Autographed souvenir handkerchief : 'Shrapnel'

Place Approximate locations: At sea
Accession Number REL33755
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Cotton
Maker Unknown
Place made At sea
Date made June 1917
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

White cotton man's handkerchief with decorative raised border of intersecting stripes. Embroidered in one corner with the letter 'S'. Both sides are printed in black with the troopship journal of the transport HMAT A74 'Marathon' entitled 'SHRAPNEL No. 2. Vol. 1.', dated Tuesday , June 5, 1917. The signatures of 35 soldiers are written in purple indelible pencil around the unprinted edge of the handkerchief.

History / Summary

This handkerchief was signed by soldiers who left Sydney on 10 May 1917 aboard the transport HMAT Marathon for service on the Western Front. The ship, which normally operated as a passenger liner, carried printing facilities on board. The majority of signatures on the handkerchief are those of members of the 14th Reinforcements to 30 Battalion, AIF.

Their names are listed together with dates of death of those who did not survive, in brackets: from 30 Battalion, AIF - Private (Pte) James Morrison, Pte Walter Staines (killed in action 19 March 1918), Pte James Edward Griffiths, Pte William Thomas Flanagan (died of disease 9 September 1918), Pte Leslie Oliver Lulham, Corporal (Cpl) Royal John Eather, Pte Albert Phillip Barnes, Pte Patrick Nolan (killed in action 21 May 1918), Pte Charles Stanley McCredie, Pte Thomas Aquinas Kelly, Pte Frederick Keith White (died of wounds 20 August 1918), Pte David Scouler Falconer, Cpl Frank O'Loughlin, Pte Albert Phillip Barnes, Cpl James Henry Murphy, Pte Aubrey Eric Hoad, Pte Hubert Blackwell, Pte Martin Frederick Chenery, Pte Stanley Arthur Baxter, Pte Walter John White, Pte Henry Thomas McDonnell, Pte Les Carlyle Barclay, Pte Emanuel Goldstein, Pte Charles Henry Elliott, Pte Frederick Victor Wales Hooklyn, Pte Thomas Ede Pearce, Pte Robert Edward Watson (killed in action 24 May 1918, aged 16, enlisted aged 14 years and 11 months), Pte Harold Alfred Ashby, Pte William Doyle, Pte Colin Campbell Hamilton, Pte Charles Harold Bourne, Pte Howard Hammond Cork (killed in action 30 July 1918, previously served ANMEF), Pte Herbert William Hulls (died of wounds 20 February 1918); from the Australian Flying Corps - 2nd Air Mechanic Patrick Augustine Kelly; from 5 Division Field Artillery - Gunner Arthur Hainsworth Wade.