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Bound for war


Following Australia’s commitment of troops to the First World War, the Government leased 28 ships from various sources to transport soldiers, horses and equipment for active service abroad.

Amongst photographs in the Jeffery Album, which was donated to Local Studies last year, is one of HMAT (His Majesty‚Äôs Australian Transport) A14 Euripides, above, probably taken when the ship left Sydney on the 9 September 1916. The photographer, Private Henry (Harry) Jeffery of Five Dock was on the ship. There’s another photograph of him in the album on board HMAT Euripides, together with a newspaper clipping showing Harry and his fellow soldiers excercising.

HMAT Euripides took seven weeks to reach Plymouth. There was a stopover at Durban where, Harry noted in a letter, ‘[had] a good feed and we needed it too after the tack on board consisting of frozen meat … no vegetables at all only spuds and haricot beans’. Otherwise, he drily noted, ‘all we saw on the way over was a whale now and again’.