Topic: BatzA - Liverpool
The Battle of Central Station, New South Wales, 14 February 1916
Humphris Letter, 25 September 1915
The letter sent by Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Francis Humphris, DSO, VD, regarding the sale of Liquor to members of the AIF near the training camps.
District Headquarters Camp Staff
SUBJECT, SALE OF LIQUOR TO MEMBERS OF THE AUSTRALIAN IMPERIAL FORCE FROM PUBLIC HOUSES IN THE VICINITY OF CAMPS.
The subject "Soldiers and Liquor" has frequently engaged any attention since I nave been in charge of Camps of the A. I. F.
I have given the question of canteens in camps much thought and I am of opinion that on the whole it is better not to have wet canteens in camps.
I have known many instances of men breaking camp for no ether reason than to obtain liquor but such men are only a small minority and I would not establish a canteen to satisfy the cravings of these soldiers.
In the camps of the A. I. F. there are many young soldiers who have never touched liquor. These men, if a canteen were established in camp, would sooner or later acquire a taste for stimulants. A soldier's life in Camp is such that many young men of weak moral fibre cannot resist the jeers of comrades levelled at them if they decline to take the daily pint if such can be obtained in camp. Therefore I would not put temptation in their way. Many other men who, in civil life have been accustomed to take at least some stimulants during the day, feel the deprivation keenly on first joining the camp, but soon become accustomed to doing without. Many of them assure me that they have been glad of the opportunity to break off the habit.
The treating of soldiers by civilians is a frequent cause of trouble. Many men become intoxicated through the mistaken kindness of friends, If it were made a misdemeanour to treat any man in uniform or known to be a soldier it would have a good effect.
Picketing of hotels in the metropolitan area is out of the question owing to their number. Hotels in the vicinity of camps have, in numerous instances, been placed out of bounds with good effect, but it takes quite a numerous force of men to make efficient any such measures.
More effect would be obtained by regulations prohibiting the sale of Liquor to any soldier at all under the influence of drink, and the closing of any stab hotel to soldiers where a conviction has been obtained, would make a licenses careful about offending.
Keeping liquor out of camps is a matter of camp discipline and a strong hand, vigilance, and frequent raids and heavy penalties keeps such traffic within a small compass.
Biography of Joseph Francis Humphris, DSO, VD
War Diaries and Letters
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Further Reading:The Battle of Central Station, New South Wales, 14 February 1916, Roll of Honour
Citation: The Battle of Central Station, New South Wales, 14 February 1916, Humphris Letter, 25 September 1915