Volume 2: Letters written on active service, M-W, 1914-1919 - Page 506
[Authorship of the following typed copy of a letter is unknown, but it was possibly written by a member of the Painters and Decorators Union. The letter writer served with the Australian Army Medical Corps, sailing on (HMAT A49) Seang Choon to the Dardanelles and from there back to Lemnos Island with wounded. Written from Lemnos on 29 July 1915, the letter describes the carnage of the 25 April 1915 landing wounded were received on the writer's ship, and the early lack of treatment they received.
Letter donated in 1950 by Mr Alex M Burt of Chatswood, NSW, formerly Secretary of the Amalgamated Painters and Decorators Union. His covering letter appears on this page.]
[Letter stamped Mitchell Library, Sydney, 13 Mar 1950.]
30 Victor Street
March 18th. 50
The enclosure has been in my possession for some years. I had almost forgotten its existence until I came upon it by chance this morning. Unfortunately at this long lapse of time it isn't possible to say who the writer was, or whom "Kath," Dave, Sam, Dick or Alf could be. "Johnny Norton," I thought at first to refer to the then foreman painter at the Manly Ferries, but which must be the editor and proprietor of "Truth" newspaper, and the originator of the term "six bob-a-day tourists" as applied to Australian troops.
"Dear Bob," to whom it is addressed is evidently the secretary of the Amalgamated Painters and Decorators Union and the typing of the letter from the original script would be done in that office, Bowen's Buildings. Railway Square.
About 450 members of the union served in the Armed Forces in World War I, but unfortunately all record of them was destroyed and their names do not appear on the Honor Roll of the Operative Painters at Trades Hall.
On reading it through it occurred to me that it might be of sufficient historical interest to merit acceptance by the Mitchell Library. The vivid descriptions of what the writer saw and experienced should be useful to you. I do not, of course, know if he returned safely.
Robert Hardy Adam, the then Secy, was a South African War veteran. I succeeded him in office (1918) on the amalgamation with the Operative Painters & Decorators Union
Alex M. Burt