Such was life

Greetings from the trenches: World War I postcards

In 1916, Corporal Thomas O’Halloran sent dozens of embroidered souvenir postcards from the front lines in France to his father, wife and three children back home in Castlemaine. Postcards were enormously popular during World War I, millions were sent to and from those at war and those at home.

Embroidered postcard with message from Tom to his father Mr J O'Halloran of Castlemaine.

Will soon be home, H41584/1

Corporal O’Halloran’s hand written messages to his family appear on the verso of the cards, which were donated to the Library by his daughters and which have recently been digitised. On the card Will soon be home, Tom writes:

Dear Father,
Just a few lines hoping to find you in good health and quite recovered from your cold. I am in good health myself we have had just on two months in the trenches now so we have had a little experience in that time remember me to all enquiring friends trusting this little card will find you in the very best of health…How do you think the war is getting on? Do you think we are winning?

Verso of embroidered postcard with message from Tom to his father Mr J O'Halloran, Castlemaine.

 Will soon be home , H41584/1verso

Amongst other cards are plaintive requests for return letters and a series of kisses for his wife and little ‘bubby’. The below card begins; My Dear Little Josie…

 Verso of embroidered postcard with message from Corporal Tom O'Halloran to his daughter.

 To my baby, H41580/1

And Always Merry is to his wife and begins; I am expecting a letter from you in fact I should have a bag full by now…

Verso of embroidered postcard with message from Corporal Tom O'Halloran to his wife in Castlemaine

Always merry, H41594/1

As a sapper in the 2nd Australian tunnelling company, Corporal O’Halloran was awarded a Military Medal for showing ‘absolute disregard of personal danger’ whilst under heavy enemy gun fire. He returned to Australia in May 1919.

Listing in the October 1919 'Commonwealth of Australia Gazette', showing Corporal O' Halloran's military award.

The announcement of Corporal O'Hallohran's Military Medal in the October 1919 edition of the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette.

Commonwealth of Australia Gazette (p.1497)

You can view the entire O’Halloran postcard collection online. The Library has a strong collection of war resources, including digitised unit histories as well as a guide to researching soldiers from World War 1.

Written by Bridie Flynn, Library Technician Picture Collection and
Paul Dee, Librarian Australian History and Literature.

 

 

 

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