Extracts of letters relating to Henry Stanley Davis, 1916-1917

Collection ID RCDIG0001160
Parent Collection ID 2DRL/0547
Collection type Digitised Collection
Title Extracts of letters relating to Henry Stanley Davis, 1916-1917
Item count 17
Object type Letters
Maker Australian War Memorial
Place made Australia: New South Wales, Sydney
Date made 1916-1917; 1932-1933
Copyright provision Attached digital images are protected by copyright and are provided here for research and study purposes. For further use, please contact the Memorial.

Typescript extracts of letters relating to the First World War service of Captain Henry Stanley Davis, 46th Battalion. These extracts were made by the Australian War Memorial in 1932-1933 and the original letters were returned to Davis' family upon their request. The letters written by Davis span from April 1916 to December 1916 and cover: conditions in Egypt, including the sand, heat and flies; repairing and manning trenches in the Suez Canal area; the capture of an enemy post; Turkish and German prisoners of war; Turkish attacks on the line; German artillery barrages; air warfare; the British fighter pilot Christopher Draper, also known as the “Mad Major” ; instruction in the art of trench warfare on the Western Front; coming out of the line at Pozieres; descriptions of artillery bombardments and their effect on the men; comparison of the German soldier to the Allied soldier; commendation of the work of stretcher bearers, and one in particular named “Cassidy”; commendation of the work of runners; the mental and physical exhaustion from fighting on the Somme; Davis’ experience and actions during the battle of Pozieres; observations on the condition of the men; the new Australian divisions living up to the Anzac name on the Somme; promotion to lieutenant; observations on the French people; return to the front line; disappointment in the failure of the conscription vote and comments from other soldiers on the issue; weather conditions; role as second in command of “C” Company; the death of Captain Francis Ormond Purnell and Davis being left in command of company; concussion from shell fire; trench foot and frost bite in the trenches; training reinforcements.

Also included is a letter of condolence from Brigadier James Campbell Robertson, commanding officer of the 12th Infantry Brigade, to Davis’ father on 22 April 1917. It comments on Davis’ qualities as a courageous and trustworthy officer, and his manner of death during the first battle of Bullecourt on the morning of 11 April 1917.