Australian DIGGER stories on-line

The Families and Friends of the First AIF has brought its vast collection of Australian DIGGER stories on-line for its Members.

First Issue 2002  and 2003

All 69 editions of DIGGER published from October 2002 are now available for reading on-line or downloading to FFFAIF Members. Comprising more than 3,750 pages of Australian DIGGER stories, the focus is on the stories of individual soldiers, the majority of which were published for the first time in DIGGER and provided by FFFAIF members.


DIGGER_62_Mar18  DIGGER_63_Jun18  DIGGER_64_Sep18  DIGGER_65_Dec18

By browsing the “wall” of cover images under the DIGGER drop down menu, individual issues may be selected and the Table of Contents viewed.
To assist in locating stories, the Tables of Contents have been consolidated and are able to be searched using the web-site Search feature or can be downloaded and searched.
Researchers and those interested in soldier stories of the Great War will be able to search for individual soldiers, places and battles.

FFFAIF Members are able to access the full back catalogue of Australian DIGGER stories on-line, free of charge.
Non-members have the opportunity to purchase casual copies of DIGGER or apply for FFFAIF Membership to gain access to the pass-word protected Members-only area of the website. To assist in locating references to individual soldiers and their units, comprehensive indexes are available in the Members Area.

FFFAIF Members and the DIGGER team, in the back catalogue of Australian DIGGER stories on-line, have built a “national resource”.  There are stories relating to thousands of members of the First AIF, now available on-line and free of charge to Members. There are many stories yet to be told and Members and other researchers are invited to submit stories for publication to

Acknowledgements and credits for the DIGGER Team:

The Contributors, mostly FFFAIF members, who have told or shared their stories or items of interest.
FFFAIF Secretary Graeme Hosken has edited issues 9-65. Inaugural President Craig Laffin edited issues 1-8.
Past President Russell Curley has been the proof-reader for all issues and compiled the Index for issues 1-24. Geoff Lewis has compiled the Indexes for issues 25-65. Kelly Henderson has developed the consolidated index.
Aaron and the team at the Colour Copy Shop at Dubbo have printed issues 22 to 65. Former Membership Secretary Alan Kitchen printed earlier issues. Past Committee Member Trevor Munro has assisted in packaging and distribution of DIGGER.
FFFAIF’s former Web-Manager Chris Bartolo set up many of the web postings for issues 1-49 and Past President Russell Curley and President Jim Munro have extended these.

Posted in DIGGER Magazine, Diggers of First AIF, Top Posts | Comments Off on Australian DIGGER stories on-line


The impact of the Great War, Sue Tongue 3-4
‘Overheard on a train’, anon. reporter, ‘Burnie Advocate’, 1931 4
Report on 2018 John Laffin Memorial Lecture Day, Paul Simadas 5-6
1917 letter: Pte 3774 Fred Chin, 19th Bn, found on Trove 6
2nd Lieut Jacques d’Alpuget, 54th Bn, Matt Smith 7-11
Memories of Amiens in 1916,
‘AIF’ (anon. Digger), found on Trove 11
1916 letter: Pte 433 Joseph Smith, 5th MG Bn, found on Trove 12-13
1917 letter: WOI George Whitehead, AAMC, found on Trove 13
Battle of the Lys Centenary at Merris, John Payne 14
Boy soldier stowaways, contrib. by Bill Durrant 15-16
1918 letter: Pte 3762 Bert Bishop, 55th Bn, contrib. by Pam Goesch 16
Memoirs of Pte 2369 Verdi Schwinghammer, 42nd Bn (Part 3), edited by Graeme Hosken 17-21
Pte 1926 Clarence Gordon, 54th/1st Bns, contrib. by Lesley Abrahams 22-24
How soldiers go to bed: (probably) Dvr 1620 James Hodson, contrib. by Bill Durrant 24
Pte 2653 Harold Edwards, 20th Bn, Val McKenzie 25-26
1917 letters: Pte 3312 Eric Millard, 3rd Bn, found on Trove 26
‘Murphy of Anzac’: Simpson’s donkeys, by ‘Ex-Captain’, contrib. by Bill Durrant 27-29
Armistice Day memories, (probably) Pte 2871 Harold Preston, found on Trove 29
Account of trench raid, Sgt 2682 Albert Green, 9th Bn, and AWM artefacts, found on Trove 30-33
Spr 868 Alec Gollan, 19th Bn/5th FCE, Trevor Munro 34-35
‘I got you those’, ‘Hplar’ (unknown Digger) in ‘Smith’s Weekly’, found on Trove 35
‘Sandbags’: Lieut RSM Sturges, British Army, contrib. by Bill Durrant 36-37
‘Stiffness’, ‘Franzac’ (unknown. Digger) in ‘Smith’s Weekly’ 37
How the Diggers in France reacted to the Armistice, Graeme Hosken 38-41
When did Australia receive news of the Armistice? Graeme Hosken 42-44
Armistice Day sadness for Cumnock family, Val McKenzie 45
Captain Ken Millar, 2nd Bn, and the Armistice, contrib. by Patric Millar 46
For Valour: Australian VC recipients 1918 (Part 5), 18 Sep to 5 Oct, Geoff Lewis 47-56
Ned’s nephew: Pte 2002B Fred Foster, 17th Bn, David Creenaune & Graeme Hosken 57-60
‘Some gargle’, ‘Musha’ (unknown Digger) in ‘Smith’s Weekly’, found on Trove 60
The men from Myrrhee: a town’s pictorial honour roll, Evan Evans 61-73
The Armistice: memories and hopes, Gnr 3289 Edwin Davidson, 13th FAB, found on Trove 73
November 11, 1918: The Armistice in Syria, Captain Hector Dinning, AASC/WRS 74
Regular features
Trench Talk and Contact/Membership details 2
Etched in Stone, Russell Curley and Jim Corkery 75

Posted in DIGGER Magazine | Comments Off on DIGGER 65


Montbrehain: the AIF’s last battle of the war, Evan Evans 3-8
Ptes 6509 Huntsman, 6987 Eacott, 7th Bn, and 6831 Neilson, 8th Bn, Andrew Pittaway 9-10
SALIENT: Contemporary artists at the Western Front (exhibition), Compiled by Jill Hayes 11-12
The legacy of Pte 6020 Douglas Grant, 13th Bn, John Ramsland 13-23
Cpl Vine’s grave at Camden, found on Trove 23
Stories of SA brothers in the AIF, Judith Green 24-28
Postcard from opening of Australian National Memorial 1938, Greg Knight 28
Memoirs of Pte 2369 Verdi Schwinghammer, 42nd Bn (Part 2), edited by Graeme Hosken 29-33
Captain David Martin MC, 12th MG Company (4th MG Bn), Greg O’Reilly 34-41
Sgt 191 Albert Tuck, 4th Bn, and the floating cross, Bill Durrant 42-43
Bill’s choice: gunner’s bravery at Cape Helles, found on Trove 43
Cpl 372 Charles Lane and Private 648 Reinhold Ruschpler, 4th MG Bn, Graeme Hosken 44-49
Ptes 2736 Alexander Levings and 2737 Norman Levings, 7th Bn, Stephen Brooks 50-51
Soldiers’ memories: Misplaced kindness; Hard luck Digger; Duckboards, found on Trove 51
Ptes 3639 V Gardner, 54th Bn, & 3160 CC Wheeler, 4th Bn, Kerry Patman & Graeme Hosken 52-59
Soldiers’ accounts of Hamel and Amiens 1918, found on Trove 60-62
For Valour: Australian VC recipients 1918 (Part 4: 31 Aug – 12 Sept), Geoff Lewis 63-73
Pte 1881 Samuel Baguley, 17th Bn, Graeme Hosken 74
Regular features
Trench Talk and Contact/Membership details 2
Etched in Stone, Russell Curley and Jim Corkery 75

Posted in DIGGER Magazine | Comments Off on DIGGER 64


Captain Alick Burgess, 11th Bn, Graeme Hosken with Ross Burgess 3-16
Post-traumatic stress disorders and shell-shock in WWI, Jessica Bourke, JLMHP recipient 17-20
Book release: ‘The Little Stowaway’, Vicki Bennett 21-22
Soldier’s letter: Pte (later Lieut) 927 Vincent Callen, 34th Bn, contrib. by Bill Durrant 23-24
Battle of Hamel, Pte Percy 2183 Koosachi [served as Kookoosachi], 13th Bn 24
2nd Lieut Hugh Massie, 22nd Bn, Contrib. by Darryl Massie 25-26
Sgt 3509 George Miller DCM, MM, 26th Bn, Val McKenzie 27-29
Spr 3988 Patrick Minogue, 2nd ATC, Graeme Hosken 30-32
Extracts from 29th Bn unit diary for 28/29 July, 1918, Lieut Col J McArthur 32
Letter: Lieut Harold Neumann (HP Nyman), 44th Bn, contrib. by Sandra Playle 33
The devoted Anzac: Pte 1146 Tasman Millington, 26th Bn, contrib. by Charles Davis 34-37
The 9th Brigade at Villers-Bretonneux, 4 April, 1918, contrib. by Bill Durrant 38
Tpr 2947 Wilfred Steele, 3rd LHR, contrib. by Bill Durrant 39
Soldier’s letter 1917: Pte 6319 Thomas Dobson, 22nd Bn, found on Trove 39
Memoirs of Pte 2639 Verdi Schwinghammer, 42nd Bn (Part 1), edited by Graeme Hosken 40-47
Member profile: Danielle Roubroeks, photographer, Belgium, Danielle with Geoff Lewis 48
Pte 2594 Bertie Knight, 7th Bn, Stephen Brooks 49
‘A war-wrecked generation’, Nathaniel Sgambellone, JLMHP recipient 50-54
‘The Drink Evil’, unknown WA soldier, found on Trove 54
For Valour: Australian VC recipients 1918 (Part 3: August), Geoff Lewis 55-64
Battle of Chuignes – Monster Gun captured, Lieut Gen Sir John Monash, found on Trove 64
Rededication of City of Liverpool Cenotaph, Sue Tongue 65
Letter: Spr 522 Jack Fahey, 2nd ATC, found on Trove 66-67
The Americans at Hamel, found on Trove 67
Soldiers’ letters from 1918, found on Trove 68
After the war – ‘the Amiens Three’, contrib. by Charles Davis 69-73
Diggers who want work, found on Trove 73
Abstract: Memorialisation of Queanbeyan’s service history, Jodi Adams, JLMHP recipient 74
Regular features
Trench Talk and Contact/Membership details 2
Etched in Stone, Russell Curley and Jim Corkery 75

Posted in DIGGER Magazine | Comments Off on DIGGER 63


Lieut Francis William Goodwin MC, 8th Bn, Evan Evans and Heather Armstrong 3-23
Medical diagram found in service record of Lieut AO Duprez, 3rd Bn, Graeme Hosken 23
Billeting of 26th Bn in Belgium after the Armistice, Claire Dujardin and Alison McCallum 24-25
Search for Belgian man’s Aussie great-grandfather, Claire Dujardin 25-26
Cpl 746 John Tomlinson, 1st LHR/Provost Corps, Trevor Munro 27-29
Poem: ‘The soldier’s prayer’, found by Heather (Frev) Ford on Trove 29
Gallipoli memoirs: Pte 175 James Lewis, 23rd Bn, found on Trove 30-31
Pte 1746 David Gow, 45th Bn, Val McKenzie 32-37
Colour spread: Photos relating to the AIF in France 1918, Various contributors 38-39
Voices of Birralee: Australia’s Centenary Choir, Julie Christiansen OAM, with Geoff Lewis 40
Gallipoli Memoirs: Pte 771 Garnet Rundle, 12th Bn, found on Trove 41-44
Lieut Horace Gilchrist, 7th LHR, Stephen Brooks 45
Battlefield burial of Thomas, Russell, McGannon and Sims, 23rd Bn, Graeme Hosken 46-55
Lieut William Salvatori, 34th Bn: the man who lost his memory, Bill Durrant 56
Pte 2721 Robert Tibbs, 2nd Bn, remembered at Blayney, contrib. by Tony Nixon 57-58
Letter from 1917: Pte 876 Leslie Carter, 8th/46th Bns, found on Trove 58
The war after the war, Tina Horsfall, John Laffin History Prize recipient, Deakin University 59-62
Volunteers sought to help with Kyoomba RSL Project, Graeme Hosken and Deb Wheeler 62
Battle of Lys Centenary at Merris and Vieux Berquin, April 2018, John Payne 63-65
For Valour: Australian VC recipients 1918 (Part 2: June and July), Geoff Lewis 66-74
Pte 4794 Waldimar Anderson, 32nd Bn, Bill Durrant 74
Regular features
Trench Talk and Contact/Membership details 2
Etched in Stone, Russell Curley and Jim Corkery 75

Posted in DIGGER Magazine | Comments Off on DIGGER 62


Captain Clifford ‘Tiny’ Hatcher MC, 12th MG Coy/4th MG Bn, Greg O’Reilly 3-7
Cpl 2024A Stanley Woolbank, 45th Bn, letters and news items, found on Trove 8-11
Sister Hilda Mary Knox, AANS, Heather (Frev) Ford 12-15
E/R Sgt John Wicks, AIF Canteens, found on Trove, research by Graeme Hosken 15
The O’Connor brothers of Collie: George, Michael, Patrick and Edward, Margo Piggott 16-19
Pte 2029 James Antcliff, 36th Bn Emeritus Prof. John Ramsland 20-25
Dvr 2102 Oliver Courtney, 4th Light Horse Field Ambulance, Greg Swinden 26-28
My three Digger uncles: Jim and Fred Harvey, Mac Smith, Judith Green 29
Memories of Polygon Wood, ‘Barb’, 51st Bn 30-31
Extract from French newspaper found in 4th MG Bn unit diary, contrib. by Greg Knight 31
Pte 2722 Rupert Donaldson, 2nd & 54th Bns, Graeme Hosken and Malcolm Donaldson 32-33
Boy-buglers of the AIF, Graeme Hosken 34-40
Commemorations of the Centenary of 3rd Ypres, Johan Durnez with Geoff Lewis 41
Capt Gordon Coghill MC, 35th Bn, contrib. by Bill Durrant 42
Differing views on the Battle of Passchendaele, ‘Dig’ and ‘Fifth Army’, found on Trove 43-44
Battle on the Menin Road, Cpl 3097 Alfred Gray MSM, 5th Pnrs, found on Trove 44
Letters from Gallipoli: Pte Garnet Rundle, 12th Bn, found on Trove 45-50
Cpl 566 James Smith MM, 4th MG Bn, and the Battle of Hamel, Greg Knight 51-54
The Road to Passchendaele, Emeritus Prof. John Ramsland 55-59
A ration party, Unknown soldier-author, found on Trove, contrib. by Bill Durrant 60-61
Spr 145 Rupert Moremon, 6th BGROC, Graeme Hosken 61
Lieut John Davidson MC, 1st LHR, ICC, 15th LHR, contrib. by Rob Davidson 62-63
Cpl 165 A Stranger, 32nd Bn, & his father, Sgt 872 T Stranger, 5th BGROC, Stephen Brooks 63
For Valour: Australian VC recipients 1918 (Part 1: March to May), Geoff Lewis 64-70
2018 Battle of the Lys Centenary at Merris and Vieux Berquin, John Payne 70
Keeping their Memory Alive (seven soldiers from Chinchilla), Graeme Hosken 71-72
The fight for Passchendaele, L/Cpl 2865 William Murray, 39th Bn, found on Trove 73-74
‘Fun at the Front’: account of a DAC mule race, 23rd Battalion unit diary 74
Regular features
Trench Talk and Contact/Membership details 2
Etched in Stone, Russell Curley and Jim Corkery 75

Posted in DIGGER Magazine | Comments Off on DIGGER 61


Lieutenant David Gerald Evans MC, MID, 8th Bn, Evan Evans 3-18
Pte 271 Garnet Rundle, 12th Bn: the First Contingent voyage, found on Trove 19-27
Letters from 1915: Sgt FA Elworthy, 1st LHR & Lieut WC Beeken, 3rd Bn, found on Trove 28-29
Pte 1736 Percival Ellis, 14th Bn/POW, David Ellis 30-32
Memories of Polygon Wood, ‘Tun’, found on Trove 32
POWs escape: Pte 4534 Jack Lee MM, 14th Bn & L/Cpl 940 Fred Peachey MM, 15th Bn 33-39
Pte 3150 Victor Jones, 60th Bn, remembered, Geoff Lewis 39
WWI commemorations in the Rural City of Horsham, contrib. by John Wilson OAM 40-41
Making good at ‘Polygon Wood’: Pte 2452 Sherdy Gardiner, 3rd Bn, found on Trove 41
WO1 Alexander Rose Falconer, 5th FAB, Diary Part 4 (final), contrib. by Neil Falconer 42-46
Pte 3151 John (Don) Jameson, 56th Bn, Pam Shadie 47-50
Diaries of L/Cpl William Lycett, 4th Field Ambulance, Part 11, contrib. by Tim Lycett 51-55
Pte 7373A George Vincent Forsythe, 8th Bn, also RAN, RCN, Greg Swinden 56-58
Australian-Serbian WWI Project – seeking help, contrib. by Bojan Pajik 58
Last out – final days at Gallipoli: men of the 6th LHR, contrib. by David S Wilkins 59-61
Belgian Embassy oak tree planting, Sue Tongue 61
For Valour: AIF VC recipients, 1917, Part 3 (Third Ypres), Geoff Lewis 62-73
Letters from the Front, 1916: Cpl 525 George Henry Woods, 33rd Bn, found on Trove 73
Sinking of HMAT ‘Ballarat’, Pte 7235 John Giles, 7th & 23rd Bns, found on Trove. 74
Regular features
Trench Talk and Contact/Membership details 2
Etched in Stone, Russell Curley and Jim Corkery 75
Note: There is no DIGGER Quiz in this issue

Posted in DIGGER Magazine | Comments Off on DIGGER 60




The 20th Battalion and the Evacuation from Gallipoli, Neville Browning 3-7

Pte Frederic John Baird, 17th Bn, Maurice Campbell 8-10

L/Cpl Noho Toki, 1st Maori Contingent, Judith Green 11-12

Lieut Thomas Acherson Armstrong, 33rd Bn, Stephen Brooks 12

Pte Garnet Dart, 9th Australian Field Ambulance, Emeritus Prof. John Ramsland 13-20

Gallipoli diary of Bdr Arthur Henson Smith, 3rd FAB, contrib. by Rowan Smith 21-28

Bob Bage: forgotten comrade of Antarctica and Gallipoli (3rd FCE), Ross McMullin 29-32

How we recovered waste: Pte Leslie St Clair Roberts, ex-10th Bn, contrib. by Bill Durrant 33-34

WO1 Alexander Rose Falconer, 5th FAB, Part 3 of his diary, contrib. by Neil Falconer 35-40

Centenary of Anzac Obelisk, Moore Park, Sydney, Jim Munro 40

For Valour: Anzac VC recipients, 1917, Part 2 (Bullecourt & Messines), Geoff Lewis 41-49

Flanders Memorial Garden (AWM grounds, Canberra), Sue Tongue 50

Lieut Frederick Carl Stolz, 32nd Bn, contrib. by John Haddow 51-57

Major John Higgon, Pembroke Yeomanry/32nd Bn AIF, Graeme Hosken 57-60

Swift father and son killed in the war, Stephen Brooks 60

Diaries of L/Cpl William Lycett, 4th Field Ambulance, Part 10, contrib. by Tim Lycett 61-65

The three brothers McGree, Stephen Brooks 66

L/Cpl Charles Frederick Lee, 14th & 46th Bns, 12th MGC, Greg O’Reilly 67-70

Letters from the Front: Pte Reginald Milton Smith, 33rd Bn, Bill Durrant 71-73

Letters from the Front, 1917 (Messines): Pte Bert Von Einem, 38th Bn, found on Trove 73

Return of the Menin Gate lions to Ieper, Johan Durnez, Anny de Decker & Geoff Lewis 74

Regular features

Trench Talk and Contact/Membership details 2

Etched in Stone, Russell Curley and Jim Corkery 75

Note: There is no DIGGER Quiz in this issue

Posted in DIGGER Magazine | Comments Off on DIGGER 59

1918 Christmas and New Year Greetings

Posted in Christmas | Comments Off on 1918 Christmas and New Year Greetings

Major milestone for The Headstone Project

The last of the 316 previously unmarked graves of returned Diggers buried in the Cornelian Bay Cemetery in Hobart will have their headstones dedicated in a graveside service on Saturday 15 December. After 6 years of researching, finding families, planning, fundraising, organising and co-ordinating, The Headstones Project Sub-Committee of FFFAIF, established in 2012, has completed its initial task.

Around 2010, Tasmanian FFFAIF member John Trethewey, while researching a number of World War One veterans, discovered that a number were resting in unmarked graves in Cornelian Bay Cemetery. To rectify this situation, a group of people including John with historian Andrea Gerrard and Peter Pickering came together as the Commemorations Coalition to see if they could change this situation. In September 2012 FFFAIF formally established the Headstone Projects Sub-committee with Terms of Reference and delegated authority to enable the Commemorations Coalition to establish bank accounts, receive funds and be covered by Public Liability insurance.

On 8th March 2012, the unveiling of first 4 headstones and plaques occurred with further dedications in each of the following 6 years. Dignitaries attending have included Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Kate Warner, Governor of Tasmania, Senator, the Honourable Eric Abetz, Brian Mitchell MP, Mr Jim Wilkinson, President of the Legislative Council. Lieutenant Colonel (Retd.) Andrew Wilkie MHR, the Lord Mayor of Hobart, and the Deputy Commissioner for Veterans’ Affairs in Tasmania and then Chief of Army, Lt-General Angus Campbell, DSC, AM, and, FFFAIF Members Lambis Englezos, Dr Ross McMullin, and Dr Brendan Nelson, Director of the Australian War Memorial.

The Headstones Project, Chaired by Andrea Gerrard OAM, has become a model of how the service and sacrifice of soldiers who returned from the Great War can be recognised through passionate people working in partnership with local community leaders, community groups and businesses, government agencies and ex-service organisations. The project has inspired similar projects in other parts of Tasmania, South Australia, Victoria and NSW.

13 headstones with plaques have been unveiled at the Ulverstone General Cemetery on the north west coast of Tasmania where the local RSL worked with The Headstone Project and at Launceston where 141 unmarked graves have so far been found in Carr Villa Memorial Park, the main cemetery in Launceston.

In May 2016, the FFFAIF Committee established a South Australian Headstone Project Sub-committee on the same basis as the Tasmanian Headstone Project with FFFAIF member John Brownlie as Chair, and mentored by Andrea and Ron Gerrard.  Considerable support for the project has been building and their first headstone was unveiled on Remembrance Day 2017.

In NSW at Sandgate Cemetery in Newcastle, more than 850 soldiers of the Great War are thought to have their final resting place and about 400 soldiers are memorialised on their web-site at Based on the research undertaken by Gary Mitchell over the past decade, more than 100 wooden crosses made by the Morpeth Men’s Shed have been installed on previously unmarked graves of returned soldiers. A particular example of how this has helped bring families together is the commemorative service for Pte Cressy KIA Fromelles 19 July 1916 on the centenary of his death at the previously unmarked grave of his parents- see for the story of searching for any relatives in 2008 with the results in 2016 at

Rookwood Necropolis, the largest cemetery in Australia, has over the past 4 years identified 1,756 unofficial war memorials on graves and cleaned and restored many of these. Where the grave-site has previously been unmarked by any monumental work or commemorative plaque, non-permanent markers have been installed to display the name of soldier. This work has been undertaken by Rookwood staff who have expressed an interest in being involved in this project as explained by CEO George Simpson in the video at

To mark the milestone of the dedication of the headstones on the last of the 316 previously unmarked graves in the Cornelian Bay Cemetery, FFFAIF is hosting a “Headstone Projects Roundtable” on Saturday in Hobart to bring together some of those FFFAIF Members and other people working on similar projects. Their objective is to share experiences and learning, improve consistency of memorialisations, better co-ordinate their activities and provide support to each other, and perhaps obtain some economies of scale.

If you are aware of local efforts to recognise the service of sacrifice of soldiers of The Great War on their graves or to list or photograph local graves of soldiers, and you think that would benefit by FFFAIF support, or you would like to join the Headstone Project efforts, please send details to

With the cost of each headstone and commemorative plaque costing about $400 each, the bulk of funding has come from community fundraising and business and government grants as well as the significant discounts and contributions in kind by project-partners. In addition, FFFAIF has contributed funds from the sale of Rembrella poppy umbrellas to the Headstone Project.  If you would like to support the Headstone Project by purchasing a Rembrella poppy umbrella, contact


Posted in Headstones for unmarked graves | Comments Off on Major milestone for The Headstone Project