Letters from William Edward Peach to his family, 1917

Places
Accession Number RCDIG0001565
Collection number PR00597
Collection type Digitised Collection
Record type File
Item count 33
Object type Letters
Physical description 152 Image/s captured
Maker Peach, William Edward
Place made Belgium, France, United Kingdom
Date made 1917
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918
Copying Provisions Attached digital images and content are protected by copyright. They are reproduced here for research and study only. If you wish to use or quote from these images, please contact the Memorial’s Research Centre via info@awm.gov.au or 02 6243 4315.
Description

Letters relating to the First World War service of 4272 Sergeant William Edward Peach, 7th Battalion. These letters were written by Peach to his family between 2 January and 25 December 1917.

In these letters Peach begins by recalling his discharge from hospital and subsequent time in camp at Wareham, describing life in the camp amidst what he terms the “coldest winter in decades”. After next being sent to camp at Perham Downs, he writes of returning to France at the end of February. While in camp at Etaples, Peach writes of the snow and the cold, and the other men from home that he encounters. He writes of being one of only two men picked from his company to attend the 1st Division Infantry School, during which time he celebrates Easter. On Anzac Day 1917 several sporting races are held, and Peach writes of taking part in the cross country as well as attending a dinner and concert later that night.

In May, having returned to the 7th Battalion from school, Peach writes of the route marches, drills and sports the Battalion undertook in the improving weather while billeted behind the line. In July he writes of being sent to a brigade school of instruction where Richard Finch, another Beechworth man, was injured during a gun demonstration, being accidentally shot by the instructor because a blank and live round were mixed up. After returning to the Battalion, Peach writes of a birthday swim in the Somme and later pens a letter on 19 August 1917, exactly one year since the death of his best mate Percy David “Perce” Mansfield. He continually records his observations, writing of the wild weather and aerial activity he sees above.

In September, Peach describes the attack of 20 September 1917 during the Battle of Menin Road, writing of the death of Raymond Laycock, another Beechworth man. He also writes of his involvement in another attack, this time on 4 October 1917 during the Battle at Broodseinde Ridge. Peach writes that instead of leaving for the I ANZAC Corps School as he was tasked to do, knowing that an operation was pending he fell in with the crowd heading into the line. He goes on to write that by the time that he was noticed it was too late to send him back and he was allowed to take part in the attack. Peach records the heavy casualties, the mud, and the death William Birrell.

Eventually he is sent to the I ANZAC Corps School where he writes of drill competitions and a dinner for NCOs at its conclusion, sending a menu home that has been signed by himself and the other members of “Hut No. 49”. After returning to the Battalion in November, Peach writes of his promotion to the rank of sergeant and the Battalion being on the move often what was now warmer weather. He also writes of the French people and the efforts of Australian soldiers to communicate with them. The end of 1917 finds Peach writing of life in the trenches in a quiet sector of the front line surrounded by snow. Throughout all of his letters, Peach writes of men from home (the Beechworth area) that he encounters and/or hears of, and records their deaths, such as those of Harry Cadwallader and Maurice Holman.

This file contains:
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, Wareham Camp, England, 2 January 1917 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, Worgret Camp, Wareham, Dorset, England, 17 January 1917 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, No. 4 Command Depot, Worgret Camp, Wareham, Dorset, England, 23 January 1917 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, No. 4 Command Depot, Worgret Camp, Wareham, Dorset, England, 29 January 1917;
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, No. 4 Command Depot, Worgret Camp, Wareham, Dorset, England, 4 February 1917 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, Worget Camp, Wareham, Dorset, England, 11 February 1917 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, No. 4 Camp, [Perham] Down, Hants, England, 17 February 1917 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, No. 4 Camp, Perham Down, Hants, England, 26 February 1917;
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, France, 4 March 1917 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, France, 11 March 1917 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, France, 16 March 1917 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, France, 25 March 1917 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, France, 7 April 1917 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, France, 22 April 1917 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, France, 28 April 1917 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, France, 6 May 1917 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, France, 13 June 1917 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, France, 29 June 1917 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, France, 8 July 1917 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, France, 10 July 1917 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, France, 22 July 1917 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, France, 19 August 1917 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his father, France, 1 September 1917 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, Belgium, 16 September 1917 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, France, 27 September 1917 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, France, 14 October 1917 [includes envelope];
Menu for 1st Australian Corps School Non-Commissioned Officer's Dinner, "Somewhere in France", 27 October 1917 [annotated with signatures of members of Hut No. 49];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, France, 28 October 1917 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, France, 13 November 1917 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, France, 19 November 1917 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, France, 4 December 1917 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, "Somewhere in France", 16 December 1917 [includes envelope];
Field service post card from William Edward Peach to his mother, [France], 25 December 1917.