The start of World War I, 100 years on

Posted by barbara on August 3, 2014



My grandfather, John Halliday, front row, second from the left, a stretcher bearer with the AIF Third Divison's Ninth Field Ambulance.

Here’s to my grandfather, John Halliday, on the anniversary of the start of WWI, 4 August 1904.

Having emigrated to Australia from Scotland with his family as a small boy, it was hardly surprising that he put up his hand to do his bit 'for King and country' in 1914.

Why not volunteer for a war that everyone said would be over by Christmas, as in five months hence. Electing to be 'in the thick of it' would after all earn him a trip back to England, and the chance to visit 'Home', as in Scotland.

By the time they'd completed basic training and made the long sea passage, there mightn't be much left for the Australians to do. And if not, joining the war effort might finally convince the British that not all Aussies were 'second raters', inextricably contaminated by the convicts who were shipped to some Australian colonies primarily between 1788-1840.

What's was not to like (or understood) about such a mindset.


The troopship that transported the Ninth Field Ambulance, signed by John Halliday's fellow stretcher bearers.


A young John Halliday, known in later life as 'Captain Jack' for his annual skippering of his yachts 'Ellida' and 'Carol J' to Tasmania in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Races.

HALL_poppy_mini_IMG_0286.jpgThe red poppies of Flanders symbolise the blood spilt during WWI.

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