Arrival in England 1916

9th July 2016

About midday on Sunday 9 July 1916, the convoy of transport ships, including the Marathon, finally entered Plymouth Harbour.  At long last the 33rd Battalion, including most of the Kurrajongs, had arrived safely in England.   Private Turner recorded in his diary ...  ‘it would take a more able pen than mine to describe the beautiful views to be seen.  Beautiful green hills everywhere … crowds of people collecting to see the transports coming in.’

The Marathon had to wait for a Pilot to come on board and the right tide to get to the wharf for the soldiers to disembark.  Finally a day’s dry rations of bully beef and biscuits were issued to the men before boarding trains to take them to Salisbury Plains, about a six hour journey. 

Corporal Gordon Thomas wrote to his father saying ‘we received a great reception all along the line’.  At the city of Exeter, the train stopped and residents welcomed the men with tea and buns.  Each man received a note on which was printed ‘wishing you good luck from the Mayoress of Exeter’. 

The long journey from Australia ended about 2.30 am when the men arrived at their camp. The serious training of the third division under the command of Major General John Monash was about to begin.

Click for larger photo

Click for larger photo