Who wrote this letter?
During the First World War, many soldiers came from Australia and India to fight alongside British troops. This letter is from Australian soldier Harold Arthur Browett, a Private in the 3rd Field Ambulance division, to Austen Chamberlain, Secretary of State for India 1915-1917. In the letter, Browett says thank you for the assistance received during a battle in the Gallipoli campaign.
Friendships across countries
Harold Arthur Browett describes the much needed boost to the Australian soldiers’ spirits that Indian soldiers’ help gave. Through a simple act of sharing tea and cake, connections were made between men who may never have met were it not for the war. Browett speaks of the ‘binding friendship’ that he felt existed between the two nationalities because of their shared experiences.
22nd August ’15.
Secretary of State for India,
I read with intense interest a cutting from one of the daily papers praising the 14th Mountain Battery which supported us, the 3rd Australian Infantry Brigade, at Gaba Tepe in the small hours of Sunday morning April 25th.
I feel it my duty, only as a private, to write & tell you of the splendid assistance your ambulance men gave our Medical Corps on more than one occasion.
All Australians were fascinated by the cool work done by the Battery which aided us so much, & stirred us to feeling which words cannot convey by the loyal help they gave us when we were in need of it.
There was a fine exhibition of the true empire spirit [around among] the camp fire – we would collect sticks for a fire & they would make Chupatee? cakes & I can tell you that in that valley of death, those cakes with jam between them went well.
I wish you to know that whenever we meet those grand & game soldiers of India, Australians will extend an open hand of binding friendship.
H. Arthur. Browett.
3rd Field Ambulance,
Australian Army Medical Corps.
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