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Researching the history

What was happening in October 1914?

As soon as we found this diary we began refreshing our knowledge of the Great War and researching and reading everything we could. We also began trying to find out as much as we could about our soldier from public records. This is one harrowing year of a man’s life story and as mentioned before we are going to keep his identity anonymous for now, until we can do further research and due diligence. We did find his enlistment papers which stated he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on the 28th September 1914.

Attestation Paper of Persons Enlisted for Service Abroad. Australian Imperial Force 1914

Australia in World War I

When Australia joined the war to support the British Empire, the government formed a new army, the Australian Imperial Force and recruiting offices opened around the country on the 10th August 1914, 6 days after the war began.

In 1914, thousands of young men volunteered. In the beginning only the fittest and strongest were recruited. Physical restrictions were relaxed as the war progressed and they needed more men to reinforce the units.

This photo below shows men at the recruiting office at the Town Hall in Melbourne. We do know our soldier signed up in Melbourne and we have yet to find a photo of him, so potentially he could be one of these men. Every unidentified soldier in every photo we have found has us wondering.

Australian men at the recruiting office at the Town Hall, Melbourne, to enlist for service in World War I. Photo: Wikimedia Commons via DVA-Anzac Portal

Basic training

The soldiers were then sent to a training camps around the country and we know our soldier was sent to Broadmeadows in Victoria for basic training. There they learnt the basics skills needed to be a soldier, including drill, military command and operating equipment.

Broadmeadows, Vic. 1914. Group portrait of new recruits of the 1st AIF expeditionary force with two women friends relaxing outside a tent at the military camp near Melbourne. One of the men is 58 Private Charles Gustus (Gus) Greenham, 14th Battalion, who later died of wounds on 2 May 1915. One of the women is probably his sister Floss. (Original print housed in the AWM Archive Store). (Donor B. Morgan)


DVA (Department of Veterans' Affairs) (2022), Enlisting in the Australian forces during World War I, DVA Anzac Portal, accessed 18 October 2022,

Australian War Memorial -

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