Letter - 'Did' to Mr A Galbraith, World War I, 16 Jul 1916 Reg. No: ST 041202
- Letter written by 'Did' to Mr Galbraith, telling him how his son Sapper Alfred Galbraith had been killed by an exploding shell the previous night. The letter is addressed ' Dear Friend' and signed 'Did' and an unclear surname, but is almost certainly is Driver Clarence McArthur Fraser (AKA 'Clarrie'), a friend of Alf's from Essendon.
'Did' writes: 'he was attached to a brigade section of our company, and consequently was stationed nearer the trenches than myself. The fatality occurred last night about eight o'clock, as he and three others were moving from one dugout to another; one shell passed over their heads and they took no notice, but the next minute a bigger one exploded right beside them; two escaped injury, one named Johnson was killed outright, and poor old Alf lived but a few minutes.' 'Did' writes that he was told this account by an eyewitness, and stresses that Alfred 'died as a soldier and a hero and I am sure that you are more proud of him now, than if he had stayed a slacker at home.'
Born in Maryborough, Sapper Alfred George Finlay Galbraith was the son of Alfred and Amy C. Galbraith, of W.R. Institute, Flinders Street, Station Buildings, Melbourne. He trained as electrical engineer and enlisted in the Australian Army at the age of 20, in July 1915. His father gave written permission for him to join 'the Military Forces to serve the Empire abroad' (his mother had already died).
Galbraith served in the 5th Division Signalling Company, Australian Engineers, AIF, embarking from Melbourne on 23 November 1915 on the 'Ceramic'. He went to Egypt for further training, then was shipped to France, disembarking 27 June 1916 at Marseilles. Less than three weeks later, on 15 July, he received a wound in the thigh and a 'penetrating wound in the neck'. He died the same day at the 8th Australian Field Ambulance. He is buried at 254 Sailly-Sur-La-Lys Canadian Cemetery, France.
After he was killed in action, Sapper Galbraith's other personal effects to his next-of-kin, his father Alfred Galbraith. Included in the packet were a bible, two wallets, letters, photographs, two diaries, a pipe in a case, a cigarette holder, a tie clip, a steel mirror and six coins.
- Two-page letter, hand-written in purple pencil on lined paper. Paper is now yellowed, stained, deeply creased, crumpled and torn at folds.
- Acquisition Information:
- Donation & Subsequent Transfer from Mrs M. Jamieson, 1985
|Tagged with:||australian army, australian military forces, death mourning, letters, military memorabilia, wars conflicts, world war i 1914-1918|
|Themes this item is part of:||Sapper Alfred Galbraith, AIF (1895-1916), Public Life & Institutions Collection|
|Primary Classification:||MILITARY HISTORY|
|Inscriptions:||Hand-written in pencil: 'Somewhere in France / 16/7/16 / Dear Friend / I have no doubt that long before / this letter reaches you, you will have heard from the authorities...' [extensive text follows].|
|Author (Probable):||Mr Clarence Fraser, Flanders, France, 21 Dec 1916
|Addressed To:||Mr Alfred Galbraith, Essendon, Victoria, Australia, 16 Jul 1915|
|Person Named:||Alfred Galbraith, 16 Jul 1915|
|Organisation Named:||2nd Division, Australian Army, 16 Jul 1915|
|Organisation Named:||5th Division, Australian Army, 16 Jul 1915|