Summary

Black-covered diary of Driver C. H. Ewart, 10th Battery, 4th FAB (Field Artillery Brigade), AIF (Australian Imperial Force), 13 March 1916 - August 1917. The diary is recorded in two notebooks, of which this is the second. The diary records Driver Ewart's voyage from Egypt to France, and his service in France with the 10th Battery. Ewart records his thoughts on conscription in Australia, tanks on the Western Front, on leave in England, the death of his horses from shell fire and his engagement in battles at the Somme and Flanders in France and Belgium. A transcription of the diary is attached.

Claude Harold Ewart, regimental number 6940, was born in Launceston, Tasmania, and was a 27-year-old driver when he enlisted in the Army on 14 August 1915. He embarked at Melbourne on the HMAT 'Wiltshire' on 18 November 1915. After three months in Egypt, he was shipped to Marseille, France, arriving 19 March 1916 and then moving to the front. On 17 February 1918 he was injured when kicked by a horse, and on 5 March 1918 he was admitted to the Military Hospital, Frensham Hill, suffering contusion of the elbow. On 31 July he was admitted to Sutton Veny. Military Hospital suffering 'ICT' of the right elbow. He was discharged 29 September 1919. In March 1945 his military records were amended to read 'Died after Discharge'.

During World War I, military activities at Sutton Veny included a Camp Hospital, 1st Training Battalion, 1st Command Depot and no.2 Concentration Group. An Australian War Commission graveyard is now located there.

Physical Description

Diary with lightweight cardboard cover, covered with black textured paper to give the appearance of leather, with rounded corners. A cloth band to mark pages is attached to the cover. Hand-written entries in purple pencil on lined paper.

Significance

Personal diaries provide a valuable insight into the daily life in the Australian armed forces. Some diarists record the mundane routines of daily life in military camps, or ports visited during voyages on transport ships; others provide graphic details of battles and medical treatments. Welcome letters and parcels from home are described, and friendships are recorded. Many soldiers complain about the food, or record welcome or festive meals such as Christmas. The diaries show many of the ways service men and women coped with the discipline, stress and tragedy of war.

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