Label from the Australian Imperial Force hospital issued in the name of Thomas Joseph Hewitt. Stamped 'No. 2 Austn. Command Depot A.M.C., 29 October 1917, Weymouth'. Likely to have been a transit label attached to his bed as he was starting the journey of his return to Australia. Marked 'SW Head', it indicates that he has a shell wound to the head.

Thomas Joseph Hewitt, service #1937, was a 23-year-old linotype operator when he enlisted in Melbourne in March 1916 to fight in World War I. He was placed in 57th Infantry Battalion - 2 to 5 Reinforcements (April-September 1916), and embarked on 8 July 1916 on the HMAT Ajana. By December he was in France, and on 23 December was taken on strength in the 58th Battalion. On 12 May 1917, the 58th Battalion was in the Hindenberg Line during the Battle of Bullecourt (3-17 May 1917). The Unit Diary reported 'Enemy heavies shelling area in rear of our lines...numerous casualties occurred...fierce hand to hand fighting with rifle and bombs...[after 4.30pm] sector was again vigorously shelled for two hours...During the twenty-four hours the trenches were greatly destroyed. Almost all the posts were blown out...' Special stretcher parties were requested to clear the wounded, which they completed by midnight. Hewitt received a shell wound to head that caused a compound fracture of his skull, and paralysis to his right leg. He was sent to England and admitted to the National Hospital on 23 May, and remained there until 12 September, when he was transferred to hospital in Dartford. His doctor was Dr Farenridge, an Australian. Hewitt was sent back to Australia on 31 October 1917 - two days after the date marked on this label - and spent time recovering in the Caulfield Military Hospital. He was discharged on 2 February 1918 on the grounds of being medically unfit. He lived to the age of 91 years.

Museum Victoria holds two photographs of Hewitt in hospital as well as several personal effects.

Physical Description

Card ticket stub printed with the Hospital, Date, No., Rank, Regt. Name and Recommendation with handwriting in black and red ink. On the reverse is a blue ink stamp. A hole with a metal reinforcement is at one end. Some soiling.

More Information