Diary of Major LTO Pedler, MC

Date of enlistment 26th April 1915
Age at enlistment 28
Profession Railway employee
Town Glenhuntly, Victoria
Status Married
Rank at enlistment 2nd Lieutenant
Unit 22nd Battalion

Transferred to 2nd Pioneers

Transferred to 23rd Battalion

Significant events while with the AIF Served in Gallipoli, Egypt and France

Promoted to Major

Wounded in Action – Bullecourt, 26th April 1917

Pedler LtMajor Pedler’s full WW1 service record can be located in the National Archives of Australia. Full details are available online, NAA Series B2455

The following extracts are taken from the diary of Major Pedler about life on board the SS Borda on his return voyage to Australia in 1918, and in particular his involvement in organising concerts. Thanks and acknowledgement goes to Julie Reif and the family of Major Pedler.

While waiting to board the S.S. BORDA, “saw Black there also“.

Once on board:  “Allotted to cabin No.222 223 with a L. Colonel Hughes in the A.A.M.C.  Cabin all very small. .. No room for two to be up in cabin at one time.”  

Thursday Oct 24th: “Played bridge in morning lost 3/6 to Major Thorn no charge owe it to him”

October 30th: “Had a long talk with Frank Lodge re men in Pioneers”

Thursday November 7th:  “Near Equator… Went down into the hold yesterday and got some old togs  to wear in the tropics.  Patrol cap very useful. Gave Frank Lodge a pair of shorts, much to his joy. Not a sign of any foam on the sea.”

December 7th: “Frank Lodge has been ill in bed and delirious for four or five days due to knocking his head.  Probably disturbing old Pozieres wound.”

Nov 2nd Saturday: “Sea calm. Convoy broken up yesterday. We are now alone and going faster. MacFarlane badly wounded leg, says he is an S.M. on Railways. Lives at Richmond. Recognized me. Recognised in one of the nurses a girl who used to come and see  L. Wicks at Wandsworth. Lt Brett proved the identity and said she is Mrs W and is working passage home.”

Nov 5th Tuesday – Melbourne Cup Day: “Sea smooth. Took down a notice which I posted yesterday in dining saloon re vocal score Bing Boys on Broadway. It did not turn up. Men held a singsong on deck. Pianist & violin. Sang a good thing entitled “Joan of Arc”.  Have a very solid day of study. Lent my arithmetic yesterday. Had a talk with O’Connor. He appears to have travelled a great deal.  Wrote a list of show which I saw in London.” 

Thursday November 14th, 1918: “Missed first sitting of breakfast.  First rehearsal of operetta. Cast detailed and parts copied out.

Cast as follows –

Judge                                      Lt Horne
Council for Prose                Lt McDonald
Council for Defence           Capt Rollason
Clerk                                        Lt Smith
Policeman                             Lt Clayden   (this Might be “Clayton”. He mentions Clayton in a few more diary entries as a concert party organizer.)
Defendant                             Lt Johnston
Stranger                                 Sgt Malinder (or Mulinder)
Female Drunk                      Capt Esteel
Mary Grey                             Pte Pisani
Pianist                                     Lt McLennan

Wireless. Germany to pay cost of Rhine Garrison. Hand over railway rolling stock  locomotives. French official that Germans had been driven out of France.  All allied prisoners to be returned immediately. Germans to be returned after peace conference. Allies considering the provisioning of Germany.”

Thursday November 28th: “Bridge tournament commences this evening. My partner is Lt. Barber.” 

Monday December 2nd: “Sea fairly smooth. Cold wind.  Two rehearsals of concert party. Finish of bridge tournament won by Lt Clayton and Brett.”

Monday Dec 9th: “Two rehearsals of party. One on E DECK. One in salon. Operetta performed in evening on E Deck. Went very well. Not much trouble arranging things. Talk about showing ashore at Adelaide. No algebra a/c concert.  A good operatic item given at concert by
Lt McLennan                      piano
Lt McLeod                           cello
Band Sgt Thurling           flute”

Published as ‘news’ 100 years on to the day, follow the 22nd Battalion on the project website and via Facebook and Twitter

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