ID numberRCDIG0001564
TitleLetters from William Edward Peach to his family, 1916
Collection numberPR00597
ClassificationDigitised Collection
Record typeFile
Item count50
Object typeLetters
MakerPeach, William Edward
Place made
  • At sea
  • Belgium
  • Egypt
  • France
  • United Kingdom
Date made1916
Physical description206 Image/s captured
DescriptionLetters relating to the First World War service of 4272 Lance Corporal William Edward Peach, 7th Battalion. These letters were written by Peach to his family between 2 January and 17 December 1916.

In these letters, Peach recalls his embarkation from Australia, writing of the large crowd that converged to send the men off. He writes of soldiers suffering from seasickness aboard their troopship, HMAT Demosthenes, and the various activities the men undertook to occupy themselves, ranging from sports to concerts. When the Demosthenes anchors at Colombo to restock coal, fresh water and provisions, Peach writes of his visit ashore, describing the locals and the landscape. As the troopship progresses on to Egypt, he writes in detail of the landscapes he observes, in particular the native villages of mainland Africa. Eventually the Demosthenes reaches Egypt, and Peach writes of settling into camp at Heliopolis outside of Cairo, describing his surroundings and the Egyptian people. When not sightseeing in Cairo or to the pyramids with his mate Percy David “Perce” Mansfield, Peach writes of performing guard duty and taking part in drills in the desert. He also writes meeting others from home, such as his uncles Tom and Frank.

In April the men are sent to France aboard the troopship “Transylvania”, Peach writing that a number of the men were suffering from mumps and that one attempted suicide by jumping overboard. After arriving in France he writes of being sent into an isolation camp near Etaples, where he records the many German zeppelins he observes overhead and the swimming the men undertook for leisure. Despite being anxious to get into the front line, Peach writes of the men having the time of their lives in the camp, the men taking part in regular short marches and bomb throwing practice. After being discharged in May, he rejoined his mate Perce and writes of undertaking a special course of instruction in preparation for entering the front line. Not having received any mail for months, Peach writes of his delight at receiving 21 letters from home in June. Later that month, he writes of being allotted to the 1st Anzac Entrenching Battalion and writes of his brief time in Belgium with the unit, remaking on the scenery and the cold weather during his first introduction to the front. Peach continues to write of the men from Beechworth that he encounters and/or hears news of.

After returning to the 7th Battalion in July, Peach writes of the fighting at Pozieres, including the wounding and deaths of several of his friends. In particular, he writes of the death of his mate Perce who he considered closer than a brother. In September, Peach is evacuated to the 3rd Canadian General Hospital with synovitis of the knee, and writes of his subsequent convalescence in the UK, having been transferred to Norfolk War Hospital and then No. 1 Australian Auxiliary Hospital at Harefield Park. In his final letters of 1916, he records his sightseeing in London.

This file contains:
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, [At sea], 2 January [1916];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, [At sea], 9 January 1916 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, On High Seas, 16 January 1916 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, [At sea], 27 January 1916;
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, Aerodrome Camp via Heliopolis, 2 February 1916 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, Egypt, 15 February 1916 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, Kasr-el-Nil Barracks, Cairo, 23 February 1916 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, Egypt, 28 February 1916 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, Egypt, 4 March 1916 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, Egypt, 6 March 1916 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, Heliopolis, Egypt, [12 March 1916] [includes envelope];
Field service postcard from William Edward Peach to his mother, [Egypt], 15 March 1916;
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, Heliopolis, Egypt, 15 March 1916 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, Egypt, 19 March 1916 [includes envelope and menu for Belgian-Australian Dining Room, Heliopolis];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, [Egypt], 26 March 1916 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, On board T.S.S. Transylvania in mid ocean, 2 April 1916 [includes envelope];
Field service post card from William Edward Peach to his mother, [France], 4 April 1916;
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, [France], 17 April 1916;
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, France, 23 April 1916 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, France, 30 April 1916 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, France, 7 May 1916 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, France, 14 May 1916 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, France, 21 May 1916 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, France, 28 May 1916 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, France, 6 June 1916 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, France, 13 June 1916 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, France, 18 June 1916 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, France, 24 June 1916 [includes envelope];
Field service postcard from William Edward Peach to his mother, [France], 1 July 1916;
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, "The Usual Address", [France], 3 July 1916 [attached envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, [France], 14 July 1916;
Field service postcard from William Edward Peach to his mother, [France], 16 July 1916;
Field service postcard from William Edward Peach to his mother, [France], 22 July 1916;
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, France, 30 July 1916 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, France, 9 August 1916 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, France, 25 August 1916 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, [Belgium], 10 September 1916 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, [Belgium], 19 September 1916 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, Belgium, 1 October 1916 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, 1st Australian Divisional Base Depot, France, 8 October 1916 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, Norfolk War Hospital, Norfolk, England, 15 October 1916 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, Norfolk War Hospital, Norfolk, England, 23 October 1916 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, Norfolk War Hospital, Norfolk, England, 30 October 1916;
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, Norfolk War Hospital, Norfolk, England, 7 November 1916 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, Norfolk War Hospital, Norfolk, England, 14 November 1916 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, Norfolk War Hospital, Norfolk, England, 22 November 1916 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, No. 1 Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Harefield Park, England, 30 November 1916 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, No. 1 Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Harefield Park, England, 5 December 1916 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, No. 2 Command Depot, Montevideo Camp, Weymouth, England, 12 December 1916 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, Y.M.C.A. "Ye Shakespeare Hut", London, England, 17 December 1916 [includes envelope].
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