Charles Devers, 4th Brigade, First AIF, interviewed by David Chalk.

Place Europe: France, Picardie, Somme, Bapaume Cambrai Area, Bullecourt
Accession Number S01176
Collection type Sound
Measurement 3 hr 47 min
Object type Oral history
Physical description micro cassette; SONY MC-60; mono
Maker Devers, Charles
Chalk, David
Date made 14 July 1985
Access Open
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Item copyright: Status to be assessed

Copying Provisions Copyright restrictions apply. Only personal, non-commercial, research and study use permitted. Permission of copyright holder required for any commercial use and/or reproduction.

Charles Devers (SERN 1935) interviewed by David Chalk about his service in A Company, 15th Battalion, First World War.
Broad precis: Enlistment in the army; experiences on Gallipoli; losing comrades and contracting gangrene; being classified "Class B", after Gallipoli; working as an orderly in the Stores, in Egypt; experiences in London; reclassification to "Class A" and being sent to the Front, on the Hindenburg Line, near the conclusion of the War.

Topics discussed include: early life and family, Brisbane; death of his father; being fostered on a farm; working for a printer in Brisbane; working at a sugar refinery;being told to report to a drill hall for training, in 1914; field training exercise at Lota (being told the Russians were shelling them); training at Fort Lytton; camping at Enoggera, and meeting future wife, Christina, while on 24 hour leave at Manly; exchanging brooches with her before he left; departing Australia on 16 April; swimming off the deck of the ship and pushing military police in; playing two-up on deck and being ' a tail better'; winning three hundred pounds; getting news of the first Gallipoli landing while still at sea; describes conditions and daily life on Gallipoli including food; being in Reserve Gully under Turkish forces' attack in May and observing British troop movements and 'mistakes' made, and comparison with Japanese in Kokoda during WW2; declining opportunity to 'get a pip' being with Porky Fuller after an attack (8 August), crossing a wheat field using wheat sheaves as cover, and getting cut by wild holly; coming under attack and hiding behind tussocks; Porky Fuller being killed by a shot to the forehead; waiting all day before being found and stretchered out, as holly brambles made septic wounds to his leg; hospitalisation in Heliopolis; quality of care from British nurses; having bad gangrene and arguing with the doctors not to amputate his leg; reflections on Australians' behaviour especially whether alcohol or crime were problems; recitation of a song about SS Kiara; taking up smoking in Colombo

Also discussed: life on board ship including PT (physical training) drills on deck and playing dice; stopping at Colombo; running aground near Aden; Port Suez and arrival at Cairo; recollections of Cairo; roller skating at Ezbekiya Gardens; visiting the convalescent camp (entertainment for the troops); swimming at Serapeum, Ismailia and Tel-el-Kebir; mention of the brothels in the 'Wozzer' being out of bounds, and troule occuring there; discussion of training in Egypt (route marches, rifle drill); types of gear carried; food and conditions at Gallipoli; threat of being shot by snipers; nature of friendship and mateship during the war, but not after it; sleeping in a hut near the front line when it was blown up; recollection of the severe cold in France during winter 1916-1917; reflections on some of the senior officers (Colonel Brand and Brigadier Sherry, and the death of the latter); rumour of 'a madman' in Cairo who threatened to shoot an officer; another 'troppo' man who would talk about killing people, but was not thought to be unstable enough to be removed.

other persons mentioned: David 'Porky' Fuller; Harry Vines; Henry Still, Jim Wheeler, Jack Hines, Colonel Tedder