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"At a mile distant their thousand hooves were stuttering thunder, coming at a rate that frightened a man - they were an awe inspiring sight, galloping through the red haze - knee to knee and horse to horse - the dying sun glinting on bayonet points..." Trooper Ion Idriess

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Saturday, 14 June 2008
Broadmeadows Camp, Inducting Recruits, September 1914
Topic: Gen - St - Vic

Recruit Training at Broadmeadows Camp, Victoria

 

For those who have been through basic training within the military, these pictures will bring back all those memories of the first day on the job. The pictures are all taken from the Melbourne Punch, 3 September 1914, p. 418.

 

Attention!

 

A group of likely lads have just learned the first piece of parade ground drill - to fall in ... well so to say. Those who are ex-NCO drill instructors will be getting itchy hands just looking at these men.

"Att .... Wait for it sonny ... Attention!"

 

Issuing Rifles

 

Now the lads can at least stand to attention in ranks so they can be trusted with unloaded rifles in anticipation of rifle drills.

 

"Slope Arms!"

 

The toughest part of getting used to a rifle is the unwieldy weight when it first confronts the raw recruit. Sloping arms is a great introductory drill to get the recruits familiar with the feel of a rifle and so introduce the feeling that it is a natural part of the body, like legs and arms.

 

New squad for the Artillery Lines

 

New cobbers and horses arrive for the field artillery.

 

Artillery drill

 

The lads allocated to artillery are going through their primary drills. The lack of uniform tells us that these fellows are just raw recruits and not long at Broadmeadows.

 

Listening to the instructors

 

Uniforms have now been issued but judging by the very poor presentation and different styles of hatwear, it suggests that the uniforms issued were rudimentary and very stop gap until their real uniforms arrived. The various clothing factories would have been working double shifts to meet this demand.

 

Horse rations

 

One of the physically demanding aspects of military life at the time was to feed the horses. Fodder was heavy and the horses needed lots of it. So when the fodder cart arrived, the men on stable fatigues had all the fun in the world unloading the feed, storing it and then distributing that which was required for the next horse feed at the proper locations. Horse lines would have been very busy places at feed times.

 

Taking stock of meat

 

The delivery of prime left over second grade mutton from the Victoria Markets, unrefrigerated and fit for the kings who are soon to be defending Australia.

Makes a person cringe to see the conditions in which meat was delivered - off the back of a horse and GSW cart. You can see the lamb carcasses stacked on the back without any protection whatsoever. Those lads must have had strong stomachs to down this without reporting to sick parade the following day. It also explains why the most common complaint for the Field Ambulance and hospitalisation was diarrhoea.

 

Peeling spuds

 

This is a ubiquitous site at every military camp. The sight of one or many men peeling potatoes for the next meal. Kitchen fatigues were always highly sort after by the men. This happy lot have a mountain of potatoes to peel for the next meal at Broadmeadows.


Bath time

 

Hygiene 1914 style was strictly enforced and many men for the first time in their lives took a regular bath. This was not a usual thing in most Australian households and it is only the common experience of all people during the Great War that the daily bath became a feature in Australian life. Despite the strictest hygiene, there were still outbreaks of transmitted diseases from a concentration of humans. Most of the time the consequences were not fatal.

 

Further Reading:

Broadmeadows 1909

Victoria's response to the Great War  

 


Citation: Broadmeadows Camp, Inducting Recruits, September 1914

Posted by Project Leader at 3:20 PM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 28 February 2009 7:51 AM EAST

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