Christie, Theodore (Private, b:1884 - d:1950)

Place Europe: France, Nord Pas de Calais, Nord, Lille, Fromelles
Accession Number MSS2010
Collection type Manuscript
Measurement 1 wallet: 1cm
Object type Manuscript
Maker Christie, Theodore
Crowley, Dave
Date made 1916-1918
Access Open
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918
Copying Provisions Copying is permitted for the purposes of research and study, subject to physical condition

Manuscript which contains a transcript of the story entitled "A True Story, July 1916: The Pump of Fromelles" by 2799 Private Theodore (Theo) Christie 56 Battalion. Included are background notes compiled by Christie's grandson, Dave Crowley, on his grandfather's service. Private Christie served as a stretcher bearer during the First World War. His story is based on his experience of working as a stretcher bearer during the battle of Fromelles. He describes harrowing scenes of tending to injured and dying men at a dressing station, situated at a ruined farmhouse near the battlefield. The farm still possessed a working water pump, and at one point it temporarily ceased supplying water, only to be fixed by one of the doctors. For Christie, the pump symbolises the almost inexhaustable supply of care shown by those working at the dressing station amidst the chaos of Fromelles.

History / Summary

2799 Private Theodore Christie enlisted on 7 June 1915 in Sydney. With 4 Infantry Battalion - 9 to 12 Reinforcements he embarked from Sydney on A8 HMAT Argyllshire on 30 September 1915. At Tel-el-Kebir he transferred to 56 Battalion on 13 February 1916. He saw service in France from June 1916, and was a stretcher bearer during the battle of Fromelles the following month in July. Later that same month, he experienced shell shock and spent time in hospital in England. Although he returned to the front, he was to suffer from further bouts of shell shock during 1917. Still convalescing, Christie was repatriated to Australia embarking on the HT Leicestershire on 9 December 1918. He arrived in Australia on 21 January 1919.