Box for Australian Red Cross Society Christmas package, 1918 : Private H V Reynolds 1 Field Ambulance, AIF

Accession Number REL41495
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Cardboard, Paper
Maker Unknown
Place made Australia
Date made 1918
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Brown cardboard box for a Christmas gift issued by the Australian Red Cross Society. The box opens at the top and has a colour label on the lid portraying a spray of flowering wattle. The front panel has a label showing a map of Australia with a large red cross at its centre. This label also shows sprigs of wattle with the words 'Greetings from The Australian Red Cross Society XMAS 1918'.

History / Summary

Herbert Vincent Reynolds was in an overseas training unit in Longbridge Derevill, England, when he recorded in his diary that he had been presented with a Christmas package from the Australian Red Cross by General McCay and his wife, on the 13 March 1918. It is assumed that this was in fact a Christmas 1917 parcel, and that the one shown here was given to Reynolds when he returned to Australia in December 1918.

Reynolds was born in 1896 at Sebastopol, Victoria. He enlisted for service in the First World War on 16 September 1914, his 18th birthday. Allocated the service number 622, he was sent to Broadmeadows Training Camp and was allotted to 4 Field Ambulance as a stretcher bearer.

He embarked from Australia with his unit on 22 October 1914 and disembarked at Alexandria in early February. Not long after arriving in Egypt, Reynolds transferred to 1 Field Ambulance. He spent the next two months training before sailing for the island of Lemnos on 5 April.

Reynolds landed at Gallipoli at 9am on 25 April and was immediately set to work. The beaches were still under very heavy fire and many Australians, and even some Turkish casualties, were given treatment before being sent to the hospital ships off shore.

During the August offensive, Reynolds became ill and on 16 August, was evacuated to Mudros with enteric fever. His illness was so severe that he was transported to England and on arrival was sent to King George Hospital in London. Reynolds recovered slowly and did not return to Gallipoli. He was sent back to Egypt in late February 1916 and returned to his unit in early March. In late March, Reynolds and his unit were shipped to France, arriving in Marseilles on 30 March.

Reynolds served throughout Pozieres and the following battles in both France and Belgium. He was wounded on 20 September 1917 during fighting on the Menin Road, receiving a gunshot wound to his left ear. He was evacuated to England on 23 September and spent over a month recovering, before being sent to an overseas training unit for the remainder of 1917.

Reynolds returned to France and rejoined his unit on 26 April near Hazebrouck. The men of 1Field Ambulance remained in this position during the German spring offensive and did not relocate until the Allied August offensive began to push the German forces back.

Reynolds and 32 other men from 1 Field Ambulance left the unit on 3 October for a holding camp before embarking for Australia from Le Havre on 13 October. They had been granted a special six month leave for having enlisted in 1914. He disembarked in Melbourne on 23 December and returned home to Sebastopol. He was discharged from the AIF on 20 March 1919.

Reynolds went on to become Mayor of Sebastopol serving in this position from 1936-37, 1941-42, 1947-48, 1953-54 and 1959-60. Herbert Reynolds died in 1978.