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The life of a soldier

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August 26, 2017

Soldiers building light railways for trams' ease of transport at this time in 1917.

The five Australian Divisions had taken part in most offensives since their arrival on the Western Front.

However, Australian soldiers were also expected to man sections of the British frontline.

This meant that Australians spent 10 days out of every 30 in the mud and cold of frontline trenches.

Every soldier was expected to be at his firing step, standing to at dawn when attacks were thought more likely.

The rest of the time they would huddle to keep warm, eat mostly cold meals and endure fear and tedium under shelling that waxed and waned unpredictably.

The second 10 days were spent in reserve trenches just behind the frontline.

From there soldiers provided reinforcements in the event of German attack.

Their days were spent in fatigue parties, carrying food and supplies like ammunition, timber and barbed wire from supply depots to the frontline.

The final 10 days of each 30 were spent in rear rest areas.

This gave the soldiers a chance to bathe and wash their uniforms.

It also gave them a chance to catch up on sleep and perhaps socialise in wine bars run by the French in the rear areas.

Every now and then, each would be given leave for Britain for a week.

Much more common were fatigue parties carrying shells and supplies from light trains that serviced rear areas.

After negotiating with both sides for their best offer, Italy, a former German ally, had joined the Entente in the secret London Pact of 1915.

This week, Britain, France and Italy agreed on the division of the Middle East after the War, in addition to Italy’s other promised gains.

At War’s end, Britain and France would cheat Italy of her agreed share, leaving her humiliated and bitter.

Six-hundred thousand Italians had died, but Italy would gain nothing of what the Entente had promised.

The future Italian invasions of Ethiopia and Abyssinia under Mussolini had their origins here.

Meanwhile, in Benalla this week the Agricultural Society passed a resolution supporting the Federal Government’s strike-breaking efforts.

Samuel Challis, a farmer of Lurg, was found dead in his paddock this week.

He had been cutting scrub all day.

The effort had proved fatal.

Snowfalls occurred at Greta and Cheshunt this week.

The Licensing Reduction Board, established in 1907 to reduce the number of Victorian licensed premises, sat at Euroa.

Each owner had to show cause as to why their hotels should retain their licences.

The board decided that the Farmers Arms at Euroa, and the Muckatah and the Katamatite Hotels would not have their licences renewed.

Each proprietor received compensation.

In the period from 1907 to 1916, the board closed 1054 hotels and paid $1081702 in compensation.

— John Barry, Anzac Commemorative Working Party, Coo-ee — Honouring our WWI Heroes

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