WWI in the Herald: February 6, 1915

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We had an enthusiastic meeting of men here on Thursday night to form a rifle company in view of the defence of our homes in Australia, which are now being defended by a strong contingent of our best men – men to whom home and country are of more account than the fighting stadium or the football field and over 60 of all sections of the community gave in their names. But there is one item of defence I would like to mention, and that is teach our women to shoot, one and all, and the shooting of the men will improve as the children grow up, and pen rifle accidents will become rarer as the boys begin to know the danger and uses of firearms. Napoleon the first said many times, and others before him, “Educate the mothers of France, and the Frenchmen will be well taught.” He only repeated the maxims of the ancients, who well understood psychological influence under some other name. I would suggest that a woman’s club of miniature rifle shots be formed, and if any number of ladies from 15 years of age upwards will form such a club I am willing to teach the feminine eye how to shoot, and can give them two or three afternoons a week at a miniature rifle range to be selected. If the idea takes on with our wives and sisters, you have my permission to give them my name and address. I will also assist in forming such a club.

I am, etc., Rifle, Toronto.

Mr. Hughes, the Attorney-General, in reply to a question, said that as far as he knew no naturalised persons had been employed in any capacity on troopships. He believed that all members of the crew were Britishers.

Entirely new and most important work is to be undertaken shortly by the Commonwealth Aviation Corps at Point Cook, near Melbourne. On February 10, eight permanent staff and artillery officers will start a course of training as observers, and will carry out observation flights across country for some weeks. They will have nothing to do with the actual piloting and flying of aeroplanes, but will be taken as passengers, and will direct their attention solely to the country beneath them. In all probability bodies of troops will be employed to be reconnoitred, and each officer will have a special parallelogram of country to report upon, working as though he were upon active service. Work of this kind requires highly specialised training. It is this training which will be given to the officers at Point Cook during the next few weeks. On March 10 also, a fresh three months’ pilotage course will start. This is the ordinary flying course – training of officers in actual management of an aeroplane. A number of prominent airmen in Great Britain have written to the Defence Department, requesting that they be allowed to join the Commonwealth Aviation Corps when the war is over.

Paris, Friday.

The following communique was issued yesterday:-

Our artillery repulsed a big attack at Notre Dame de Lorette, and destroyed several blockhouses in the Albert region.

We also recaptured a position momentarily held by the enemy north of Massiges, in the Argonne.

Amsterdam, Thursday.

Cabrinovic, Janovic, and Illio, the accomplices of the youth Prinzip, who in June last year assassinated the Archduke Francis Ferdinand, have been executed at Sarajevo.

Cairo, Friday.

The enemy advanced on Toussoun at daybreak on Wednesday.

Their artillery bombarded Toussoun and Derapaum. Our artillery and also the ships in the Canal replied.

The enemy, falling to cross the Canal, retired at 3 o’clock in the afternoon.

The casualties included eight officers killed.

Six batteries and 1200 Turks participated in the attack on Kantara. Twenty five were taken prisoners.

The Turks attempted to cross the Canal at Toussoun on rafts on Wednesday, but were repulsed with heavy losses, 252 being taken prisoners.

Two British officers and thirteen men were killed and 58 wounded.

The enemy was repulsed at Kantara, 21 being killed and many wounded.

The British wounded included a few of the Egyptian Field Artillery near Sera, who behaved with splendid courage.

Two thousand Turks were discovered entrenched near Ismalia, 800 yards from the British line. Intermittent firing took place.

The Turks attacked the British outposts at El Kantara early in the morning, but were quickly driven off, losing 29 killed, 25 wounded, and 36 prisoners. A British officer and 28 Indian troops were killed or wounded.

The Turkish prisoners were marched through the streets of Cairo roped together. Some of the deserters belonged to a body of irregulars forcibly impressed from the Bedouins in Southern Palestine by Mustaz Pasha, Enver Bey’s former aide-de-camp, who was imprisoned for murdering a brother officer at Salonica. Mustaz escaped, and became a highwayman in Palestine. He is now the leader of the Turkish advance.

Cairo, Friday.

The fighting did not affect the through shipping traffic, and the railways are working as usual.

There was heavy firing close to the Canal on Wednesday, and the pilot of a vessel passing through was wounded.

The Turkish Army is experiencing great difficulties with its transport. Many of the camels are dying, and others are being brought from Asia Minor to take their places.

It is stated that Colonel von Kressentein is with the invading forces.

During the fight at Kantara 250 prisoners were taken by the British. The prisoners look more like ragamuffins than soldiers.

Melbourne, Friday.

Senator Pierce, the Minister for Defence, today received the following cable message from Major-General Sir John Maxwell, Commander-in-Chief, in Egypt:-

‘The Australian engineers are now employed on the canal defences. They have been under fire, and comported themselves as you would wish them to.”

London, Thursday.

Reuter’s Buenos Ayres correspondent reports that H.M.A.S. Australia has sunk a German liner, of the Woermann line, off Patagonia.

The crew of the liner were conveyed to the Falkland Islands.

An officer of the Australia, in a letter, states that they sighted the steamer on the Brazilian coast on the 6th January at a distance of twelve miles, and chased her for five hours, when she surrendered. Her crew of 99 were taken off.

Two 12-inch shells were fired into the superstructure, and two four-inch shells below the water-line. The steamer sunk in 25 minutes. Her cargo was worth a quarter of a million pounds.

Melbourne, Friday.

The Imperial Government have accepted an offer of a third Commonwealth contingent of 10,000 men, to be available in April.

With previous contingents and reinforcements at the rate of 4000 per month, the approximate total sent by the end of April will be 60,000.

Private William Raymond Law, Lambton, 2nd Infantry Battalion, Egypt

(From Embarkation Rolls)

Private Edward Lawton, Newcastle, 2nd Australian Light Horse Regiment, 5th Reinforcements

Private Joseph Maxwell, West Maitland, 18th Infantry Battalion

Private Robert Smith, Dora Creek, 18th Infantry Battalion

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