Antill, Robert Edmund (Corporal, b.1897 - d.1917)

Accession Number 1DRL/0047
Collection type Private Record
Record type Collection
Measurement 4 wallets: 4 cms
Object type Letter
Maker Antill, Robert Edmund
Place made Australia: Victoria, Melbourne, Egypt, France, Greece: Aegean Islands, Lemnos, Ottoman Empire: Turkey, Dardanelles, Gallipoli, United Kingdom: England
Date made 1914-1917
Access Open
Related File This file can be copied or viewed via the Memorial’s Reading Room. AWM93 12/11/241
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Item copyright: Copyright expired - public domain

Public Domain Mark This item is in the Public Domain

Copying Provisions Copying permitted subject to physical condition

Collection relating to the First World War service of 1228 Corporal Robert Edmund Antill, 14 Battalion, Gallipoli, Egypt and France, 1914-1917. Collection consists of over ninety letters written by Corporal Antill while on active service, to his parents in London; several studio portraits of unidentified individuals (some in uniform); numerous postcards and field service cards. Of special note are a letter from Antill's father, Josh Antill of London and a family group photograph which is probably of Josh and Alice Antill with their children. Cpl Antill was killed in action on 5 July 1917 at Ploegsteert in Belgium.

History / Summary

Collection covers entire serving period including Antill's decision to enlist in Australia; active service on Gallipoli; recovery from illness on Lemnos; wounding at Gallipoli; convalescence in England, and return to active service in France. Letters are written in a warm and friendly, interrogatory style with a number of misspellings. Throughout the letters Antill uses the expression "All in a lifetime" to resign himself to the events in which he is participating. This comprehensive collection displays the understanding that develops between the serving soldier and his parents in England. In the letter of 23 April 1915 (just before he heads off to Gallipoli) he takes comfort from his mother's acceptance of his decision to enlist (in an earlier letter he responds to her opinion that, as he is in Australia, he is better off out of the action). Another aspect of this collection is the interchange between Antill and his father which occurs as Antill has written on the verso of one of his father's letters that he had received at the front. In response to a request from Antill 14 May 1915 (after surviving Gallipoli) his father wrote and reported that he had taken his earlier letter around the (joinery?) workshop to show all his friends at the factory. This is perhaps why this letter is considerably more dirt marked than the other letters.

Biographical note: 1228 Corporal Robert Edmund Antill, (alias Robert Edmond), 14 Battalion, Australian Infantry. Killed in action, Ploegsteert, Belgium, 5 July 1917. Age 20. Son of Josh and Alice Antill, of 43 Park Rd., Harringay, London, England.