The West

Pictures reveal journey to war
Battle drills: Diggers are instructed in aiming their rifles. Picture: Supplied

In some images they can be seen lounging around on the deck.

In another they are dressed to keep dry and warm as rain lashes their World War I transport vessel as it sails across the Great Australian Bight towards Albany, en route to the battlefields.

And in another remarkable image the Diggers are shown receiving shipboard advice on how to use their weapons.

The photos come from an album that had belonged to Robert William Jordan, the father-in-law of Margaret Jordan who lives in Perth's western suburbs.

They provide a personal pictorial record of Mr Jordan's war journey after he joined up, aged 18, in April 1917. He had been working as a clerk in Melbourne.


He sailed from Sydney on the Port Melbourne in July that year as a reinforcement for the 59th Battalion. The ship called in to Albany and then Durban, South Africa, on its way towards the Western Front via England for more training.

In early 1918, the battalion was involved in holding off the German spring offensive in the Somme, and it was during this time that Mr Jordan was wounded in action and repatriated to Reading Hospital in England.

By September he was considered fit for duty again and was receiving further training when the war ended in November 1918.

He faced a long wait before he was able to head home aboard the Kashmir in March 1919.

Ms Jordan said her father-in-law returned to Melbourne and his work as a legal officer.

He married Mary Kiel in 1927 and had a son, Peter.

Peter married Margaret in 1977 and they had a daughter, Nicola, who also lives in Perth.

The West Australian

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