Letters from William Edward Peach to his family, 1918-1919

Places
Accession Number RCDIG0001566
Collection number PR00597
Collection type Digitised Collection
Record type File
Item count 35
Object type Letter
Physical description 162 Image/s captured
Maker Peach, William Edward
Place made Australia, France, United Kingdom
Date made 1918-1919
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 6 January 1918 and 2 June 1919.

In these letters Peach begins by writing of Christmas Day and Boxing Day in the front line, surrounded by the cold and the snow. Shortly after, he writes of being sent to hospital in the UK due to the effects of a gas attack on Boxing Day. Peach is eventually sent to No. 1 Australian Auxiliary Hospital which he thinks highly of, and writes of his continuing recovery. Expecting to go on leave after his discharge, he writes of being sent straight into camp at No. 3 Command Depot where he catches up with various friends who were also in the camp. Peach also writes of his time sightseeing in London and in Scotland, visiting Edinburgh, Glasgow and several other places.

After being transferred to the Overseas Training Brigade in early April, Peach writes of being re-equipped in preparation for his return to France. During this time he writes on several topics, such as NCO and soldiers pay, and the price of food in the UK/rationing compared to Australia. Peach also writes of the snow in camp, and his time in charge of a guard shifts. Before returning to France he is able to take one last sightseeing trip, and writes of his return to Edinburgh and the surrounding sights, and also London.

In May, Peach is sent back to France where he writes of digging trenches with the 7th Battalion. Shortly after returning, on the morning of 15 May, he writes of being buried in rubble after the farmhouse in which he and several other soldiers were billeted collapsed after being hit by a German shell. Seriously injured but able to crawl out of the wreckage, Peach writes that standing in the doorway at the time of the collapse saved his life. The collapse would claim the lives of 1757 Lance Sergeant Andrew John Gray, Second Lieutenant Albert Frank Mettam and 3011 Sergeant Leslie James Gordon Clark.

Peach’s knee is further injured by this incident and, seriously injured, he writes of being sent to No. 13 American General Hospital at Boulogne. He writes of his recovery at Boulogne, including walks along the beach, and his subsequent transfer to a convalescent camp at Havre. Peach re-joins the Battalion in August where he remarks on the likely death of Frederick William Plunkett, a mate who he had embarked with back in December 1915. Only two weeks back with the Battalion, Peach writes of being wounded in the knee and back by a shell while going over the top on 26 August near Peronne.

Peach is once again hospitalised, first at No. 5 General Hospital in Rouen, which he considers a good hospital, and later at 2nd Southern Military Hospital in England, where he writes of visitors bringing him food and gifts. He writes of the news of the armistice from his hospital bed, his leg set in plaster from ankle to thigh to immobilise the knee. Peach is then sent to No. 3 Australian Auxiliary Hospital in early December which he writes was isolated for a man on crutches. In one final letter in June 1919, after returning to Australia, he records being visited by various family and friends, including those that had returned from the war.

This file contains:
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, [Belgium], 6 January 1918 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, Queen Mary's Hospital, Whalley, Lancs, 19 January 1918 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, Queen Mary's Hospital, Whalley, Lancs, 29 January 1918 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, No. 1 Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Harefield Park, Middlesea, 6 February 1918 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, No. 1 Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Harefield Park, Middlesea, 10 February 1918 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, No. 3 Command Depot, Hurdcott, Wilts, England, 16 February 1918 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, No. 3 Command Depot, Hurdcott, Wilts, England, 24 February 1918 [includes envelope];
Program for morning service at Westminster Abbey, 3 March 1918;
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, No. 3 Command Depot, Hurdcott, near Salisbury, 4 March 1918 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, No. 3 Command Depot, Hurdcott, near Salisbury, 22 March 1918 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, No. 3 Command Depot, Hurdcott, near Salisbury, 27 March 1918 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, [England], 1 April 1918;
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, Overseas Training Brigade, Longbridge Deverill, Wilts, England, 7 April 1918 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, Overseas Training Brigade, Longbridge Deverill, Wilts, England, 16 April 1918 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, Overseas Training Brigade, Longbridge Deverill, Wilts, England, 23 April 1918 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, Overseas Training Brigade, Longbridge Deverill, Wilts, England, 3 May 1918 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, No. 13 American General Hospital, Boulogne, France, 26 May 1918 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, No. 13 General Hospital, 6 June 1918 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, No. 1 Convalescent Camp, [Boulogne], [France], 18 June 1918 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, No. 1 Australian Convalescent Camp, Le Havre, France, 25 June 1918 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, No. 1 Australian Convalescent Camp, Le Havre, France, 7 July 1918 [includes envelope and leaflet titled "Postal instructions issued by the Australian Army Postal Service"];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, No. 1 Australian Convalescent Camp, Le Havre, France, 18 July 1918 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, No. 1 Australian Convalescent Camp, Le Havre, France, 28 July 1918 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, France, 11 August 1918 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, France, 1 September 1918;
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, No. 5 General Hospital, France, 14 September 1918;
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, No. 5 General Hospital, Rouen, France, 27 September 1918;
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, No. 5 General Hospital, France, 1 October 1918 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, 2nd Southern General Hospital, Southmead Section, Bristol, 7 October 1918 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, 2nd Southern General Hospital, Southmead, Bristol, England, 15 October 1918 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, 2nd Southern General Hospital, Southmead, Bristol, England, 28 October 1918 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, 2nd Southern General Hospital, Southmead, Bristol, 12 November 1918 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, 2nd Southern General Hospital, Southmead, 1 December 1918 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, No. 3 Austraian Auxiliary Hospital, Dartford, Kent, 9 December 1918 [includes envelope];
Letter from William Edward Peach to his mother, Red Cross Rest Room, No. 16 Australian General Hospital, Macleod, 2 June 1919 [includes envelope].