Most recently I’ve been writing up the story of Tom Bulch and George Allan during the Great War years and have finally reached the end of the war and the return of George Allan’s son Willoughby and Tom Bulch’s son Jack (his other son Thomas Edward Jnr was killed in 1916).
I learned that Jack returned to Australia aboard the Chemnitz, a troopship requisitioned from the Germans at the conclusion of the war. I was curious to find out what that ship would have been like and in searching for a photograph for reference I happened upon these photographs taken by one of Jack Bulch’s comrades from the 22nd Battalion depicting their journey back to Australia.
I thought as it’s just over 100 years since the event now, (Jack Bulch set sail on the 7th July and arrived back in Early September 1919) and we’re rapidly approaching Remembrance Day here, that it would be nice to share these images.
They seem quite different to many of the images you see of ANZAC soldiers that would have been taken DURING the war in that the men despite the crowded conditions on board the vessel seem to have the dark cloud of the battlefront lifted from their shoulders and at times look relaxed.
The photographs cover the period from setting sail from England right through to arrival at Melbourne where motor transports await to take them all back to barracks.
I find it quite touching that among them, though I can’t tell which of the men depicted he might be, is Cpl. Jack Bulch whose family story I have been documenting in the footsteps of his nephew Eric.
So here courtesy of the State Library of Victoria, and the Holloway Collection is a set of photographs depicting Jack Bulch (among others) making their way home from the war. I’ll not say any more about them, I think they speak for themselves.