Material from Gallipoli & the Western Front

The University of Melbourne Archives holds a range of material created or gathered by people who fought at Gallipoli and the Western Front.

Flowers, 7/4 Souvenirs from France, Ray Jones Collection, 1981.0081
Flowers, 7/4 Souvenirs from France, Ray Jones Collection, 1981.0081

William Reginald Keast

Keast fought with the 2nd Field Company at Gallipoli from April 1915 until wounded in action. From March 1916 he saw action on the western front at Pozieres and Ypres. Later that year he transferred to the Royal Flying Corps. He was shot down over Passchendaele in August 1917 and killed. The collection includes his diaries from October 1914 to August 1917 (with gaps) and a small photo album.

Alfred Plumley Derham

Derham was a medical student at the University of Melbourne when he enlisted in the AIF in August 1914. He served in Egypt, Gallipoli, France and Belgium. At Gallipoli he was wounded and was awarded the MC returning to Melbourne in 1917. The collection includes diaries from July 1914 to March 1915 (Egypt), March 1915 to April 1915 (Gallipoli), December 1915 to December 1916 (Egypt, Marseilles, Belgium, England and Australia). There are also notebooks, orders, messages and signals, memoranda, regulations, orders. The collection holds hand-drawn maps and landscapes of Gallipoli as well as souvenirs such as photographs, programs, publications and more. The collection finding aid is available through the reference service.

Ray Jones

Jones enlisted in February 1915 with the 19th Battalion as a signaller. He served in Egypt, Gallipoli, France and Belgium until injury took him off the front in July 1917. Jones maintained a regular correspondence with his family, which has been preserved in this collection, including 428 letters to and from Jones. The letters document the war experience of a family, as well as that of a soldier. Jones was also an enthusiastic collector of souvenirs. Because of this, the collection holds interesting material such as programs, publications, sketches, photographs and objects. Of particular interest is a set of pressed flowers, including poppies, that were picked and pressed on the fields of France, 1916. The flowers were sent back to Jones' family and have survived in this collection. The collection is listed online.

Leslie Harold Fairnie

Enlisting in the A.I.F. during World War One, Fairnie attained the rank of captain. His collection consists of photographs and postcards of England, Egypt, Gallipoli, Greece and Australia. 1915-1918.

Western Front
Australian troops arrived on the Western Front in 1916, after the withdrawal from Gallipoli. Many of the soldiers whose papers are held at the University of Melbourne Archives completed an arduous tour first in Egypt and then Gallipoli, before being sent to France and Belgium.

A range of sections of the Australian Imperial Force are represented at the material held at UMA. They include privates, whose correspondence and diaries hint at the terrible conditions of trench warfare, tunnelers, whose bravery and skill have become legend (Oliver Woodward’s feats inspired the film ‘Beneath Hill 60’), as well as medical officers and pilots.

The collections also hold a wide variety of material including correspondence (often with the euphemistic address "somewhere in France" to appease the censors), diaries, publications, memoirs, photographs, maps, official papers, memorabilia and more.