Friday, April 17, 2015

Uncle Len.


The 1st part of this post is going no no interest to anyone who isn't in my immediate family or my 1st cousin so if that's not you just skip to the bottom for my scarf, flower and current affairs round up.
Remember my great great Uncle Len who was an Anzac who fought on the western front during WW1?
This is him with my Dad in 1946
Well the National Archives sent me his war records. I don't know who decided to make these documents available but I am so grateful, because I've discovered so much. Thank you to the person who made this possible.
Len had beautiful writing. Look at his signature when he signed up in Toowoomba in 1916:
I already knew that he was wounded in the field on 4 October 1917
The records don't say where he was when he was wounded, but he was in the 42nd Battalion that trained at Enoggera. They fought in the Battle of Broomseinde in Flanders on the 4th of October 1917. This is what is looked like the next day looking across no man's land to the German trenches:
Can you believe it? It's a miracle that anyone survived.
Len didn't get to a hospital until the the 6th of October 1917. That's a whole 48 hours. It beggars belief that he could have been lying in a trench in God knows what conditions with gunshot wounds to his head arm and leg. Aged 22. 
It was freezing cold on the morning of the 4th too- 15 degrees celsius. I looked it up:
I found the attack planning map. I'm going to Broomseinde one day. It's near Ypres. My cousin C's coming with me, because Len was her Dad's godfather.
This is what the place looked like on the 5th of October 1917:
He was taken on the 6th of October to a British military base hospital in Camiers. It took me ages to figure out the writing. Look:
This is it:
And this is the spot where the hospital was in Camiers in 2007:
I read a nurse's diary about the Camiers hospital and it was pretty dire. They didn't have antibiotics and there was so much death. 
I blew this photo up of Len and His wife E in about 1946 about 30 years after his Anzac experience. You can't really see his face in the original photo either because it's over exposed and a really tiny photo, like passport size.  I'm guessing that he met his wife in England when he was convalescing. She was English and after the war moved to Australia and married him. I remember going to see her in a nursing home at New Farm in the early 80s with my Grandparents. 
His leg was amputated on 24th October 1917 in a hospital in Davenport in England. Seeing the telegram to his dad makes me so sad.  The war records don't contain medical records, but I think he probably had gangrene. Poor thing.
He had a wooden leg. My Dad says he kept a flask of whiskey in it but I have no way of knowing whether this was true or not. He could also still feel his toes on his amputated leg and sometimes they felt itchy, but he could of course never scratch them which drove him crazy. So. Sad.
I knew his younger brother, my Great Great Uncle Maurie who was a lovely, kind person and an all round Good Bloke. My Dad says Len (who everyone called Nin) was exactly the same. 
I wonder what he'd make of all my interest in this now? My next project is going to be to figure out where Len's brother in law, my great great Uncle George fought. Apparently he was a good bloke too. This is George with my dad and his brothers in the early 50s. I love those November lilies and annuals in the background. Clearly my Grandma's handiwork. 
It is astounding what these people lived through.
Anyway, here are some cushions:
And a cheesecake I baked for my Mum
Here's a scarf. It's a flots du cheval pattern. So relieved to have my collapsing neck hidden.
Here's a rabbit that my nephew sent my son:
And in super sad news, it's been all over the media today that William Tyrrel who disappeared in Kendall in NSW last year in September may have been abducted by a pedophile ring.
Sickening in the extreme.
Someone, somewhere knows where this little boy is.
Poor Little Angel.
xxxx

Edited to add- because Uncle Len was clearly a deadset legend and all round good bloke, I've added him to my side bar, right up the top where he belongs. He is the blog's Official ANZAC.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

My Winter Sport.

In exciting news, the temperature dropped to an icy cold 27 degrees celsius so it seemed appropriate to whip out my crochet.
It's nice to have a hobby. Or a winter sport.
Said yes to a Spinnakers scarf. Seemed wrong not to.
 Marvelled at my old school retro tastic double delight rose. I'd love to grow those ruffly multi petalled David Austin roses but frankly, I've never had any luck with them, so hybrid teas it is. You get what you get and you don't get upset and all.
 Popped into the Paddington Deli at the Antique Market for breakfast which was 11/10
 Kids eat free between 7 and 9 am if you buy an adult meal! Who knew?
I crocheted my way through Game of Thrones and Mad Men yesterday.
 Tyrion had some of the best lines. No surprises there.
 And Old Megan said some mean things to Don and called him old and sloppy, but he took it on the chin. 
 Because I garden in the Old Testament, we've built a kind of cage thing over the fledgling baby herbs. If a possum eats through the wire, I'll cry.
 Went to dinner on the weekend at a friend's home. Their pool area was resort-tastic. Look:
And when it comes to pre dinner snacks, they wouldn't be caught dead under catering.
Which suited me.
 This prawn and melon salad was 11/10. Seriously.  
Wish I had some now.
Turns out most of you think Old Kate's having a girl and that the names Diana, Catherine, Elizabeth and Carole will feature. 
Stay sane.
xxx

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