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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

The Australian Light Horse Studies Centre aims to present an accurate history as chroniclers of early Australian military developments from 1899 to 1920.

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Saturday, 28 June 2008
The Australian Imperial Force, 3rd Echelon, Letter by WO Vickery Regarding Amalgamation of Records Sections, 27 October 1917
Topic: AIF - HQ - 3rd Echelon

The Australian Imperial Force

3rd Echelon

Letter by WO Vickery Regarding Amalgamation of Records Sections, 27 October 1917


Page 1


The letter reads:

To Lieutenant Colonel D Fulton

Commandant, AIF Headquarters, Egypt.


In compliance with your instructions I herewith submit a report on the work of 3rd Echelon, General Headquarters, which is to be transferred to AIF Headquarters, Cairo, in the near future.

I have not submitted a report to you before as this had already been done by the Deputy Assistant Adjutant General, AIF, earlier in the week.

Since Lieutenant Jarman's return to Cairo, I, together with Staff Sergeant Long and Stevenson, have continued to avail myself of the opportunity to familiarize myself with all branches of the 3rd Echelon work which will immediately effect us.

The same courtesy and assistance is still being extended us by Colonel Scudmore, his officers and men, as was the case during Lieutenant Jarman's visit.

During the first day or two, I was inclined to think, how little there was that would not affect the AIF, but the more one sees, the more work there appears to be, but at the most it is nothing  very much and I can see nothing that is going to present to us any serious difficulties.

I have gone thoroughly into the work of "A", "B" and Reinforcement Branches of 3rd Echelon, and I have also seen our Australian Records Section Central Registry and Transit Branch and had the systems in vogue at the two latter branches fully explained to me by Warrant Officer Boyle, he having had considerable experience in Registries, having been in charge of the Central Registry in the Public Health Department in Sydney.

I would respectfully suggest that this Warrant Officer should supervise the combined Central Registry and transit department on the amalgamation of the two offices at Cairo, in addition to whatever duties he is called on to perform under the new regime.

In view of the information I have been able to gather regarding the work done at 3rd Echelon and Australian Records Section, and knowing exactly what work has been done in the past at AIF Headquarters, I have after consultation with the Chief Clerk of the Australian Records Section, compiled a list (which is attached) showing the various subjects classified and allotted to the various sub-sections, which I respectfully submit for your consideration.

It will be noted that many of the subjects mentioned on the 3rd Echelon List (copy of which is also attached) do not appear on my list, as many of these subjects are now being dealt with by the Deputy Assistant Adjutant General at AIF Headquarters, Cairo, such as:- Commissions, discharges, transfers, leave, furlough, promotions etc.

I have spend half a day in with each of the Superintending Clerks of the "A", "B", and Reinforcement Branches respectively and have seen and noted the method in which they conduct their correspondence with the various formations and departments and I have further noted all their inward correspondence.

Both inward and out-ward correspondence in each of the three branches is considerable and it will also form a great part of our extra work after the move is effected.

I am attaching to this letter a brief comment on the work of the three branches of 3rd Echelon, which together with list before referred to, may better convey to you my opinion of the duties we are taking over.


Page 2


The letter continues:

To date no representative of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force have reported to the "Metropole" in order to take over the work pertaining to the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, but the Officer Commanding, New Zealand Records Section, Lieutenant McKenzie, (who by the way seems hostile towards the move) has informed me that he is expecting two clerks for this duty to report to him immediately.

I am taking it for granted that Lieutenant Jarman has informed you regarding the fittings and typewriting machines, and if they are going to cause no delay, I consider that so far as 3rd Echelon work is concerned, we could confidently move at any time now, but naturally that should be after the New Zealand Representatives have mustered their work (which should only take 3 or 4 days) and after the first batch of casualties come through, that is of course providing they will be received in the next few days.

In short the position is that as soon as you decide on the date the "shift" is to take place, I can undertake that we can transfer the work, and carry it on satisfactorily, with a minimum of inconvenience to all concerned, and I am of the opinion that the Australian Records Section could move within 48 hours, providing they have been already advised to prepare for same at short notice.

I must admit that I cannot now see where "a big economy in men" is going to be made and my ideas in that respect were evidently wrong at the time the arguments were submitted in order to have the amalgamation brought about, though of course since that time additional work has been taken in hand and more is about to be taken up, such as Wills, Historical Records (possibly), etc, but I do now, more than ever, consider that the move will tend towards greater efficiency being obtained even though a small increase in staff will be necessary.

From what I can gather I think that the authorities here are not desirous of the move being put into effect in the immediate future, but I consider that in the interests of the AIF, I should remain here as well as the two Staff Sergeants who are to by mind both most suitable for the duties at present allotted to them.

May I please be advised if it is your intention and the intention of Colonel Chaytor that after the move, the Sections in Cairo are to be known as Anzac or Australian and New Zealand Sections respectively. I ask this as Lieutenant McKenzie leads me to understand that they (The New Zealanders) are to be situated at Kaar el Nil and we at our own Headquarters and that we are going to work as the Anzac 3rd Echelon. There would appear to be strong argument in favour of each force working entirely independently, but my query is raised only because the information would possibly be useful to me in making arrangements regarding details.

In conclusion, may I further suggest that a cablegram be despatched to "Adminaust" London, asking that all attestation papers for AIF personnel serving in Egypt, be immediately forwarded to AIF Headquarters, Cairo.

Yours Obediently

817 Warrant Officer Allan Kingston Vickery


The above letter is written by 817 Warrant Officer Allan Kingston Vickery and sent to Lieutenant Colonel Fulton, the Commandant of AIF Headquarters, Cairo in Egypt, dated 27 October 1917. This letter is in the form of a report outlining the processes required to ensure the smooth transfer of 3rd Echelon functions to AIF Headquarters over the next few weeks

The letter is illuminating on all the aspects that operate within a bureaucracy such as this. Petty jealousies and a turf war is explained in an understated manner when Vickery describes the problems with the New Zealand head of records, Lieutenant McKenzie, and his expressed hostility to any such move. Vickery indicates in a subtle manner that it would be in the interests of bureaucratic harmony to sever NZ records from those of Australia.

The other issue  raised is the purpose for the move. Stated bluntly, it was to release men for other duties. Vickery makes it clear that he thought that this was an illusion and the new work loads required additional personnel which was sold as an increase in efficiency, an ironical and bureaucratic juxtaposition of ideas if ever there was one. However, Vickery is quite content with the additional staff under his charge as the flow of paper work appears to have increased.

It is self evident that Vickery has had a long career in clerical work, especially in a large office environment. His report indicates a wealth of experience as well as a keen understanding of internal political processes. Fulton appears to be his mentor and guardian within AIF Headquarters.


Acknowledgement: Thanks are given to Steve Becker for additional identifying information.

See: Australian Light Horse Studies Centre, AIF War Diaries of the Great War, Site Transcription Policy


Further Reading:

AIF Headquarters, 3rd Echelon


Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920


Citation: The Australian Imperial Force, 3rd Echelon, Letter by WO Vickery Regarding Amalgamation of Records Sections, 27 October 1917

Posted by Project Leader at 2:13 PM EADT
Updated: Monday, 23 August 2010 9:37 AM EADT
Great War, Military Biographies, 1547 Driver Charles Burns
Topic: GW - Biographies

Great War

Military Biographies

1547 Driver Charles Burns


Desert Mounted Corps Routine Order No. 763


During the Great War, there were many unsung heroes who came to the fore from the most unlikeliest of sources. The story of 1547 Driver Charles Burns is one such illustration of a quiet hero.


The record transcribed:
23rd September 1917

763. Act of Gallantry

The Corps commander directs that a record be made of the gallant conduct of the undermentioned man, under the following conditions:-

No. 1547 Driver C Burns, "B" Troop, ALH Signal Squadron.

No. 7/472 Trooper Moffat, New Zealand Mounted Rifle Brigade was bathing on the evening of the 11th instant, when he was carried out to sea. On hearing his call for help, Driver Burns swam out to his assistance, and with great difficulty, after the life line had broken, brought in Trooper Moffat, very exhausted. The current was very strong at the time and another Trooper of this Brigade who went out at the same time as Driver Burns had in turn to be assisted in regaining the shore.

An entry will be made in the conduct sheet in Driver Burns in accordance with King's Regulations para. 1919 (XIV).


On 23 September 1917, he was mentioned in the Routine Orders of the Desert Mounted Corps for a singular act of bravery.

The person transcribing the story was a little bit careless with his work and mixed up some very important details. The person Burns rescued was 11/1472 Trooper George Shepherd Moffat from the Wellington Mounted Rifles, who came from Masterton in the Wairarapa region of New Zealand. The number allocated to Moffat in the RO actually belongs to 7/472 Trooper Charles Augustus Evans of the Canturbury Mounted Rifles, a man who came from Wairau Bar near Blenheim on South Island. It is a salutary lesson to realise that the contemporary records are also riddled with errors and thus should never be used without scrutiny. Despite the mistake, the heroism of Burns was recognised and well deserved. His other heroism, doing his duty to the best of his ability also finds recognition in other places.

During his work with the Signal Squadron, he is credited as never having missed a single day's duty. All through the campaign, he cared for a pair of heavy draught horses in the peak of condition.


Charles BURNS


Regimental number1547
ReligionChurch of England
AddressBridgetown, Western Australia
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation18
Next of kinGuardian, Frederick S Brockman, Bridgetown, Western Australia
Enlistment date21 August 1915
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name10th Light Horse Regiment, 12th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number10/15/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Fremantle, Western Australia, on board HMAT RMS Mongolia on 22 November 1915
Rank from Nominal RollDriver
Unit from Nominal RollAMDS
FateReturned to Australia 3 July 1919


George Shepherd Moffat

Forename(s): George Shepherd
Surname: Moffat
War: World War I, 1914-1918
Serial No.: 11/1472
First Known Rank: Trooper
Next of Kin: W. Moffat (brother),Craiglea, Southville Road, Thames Ditton, Surrey, England
Marital Status: Single
Enlistment Address: Care of Ogilvy and Sons, Masterton, New Zealand
Military District: Wellington
Body on Embarkation: 6th Reinforcements
Embarkation Unit: Wellington Mounted Rifles
Embarkation Date: 14 August 1915
Place of Embarkation: Wellington, New Zealand



Further Reading:

Great War, Military Biographies

Great War, August 1914

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920


Citation: Great War, Military Biographies, 1547 Driver Charles Burns

Posted by Project Leader at 1:27 PM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 27 July 2010 8:14 PM EADT
South Australian Militia Pay Rates, August 1901
Topic: Militia - Misc

In an article designed to detail South Australian frugality when matters of military pay were raised, this story gives a good insight into the tensions that were already bubbling within the new Federation. South Australia was never in the same league as Victoria and New South Wales when it came to wealth but the hardy settlers made do with what they were given. Pay rates reflected the parsimonious attitude of the governments of the day to its workers.


 Adelaide Chronicle, 17 August 1910, p. 34.

Citation: South Australian Militia Pay Rates, August 1901

Posted by Project Leader at 10:11 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 28 June 2008 11:19 AM EADT
South Australia, Mount Gambier Fallen Soldier's Memorial
Topic: Gen - St - SA

South Australia

Mount Gambier

Fallen Soldier's Memorial




The soldiers commemorated at the Mount Gambier Fallen Soldier's Memorial:

Lieutenant J. W. Powell, Killed at Hopkirks Farm, 12 February 1900.

Regimental Sergeant Major J. McGillivray, Killed at Van Kollen's Fontein, 21 July 1901.

Trooper A. T. Palmer, Died at Pretoria, 10 March 1901.

Trooper A. J. Bennier, Killed at Cornelis River Bridge, 27 May 1901.

Trooper W. R. Ewens, Killed at Reitz, 6 June 1901.

Trooper F. W. Hirth, Died at Kroonstadt, 27 February 1902.

Lest we forget 


Further Reading:

South Australia, General Topics

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920


 Citation: South Australia, Mount Gambier Fallen Soldier's Memorial

Posted by Project Leader at 12:55 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 11 November 2009 1:38 PM EAST
Diaries of AIF Servicemen, Bert Schramm, 28 June 1918
Topic: Diary - Schramm

Diaries of AIF Servicemen

Bert Schramm

28 June 1918


Bert Schramm


2823 Private Herbert Leslie SCHRAMM, a 22 year old Farmer from Whites River, South Australia. He enlisted on 17 February 1916; and at the conclusion of the war Returned to Australia, 10 July 1919.

During part of the course of his military service with the AIF, Bert Schramm kept a diary of his life. Bert was not a man of letters so this diary was produced with great effort on his behalf. Bert made a promise to his sweetheart, Lucy Solley, that he would do so after he received the blank pocket notebook wherein these entries are found. As a Brigade Scout since September 1918, he took a lead part in the September Offensive by the Allied forces in Palestine. Bert's diary entries are placed alongside those of the 9th Light Horse Regiment to which he belonged and to the 3rd Light Horse Brigade to which the 9th LHR was attached. On this basis we can follow Bert in the context of his formation.


The Diaries

The complete diary is now available on the Australian Light Horse Studies Centre Site at:

Bert Schramm Diary

Finding more about a service person. See:

Navigating the National Archives Service File 


Bert Schramm's Handwritten Diary, 23 - 29 June 1918

[Click on page for a larger print version.]

Bert Schramm

Friday, June 28, 1918

Bert Schramm's Location - Solomon's Pools, Bethlehem, Palestine.

Bert Schramm's Diary - Nothing unusual although things seem very unsettled and seems as if we are to go back to the front line any minute.


9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary

9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Solomon's Pools, Bethlehem, Palestine.

9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - Usual routine.

9th LHR AIF War Diary, 28 June



Darley, TH, With the Ninth Light Horse in the Great War, Adelaide, Hassell Press, 1924.

No Entry.



Previous: Bert Schramm's Diary, 27 June 1918

Next: Bert Schramm's Diary, 29 June 1918

Sources Used:

Bert Schramm's Diary

National Archives Service File.

Embarkation Roll, AWM8.

Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour

Nominal Roll, AWM133, Nominal Roll of Australian Imperial Force who left Australia for service abroad, 1914-1918 War.


War Diaries and Letters

All War Diaries and letters cited on this site should be read in conjunction with the Australian Light Horse Studies Centre, War Diaries and Letters, Site Transcription Policy which may be accessed at:

Australian Light Horse Studies Centre, War Diaries and Letters, Site Transcription Policy 


Further Reading:

Bert Schramm Diary

Bert Schramm Diary, Album

Bert Schramm's Photo Album

9th Australian Light Horse Regiment, AIF

9th Australian Light Horse Regiment, War Diary, Day by Day Account

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920


Citation: Diaries of AIF Servicemen, Bert Schramm, 28 June 1918

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 31 May 2011 4:55 PM EADT

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