Happy Australia Day

26 January 2018 10:00

Fellowship and friendship is a large part of our ethos at Blind Veterans UK. In our early years, during the First World War, we initiated a range of events designed to promote fellowship, such as social and sporting activities. As is still the case today many lifelong friendships were made.

Australia Day

Approximately 80 Australian soldiers blinded in the First World War were, at various times, to stay at our hostel in The Regent’s Park. The term ‘mateship’ is defined as and is often associated with the ‘diggers’ in WWI. It is a term that conjures images of men providing unconditional support for one another amid the toughest conditions.

This picture is of three Aussie mates during their time at St Dunstan’s.

Alan G Marshall, from South Australia was wounded at Pozieres. He arrived on 1 November 1916 and left us on 25 August 1918.

Ernest C Matheson from Victoria was wounded at Gallipoli. He was with us from 24 November 1915 and left us on 25 November 1917. He is the inspiration behind the sculpture “Woman leading blind soldier” by Clare Sheridan. A cast of this small statue is held by the Australian War Memorial along with a collection of articles donated by his family.

William Joseph Wearne James from Western Australia was also wounded at Pozieres. He was with us for a year and 1 day. Arriving on 24 November 1916 and leaving us at the same time as Ernest Matheson on 25 November 1917. Both returned to Australia, sailing on.

To see more stories from our Historical Photography Project click here or check our Facebook page for our #ThrowbackThursdays.