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19 November 1915

By November 19, 2015No Comments
  • Royal Naval Air Service pilots Squadron Commander Richard Bell-Davies and Flight Sub-Lieutenant Gilbert Smylie are flying a bombing raid against a railway junction in Bulgaria when ground fire shoots down Smylie’s Farman bomber. In history’s first combat rescue mission by an aircraft, Bell-Davies lands his single-seater Nieuport 10, crams Smylie into it while Bulgarian infantrymen close in, and takes off, flying safely back to base. Bell-Davies receives the Victoria Cross for his actions; Smylie, the Distinguished Service Cross.
  • The Methodist Church in Millthorpe farewells Ern Nicholls. Ern is presented with a balaclava and a bible to take with him to the front. Valedictory to Pte E Nicholls
  • The Leader publishes the poem The Slacker by Dryblower (Edwin Greenslade Murphy)

We have read how the best of our bravest have died.
Where the shrapnel cut gaps in the gullies,
How the lion and the ‘roo took their pasting with pride,
Brothers and cobbers and cullies;
And the long years have vanished where all the years go
Since we first saw the rush for recruiting,
When our volunteer valiants fell to the foe
From a hill unassailable shooting
Our boys battled on, but a mighty defence
Tore down the intrepid attackers,
And now, if we want to remain on the maps,
We’ve got to get busy and fill up the gaps
And it seems to be up to the slackers!

Give me five minutes, you mothers and dads,
Who’ve sent your brave sons to the slaughter,
Let me cut loose, on the cowardly cads
Who on Sunday Don-Juan your daughter;
Your own bonny boys heard the clarion call,
And bravely went out with your blessing;
We read how they fight, and we read how they fall
When the bayonets pointed and pressing,
But while the slopes of Gallipoli grim
Goes down the courageous enlister
Does he dream as he gasps on the bullet-torn earth
In a park or a parlor of faraway Perth
A slacker is smoodging his sister?

Does he dream as he lies on the blood-sodden sand
If the stretchermen happen to find him
A sister is holding a rifleless hand
Of the bounder in safety behind him?
Does he think of the father who bade him good-bye
When the trooper’s propellers were racing,
To-day is demanding the wherefore and why
Of one who his manhood’s disgracing?
Does he dream of the mother who wept as he went,
When sorrow her bosom was blighting,
Would be handing hot coffee and cake on a lawn
To a waster who reads with a wearisome yawn
How her darling was first in the fighting?

Did he put on the khaki and march into camp,
Did he act as an orderly greasy.
Did he live nice a Spartan, drill, study and tramp
To let a fat loafer live easy?
He took up the burden the rotters refused,
To keep them in safe billets tamely,
While their courage from out of their finger-tips oozed
He fought for his Mother-land gamely.
So it’s up to you mother, and sister and dad,
And don’t waste your words or harangue it;
Your soldier-son bled on Gallipoli shore
While the slacker enthused on a lawn tennis score.
So when in his face you are shutting the door

Bang it!