Transcript of diary of Stanley Alfred Gedling, 1913-1918
Transcript of diary relating to the First World War service of Leading Signalman Richard Keith Gedling, Royal Australian Navy. This transcript was made by Gedling’s daughter, although it is unknown when this transcript was made. The original diary was written and compiled by Gedling during the war, his account detailing his service aboard the light cruiser HMAS Melbourne over the period 1913 to 1918. It begins with Gedling’s enlistment in 1913, in which he provides and a summary of the beginnings of his naval service. Gedling provides a service history of the Melbourne during the First World War, recording the specifications of the ship, including armament and compliment, the daily routine on board, and the weather conditions. He documents the outbreak of the war and movement to Sydney, the deployment to French New Caledonia and Fiji before meeting the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF) at German New Guinea, the capture of Rabaul and Herbertshohe in September 1914, and the various Royal Navy (RN) ships and others (such as HIJMS Ibuki) that the Melbourne encounters. Gedling then writes of Melbourne’s role as an escort of the first Australian Imperial Force (AIF) convoy in November 1914, providing a diagram of the positions and names of the Australian and New Zealand ships of the convoy, and details the battle between HMAS Sydney and SMS Emden, including a sketch of the movements of both ships during their battle. After being deployed to the West Indies (Caribbean) to sink the German light cruiser SMS Karlsruhe, he writes of the Melbourne’s actions in the West Indies from early 1915 to September 1916. Gedling then documents the ship’s deployment to the North Sea as part of the 2nd Light Cruiser Squadron in late 1916, including major repairs at Birkenhead from January to June 1917, and its service in the North Sea with the Grand Fleet until the end of the war. Having served on the Melbourne for the entirety of the war, Gedling provides a summary of the miles travelled during his service with the RAN, coaling and distance statistics for the Melbourne. He records details on the surrender of the German High Seas Fleet on 21 November 1918 and the Grand Fleet ships escorting the German fleet. Included in this transcript is a picture of Gedling in uniform and also a picture of HMAS Melbourne in 1913.