badly but the knee is very bad and is giving me gip. It will mean I have finished my fighting career, so I will be back in Australia next year and will not be sorry. I will be in bed for five months so I will have a rough time of it lying on my back all the time. I cannot shift either way.

The knee is pretty bad and it will be a fair time before it is well. They have got it just like an irrigation plant, tubes running all over the place. What a time I shall have of it, just nicely out of hospital for Christmas dinner in the old country, but I would sooner be back at old Pialba with the tent and fishing line out in the water catching whiting.
– M.C., Maryborough WB&B Historical Society, Letters from the Front Line.

Cpl Harry Aldridge: I had to get a crack some time or other, my luck could not go on for ever. I stopped the content of one of Fritz’s bombs last Sunday week, September 3, when we took an important position of his, including two lines of trenches. Our chaps had the jobs of taking the second line, at least a portion of it, and needless to say we took it, and held it.

The last three words mean everything, as the same position had been taken twice before but our chaps had to fall back owing to certain doings of the Germans, which made the place untenable. This time we set out to counteract those doings and we succeeded. However, that didn’t prevent them from dropping shells into us from the front, both sides and the back and it was the furthest advanced position of the line. German bombers tried to bomb us out of the second line and in trying to hang on I got my ‘quietus’.

We had no bombing team of ours for a while and a chap with a rifle has no hope against bombers working up a trench laterally, so we did the only thing left for us to do, and that was crawl out, and casualties were pretty heavy. It was my second go at the Somme and I was stiff enough to get knocked this time. Still, I could not expect to go on like that forever. Cpl Quinlan is in this same hospital and he came to see me. He has his left arm off near the shoulder, and may yet lose the other, so he’s settled for no more bowling or footy.

Another chap I met was Cpl ‘Nip’ Hunter. I lobbed in the next bed to him in a hospital. He got badly knocked about, having had no less than 50 pieces of bomb taken out and his right kneecap blown clean away.

I never heard anything of Chris Jensen after this last stunt. I know he went over all right but I never saw him after we had gone a few yards. Well, to tell you the truth, I never took any notice of anyone much, except those on either side of me, and they weren’t always the same, and the machine guns must have their toll.
– M.C., Maryborough WB&B Historical Society, Letters from the Front Line.