Benjamin, Oswald Deronda (Sergeant, b.1884 - d.1944)

Accession Number PR03922
Collection type Private Record
Record type Collection
Measurement 1 wallet: 1cm.
Object type Diary
Maker Benjamin, Oswald Deronda
Place made At sea, Egypt, France
Date made 1915-1917
Access Open
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Item copyright: Copyright expired - public domain

Public Domain Mark This item is in the Public Domain

Copying Provisions Copying permitted subject to physical condition

Collection relating to the First World War service of 7978 Gunner Oswald Deronda Benjamin, 16th Battery, 6th Field Artillery Brigade [FAB]. Collection consists of a black covered notebook (cover detached), used by Benjamin as a diary between 1915 and 1917. The inscription on the front page reads: "My diary from date of embarkation for the Great European War", followed by his service number, name and unit.

The diary commences on 11 November 1915 when he embarked from Melbourne with 6 FAB. About a third of the diary is devoted to the sea voyage and describes duty, food, conditions aboard ship, and the scenery on their arrival in Egypt. Mention is made of the services conducted for the small number of Jewish soldiers onboard. After arriving in Egypt in late December his unit moved to Heliopolis Camp near Cairo. The next portion of the diary again describes duty, food, conditions, some sightseeing, moves to camps at Tell El Kebir, Ismailia and Moascar, and training in the desert. The final portion of the diary to devoted to his time in France where he arrived in March 1916. He records being under fire for the first time near Armentieres, and working in camouflaged gun pits in the area. From July he records other areas he is moved to, the work being done, and the action taking place. The beginning of 1917 sees Benjamin suffering from bronchitis and spending some time in hospital. He returns to duty by the end of the month, and the diary concludes on 13 February. There is no obvious reason why the diary finishes on this date.

Benjamin remained in France and was promoted to sergeant in May 1918. He was wounded around this time and evacuated to England not returning to his unit until October. Benjamin survived the war and returned to Australia in April 1919.