At Work


Anzac engineers erecting a bridge to carry horse-drawn waggons and artillery. (The Great War, Vol.7, 1916 by H.W. Wilson and J.A. Hammerton via J.P. Foynes)

We are now at the Engineer Training Depot at Brightlingsea, a yachting village or town – beg its pardon – on the North Sea, quite handy to France, and on the main Zeppelin route.  We’ve been kept going pretty solidly with trench digging, building bridges, and barbed wire entanglements, a very ticklish job in the darkness and under a foot or two of snow. The snow was at times over one’s boot tops and the cold easterly winds and nocturnal gales cut through to the very marrow.  I was unable to obtain a morning’s shave on account of the water in the taps being frozen.  The country wore a white mantle, which was enchanting in its splendour to me, an Australian, who had never seen anything approaching the like before.

Anzac Sapper O.G. Pettit 1st April 1917


Anzac sappers working on Lee-Enfield rifles in The Armoury, High Street, Brightlingsea (A. Wakeling and J.P. Foynes)


Anzac engineers and British officers at Minefield and Thicks Wood in the area of Moverons, Brightlingsea (P. Moon and J.P. Foynes)


There is a scarcity of potatoes(1/s per lb) which is becoming a most serious problem in this country…and poverty, the like of which Australia has never seen, exists everywhere and a penny here is thought as much of by some as £1 would be at home.

Anzac Sapper O.G. Pettit 1st April 1917