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.
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.
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.