Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Navigating the Project

"It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and 
belief that human history is shaped.  Each time a 
man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot
of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth
a tiny ripple of hope." ~ Robert Francis Kennedy

The Diaries

To date, the 7th Battery Project has been drawn together utilising three sets of diaries, two of which are personal accounts, & the third being the official unit war diary of the 7th Battery.

The first set of personal diaries was penned by my Great Uncle, 1618 Gnr William Leonard Pacey, extensively documenting his life from the moment of embarkation in Brisbane aboard the A22 Rangatira, through stops in Melbourne & Albany, through Suez, & on to training at Mena Camp in Egypt.  Unfortunately, due to a lost/missing diary from the set, a gap exists between February 1915 during his training in Egypt, before the second existing diary takes over at the beginning of August in the lead-up to the August Offensive & Battle of Lone Pine.

The second set of personal diaries was penned by then Colonel Charles Rosenthal, Officer Commanding 3rd Field Artillery Brigade (under which the 7th Battery fell).  When compared to the official unit war diaries of the 3rd Field Artillery Brigade Headquarters, also written by Col. Rosenthal, the two are very similar in military detail - however, his personal diaries differ in regard to his freedom of personal thought, & on many occasions he pens down his disagreement with certain directions taken & orders given during the Gallipoli Campaign...opinions he would not dared have documemted within the official Headquarters diaries.  The diaries are currently held by the State Library of New South Wales, & are publicly available in digitised format on their website.

The third set of diaries was penned by then Major Francis Augustus Hughes, Officer Commanding the 7th Battery, & comprise the official unit diaries for the Battery.  Given the official nature of the diaries, some days are very scant in detail & only document specific unit action on each day.  However, some days are rich in historical detail, complementing the other two sets of diaries & helping to flesh out specific detail of the 7th Battery's movements.  Similarly to Billy's diaries, the 7th Battery unit diaries have a sizable gap, jumping from December 12th 1914 to April 5th 1915.  The diaries are currently held by the Australian War Memorial, & are publicly available in digitised format on thier website.

As each day's diary entries are uploaded, the individual entries will be prefaced with a small picture of the diarist - this will aid in identifying the diarist & diary source:

Billy Pacey
Major Hughes
Colonel Rosenthal
I have recently become aware of a further two sets of diaries written by 7th Battery soldiers - over the coming months, I am hoping to source copies of these for transcription, & will be adding them to the Project.  If anyone is aware of further diaries, or can provide access to/copies of these volumes, I would be most greatful to add them with your endorsement - please contact me.

Photographic material

On a daily basis, I will also be adding photographic material such as ships, locations & soldiers in amongst the diary entries, specific to events mentioned in the diary excerpts.  Many of these will be sourced from repositories such as the Australian War Memorial & National Archives of Australia. I also possess a sizeable collection of original photographic material relating to the First Contigent & Gallipoli, which has been digitised for addition to the Project.

Where at all possible, full source details & credit will be given to any & all owners of photograohic material used in the Project.

If anyone possesses any photographic material relating to the 3rd Field Artillery Brigade, or especially the 7th Battery, please contact me - with your endorsement, I would love to add any photos with full credit.

More importantly, as we follow the 7th Battery throughout the Gallipoli Campaign, I would very much like to commemorate each fallen mate & comrade as we encounter each event via the diary entries.  As very few photos exist of identifiable soldiers who fought & died at Gallipoli from the above units, I would like to talk to any living relatives to flesh out each soldier's story, & pay tribute to them within the daily updates.

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