Case Book 5 – Unsung Heroes

Various entries from the War Diaries of the Assistant Provost Marshal’s (APM’s), Egypt, England and France.

Gallant actions, but not on the battlefield.

Report to DAPM, Anzac Mounted Division, KANTARA, 8-4-1919:

At Cairo on the 8th, April, 1919 at about 1600, I was standing at the corner of Chareh Kamel and Charleh Boulac, when I noticed a disturbance between English troops and Egyptian troops. Firearms were brought into use by both parties and shots exchanged frequently. I came between [the] parties and in so doing noticed Cpl. JAMES, Australian Provost Corps, walk in with the same object in view, viz,- to quell the disturbance. We succeeded in pushing the English soldiers into the Esbekieh Gardens, and quietened things down to some extent. We both had to retire, wounded, I have since heard that Cpl. JAMES was wounded in the head, and that he had been admitted to hospital, I cannot state at what time he was wounded. I was wounded in the left buttock, and am now receiving medical treatment at Kasr-el-Nil Barracks. My presence in Cairo is due to the fact that I am on duty from the 2nd L.H. Brigade Hqrs., at present stationed at Damanhour.
(Sigd.) No.565 Chas. Seamark Sargt.
Australian Provost Corps.
Cairo , 8-4-19.

Trooper Sonny Hurstfield, from the 4th Light Horse Regiment was one of the twenty (?) Australians who lost their lives during the Egyptian Rebellion, Sonny was killed at Damanhour on 12 April 1919. Sonny Hurstfield had in fact spent most of the war serving with the Anzac Provost Corps in Egypt. Sonny had trained at Abbassia in April 1916 and had served as a MMP with the Mounted Divisions in Egypt, he had only transferred back to the 4th Light Horse in early July 1918.

Weekly (?) Report (? 1918 ) from APM, A.I.F. in U.K. and C.O., Australian Provost Corps, Lieut-Col John Williams.

GENERAL. On the 8th inst. No. 3640, Pte. SLUSHER, P.F., Australian Provost Corps, was responsible for stopping a pair of horses attached to a transport wagon which had bolted, the driver being thrown out and injured. Pte. Slusher showed great presence of mind in jumping on to the back of the wagon, climbing over the front and seizing the reigns and thus preventing further accident or injury which appeared to be eminent at the time.
This is the second occasion when this Military Policeman has distinguished himself in this direction. I therefore take the liberty of mentioning it.


NAA File of Ernest Poole:  Cable ready to pass details to mother of Ernest POOLE of his death.

No.1018. L/Cpl. POOLE E. Anzac Prov. Corps
A communication has been received on behalf of Mrs. Poole Renwick St, Drummoyne, Australia, regarding circumstances of death and burial of her son the above named soldier.
Records show L/Cpl. Poole to have died of accidental injuries on 14.6.18. An enquiry was held by coroner H.K. Pope at University Hospital, Highfield. Evidence was elicited to the effect that deceased was admitted to Hospital on 3.6.18 suffering from paralysis of the lower limbs and acute Bronchitis, contracted whilst trying to save a little French child from drowning.

After hearing the evidence the foreman of the jury when returning a verdict of accidental death, expressed on behalf of his brother jurors admiration for the gallant manner in which deceased had acted.
He was buried at Hollybrook Cemetery Southampton on 19.6.18 in grave No 29 (Section O.I.B.) consecrated ground. The usual wooden cross was erected bearing name and full regimental particulars.

May Mrs. Poole be advised accordingly, please.

A media report as prepared from the report offered by Coroner H.K.Pope;


The pathetic story of a soldier’s gallant attempt to rescue a little French child from drowning “Somewhere in France”, was told at an Inquest held at the University War Hospital, Highfield to-day by Mr. H.K. Pope (Borough Coroner). The deceased soldier was a L/Cpl. Ernest Poole, aged 21 in an Australian Regiment, and his home was at Sydney, N.S.W. Dr S. Dodd (?), ( Civil Medical Officer, att. To University War Hospital ) gave the details in his evidence. The deceased, he said, had seen three and a half years service in Gallipoli, Egypt and France.
Poole was admitted into the hospital on June 3rd, suffering from Paralysis, affecting his lower limbs, and acute bronchitis. From his statement it appeared that he was diving from a breakwater into shallow water, and fractured his back. With the modesty of a true hero not a word did he give for the reason of his dive, and had it not been for the official records, the report of his brave deed would have never been recorded. He died on the morning of the 14th inst., from fracture and dislocation of the spine, as a result of the accident.
The Foreman of the jury in returning the verdict of “Accidental death” expressed the Jury’s feelings of admiration for the gallant act.