'Souvenir of Egypt' embroidered handkerchief : Private P E Monck, 55 Battalion AIF

Place Africa: Egypt
Accession Number REL43162
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Cotton, Silk
Maker Unknown
Place made Egypt, France
Date made c 1917
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Scallop edged silk handkerchief, finely hand embroidered with posies of flowers in each corner, and a crested crane in flight between each posy. A sphinx, pyramids and a stylised date palm, accompanied by the words 'Souvenir of Egypt', appears in the centre in machine chain stitch.

History / Summary

Related to the service of 2184 Private Peter Eugene Monck, born 22 June 1894, a farmer of Pambula, NSW, who enlisted at Bombala on 9 January 1916 aged 21 years 6 months. his pre-war membership of the Pambula Rifle Club led to an expertise in sniping which he later employed in France.

Monck's two elder brothers Stephen Bertram Monck and Charles James Maguire Monck both enlisted three or four days later, also in 55 Battalion. After initial training. Peter Monck embarked for overseas service aboard the transport 'Port Sydney', which left Sydney on 4 September, arriving, via Egypt, at Plymouth 29 October 1916. After a month with 14 Training Battalion, he arrived in France on 14 December, finally joining his unit on Christmas Eve 1916 where they were resting and billeted at Buire-sur-l'Ancre.

Private Monck was shot in the right foot on 18 May 1917 as 55 Battalion was relieving 56 Battalion to the west of Noreuil during the Second Battle of Bullecourt. He was evacuated back to England for treatment at 3rd London General Hospital at Wandsworth. After convalescence, he returned to his unit via the Overseas Training Brigade on 26 October 1917. After his battalion's work at Villers-Bretonneux, Monck was attached to 14 Brigade Headquarters Guard on 10 June 1918, remaining in this position until the end of the war. After taking leave in England from 2 December to 4 January, he received news that he had been awarded the Belgian Croix de Guerre for his 'conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty' during a patrol action at Villers-Bretonneux on 17 May 1918.

Peter Monck returned to Australia aboard the transport 'Beltana', and was discharged from military service in Sydney on 4 September 1919.

Monck's eldest brother Stephen was shot in the back in September 1917, but recovered and returned to service. He was wounded on two further occasions in late 1918 (in his back again on the second occasion); on the third occasion he remained at his post. Elder brother Charles was posted to the Australian Employment Company and in March 1918 was accidentally burned by acid on his face and arms, and spent a month in hospital before rejoining his unit.