Efficiency is important to the army, although the opinion of many Australians was that the military heads only knew how to do things in the most inefficient way. When it came to beating the censorship issue, a time consuming process for officers in the field, they issued the ‘Field Service Postcard’. It was much like a text message of the day, except with a pencil – just cross out some lines, add an address and seconds later you’re done! The problem was it took over a month to reach home, and while it provided a little comfort to loved ones, the lack of personal information would have caused them great frustration.
I am quite well
I have received your letter dated 18/8/15
Letter follows at first opportunity
Private Charles M. Clift (No:1901)
Clift enlisted in July 1915 – this earned him the title ‘a fair dinkum’ – meaning he knew about the casualties and death at Gallipoli, yet he signed up anyway. He sailed from Sydney aboard the Troopship A54 Runic.
He arrived at Gallipoli at the end of September as a reinforcement with the 18th Battalion. The August Offensive had failed to break out, and there were no plans nor resources to attempt such a thing again, so he was just in time to get bored and wait for winter. After ten weeks the Peninsula was evacuated and Clift returned to Egypt, only to catch the mumps and spend some hospital time.
He was transferred to the 2nd Division Artillery and arrived in France in late April 1916. Six weeks later he was promoted to Corporal and was ‘Mentioned in Despatches’ in August as a result of gallantry demonstrated in the battle for Pozieres. He was soon after promoted to Sergeant but in March 1918 he fell victim to a poisonous gas attack and was sent to England to recover. Clift returned to France in June and saw out the war there, returning to Australia in April 1919.
For information on researching an Australian’s service records click here.https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/understanding-the-memorials-collection/researching-a-person