An incredible letter from World War 1 written 99 years ago

Neil Kidd has been doing some research on Lieutenant Thomas Anderson Kidd and shared some fascinating letters he found with Everything Geraldton. Neil is also looking for anyone who can help track down more information on Lt T. A. Kidd. You can reach him by email:

Neil posted on Everything Geraldton's FB page last week:

Geraldton history buffs; I am researching Major Thomas Anderson Kidd (1879 - 1957) and am keen to find out information about his schooling and his involvement in The Geraldton Volunteer Rifles. My first young adult novella; "Uncle Tom's Dairy - A Book of Secrets" was published by DD Publishing and released on ANZAC Day this year. It retails for $12.95 + $4 post/packing; email for copies

The following letters were published in the Geraldton Guardian 99 years ago. They're frank and fascinating and any history buff will enjoy them.

In it Lt Kidd shares of his experience in the trenches, how on one day the Australians and the Turks stopped fighting just so everyone could bury their dead, and how during that time the soldiers from both sides interacted with each other.

You can see it in it's original format online at Trove. Click here. 


Lieutenant T- A. Kidd, writing to his wife whilst travelling from Egypt to the Gallipoli Peninsula, mentions that the officers were shorn of all their glory and were dressed just like troopers. Whilst it might seem cowardly he thought it necessary for the protection of both officers and men. On the 28th May, he wrote from 'My Little Dug-out, somewhere in Turkey.'

He states:

'As we have to carry everything on our backs, besides ammunition, anything we can dispense with is left behind. I have only a blanket, a rubber sheet and a great coat with me. We have no change of clothing, and as it is necessary to sleep fully dressed you can imagine the result. But the tucker is good and plentiful.

Pity they cannot issue sleep in a condensed form; it is a very scarce commodity. Firing is continuous, night time being the favourite time for the Turks display. The roar of the machine guns, musketry, field guns and howitzers renders conversation almost impossible. Shrapnel is bursting over my dug-out as I write.

An armistice was declared last Monday to bury the dead, as the bodies were 'humming in real earnest.' About 3000 Turks and 100 Australians were buried. Our boys fraternised with the enemy's burial party.

I think when you read the account of our boys' landing you will acknowledge they are the finest fighting men in the world. Sir Ian Hamilton calls them the 'White Gurkhas.'

The country is very hilly, very much like the big hills near Woolanooka, the hills and valleys being covered with thick scrub. Our dug outs are cut in the face of the cliff-like sides in the hills. The weather here is delightful.

We are proper infantry, and work in the trenches. Many of our trenches are only ten yards away from the Turks. One has only to throw a biscuit over when the beggars open fire, and play hell for a time.'


On June 4th Lieut Kidd wrote:

'You will probably hear that I was wounded in operations against some Turkish trenches. It was nothing but a trivial scratch. Don't worry.'

(In our last issue we published a thrilling account of this incident, in which Lieut Kidd bravely led an apparently forlorn hope. A bullet grazed his nose and cheek under the left eye, but he was able to resume duty without delay. - Ed).

“B Squadron officers are the happiest family in camp. Have had no mail for such a long time now, but as we are all in the same boat, we consider the mails to be held up somewhere. The Turks are terribly frightened of our Australian lads. We get plenty of first line trench work, but are now enjoying a few days rest. Our first bayonet charge was very successful, the conduct of our boys being magnificent- They displayed courage in its best form.”


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