• Philip Percival Buckland

Army / Flying Corps

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  • Enlistment - WW1

    Guildford, Western Australia, Australia

  • Birth

    Shelbourne, VIC, Australia

Stories and comments
    • The Men of the 10th LH Regiment
    • Posted by jaydsydaus121, Thursday, 22 July 2021

    Geelong Advertiser (Vic), Saturday 11 December 1915, page 8 LETTERS FROM THE FRONT LIEUT. P. P. BUCKLAND, Of 10th Light Horse, writes from Gallipoli, under date 5th October, as follows:— Well here I am, still whole, thank goodness, and feeling remarkably fit and well, though thinner by far than I have been for years. First time for a long while my little Mary is smaller than my chest, but it is an improvement. I am sitting in my burrow, well protected by sand-bags, looking down on a perfectly blue Mediterranean Sea, down a Dere (Turkish for valley) covered in green, but just getting the yellow tinge of autumn. An unpleasant reminder of the snow and cold to come. The timber is oak, artutus and what we call a wild strawberry. The berries are big and plump and fine to eat, but the beggars come and pinch them. I have one growing, on my right hand three feet away. If it wore not for the war the scene would appeal to one, but the brutal side of thinks dulls one's enthusiasm. I returned back to the front after being wounded, on the 5th of August. On the 7th, the four days' battle began, and it was hell, I can tell you, but we bagged a lot of territory, and now have room to kick our heels up as it were. I was rotten for a month after my re-turn —a fearful cold and kind of fever, but we had a good cook, and my appetite came back. I found I had my commission when I returned, and I suppose I should feel honoured at the fact of being the first officer in our brigade promoted from the ranks. A pal of mine received similar promotion at 8 o'clock at night, but was killed at 4:30 next morning. The casualty list will have shown you just how our regiment suffered. I am not allowed to tell you, but I lost many true and good pals. The fact of getting my promotion saved me, going away, for, as officers, we have a good cook, and and also a batman to look after us, so I have been well cared for. Our regiment had started out for our present position, and on the way we were sent to a hill to take a trench. Our fellows did it after two other regiments had failed, and got special mention from the General; and it was a fine performance. You can not beat these Australians— what they take they hold, and everybody knows it. Well, at this place they started to shell, and Colonel Brazier and I went to look out a safe place for the men. He had just said, "This is safe; put 'em here." when off went a shell, and shrapnel flew round us. He got wounded in the eye, and is now in England, but I did not get a scratch. As I write there is an aeroplane over head, and the anti-aircraft guns are popping at her. You can plainly see the little white balls of smoke where the shells are bursting after her. One had a go the other day dropping bombs and darts, but, fortunately, there were no casualties. Mr. Turk left us well alone for a few days here, but latterly he has found us out, and the last three days has given us beans with shells, but all the same we are not losing many men — one to-day and two to-morrow, but not in large numbers like once or twice. Well, yesterday, they planked one fair into our regiments office — landed two foot from the sergeant-major and never touched him. Every man has a conduct sheet on which all crimes are entered. Well, these were blown to the four winds of Heaven, much to the delight of the men, but not a soul has injured. The blanket roof of our mess room was riddled, our lamp was badly wounded, and my blankets were also badly punctured. This morning they had a go again — 80 shells before 8 o'clock. We thought they had finished, but at nine they started a perfect tornado, and again no one hit —everyone too well down in his little kennel. They sent some big 8-inch shells along— weight 230 lbs.—but they fell lower down the hill, They are impressive, but the damage is purely local, unless, of course, in rocky country or congested places. The concussion, for instance, would blow a church to pieces, but in open country they are not so bad. To day it is just a year since six of us who were first in the regiment went into camp. Five of the six have been wounded, but we are all alive. They are feeding us as well as ever, and as we got fresh bread and meat to-day and have have had news of a good French victory, we are going, to have a celebration with a whisky for a toast to-night at dinner. There are all sorts of rumors of our being taken away for a month's spell. Lord only knows the men need it badly enough, but, personally, I would rather wait a little longer and so dodge some of the winter. Our fellows have had a hard time—in the one spot all the time. No change of scenery, no towns to pass through and no one to cheer you on, and one sighs for the sight of a decent woman. Goodness only knows how all this is going to end. Of course, we will win, but it is sure to knock all our preconceived ideas of business and finance into cocked hats. One thing it shows the better side of man's nature, and when one sees daily such nobility, self-sacrifice, courage, and manliness, no matter what a scallywag a man may have been, one feels inclined to bow down and worship, those, who are fighting so well for us all. Like everyone else, I would like to see the thing finished, but, in hunting parlance I want to be in at the death no matter how long it lasts. My new job is a funny one. I suppose, I'm safer than most, but goodness only, knows, for one is safer in the trenches than out of them. I I am responsible for everything, the regiment wants—water, tucker, clothes, ammunition, tools, in fact, everything inside or outside a man, and if the stuff is not there, I've got to find it and get it there. As we are now stationary it is not so bad. Everything is well organised, I inspect, the trenches once a day only. On the move, however, things, are different. Wherever, the men are the water, food, and ammunition has to go also, and I have to get it to them. I don't have to lead charges or that sort of caper, though when we are attacked, it is the devil take the hindmost, and everyone doing his bit. It's luck pure and simple, but I've got a sneaking conviction I'm coming through all right, so get ready to receive me as a Colonel — it must come, for I've a Colonel's figure, and what the devil is the use of the figure with-out the rank? Well, I must ring off. I've nothing more to tell you, but the same old blood and thunder business, and one fight, is move or less like an-other; anyhow men get killed and die just the same. Try and get Ashmead Bartlett's account in the London "Weekly Times", of 10th September. It is fine, and I saw it all happen. Au revoir; lots of love to all.