Signaller W. H. Pethard, 7th Infantry Battalion, 17 June 1915
Soldier Identified: Signaller William Henry Pethard, Service No: 811, 7th Battalion, 1st Australian Overseas Expeditionary Force, A.I.F. Returned to Australia, 19 December 1918.
Originally published: Bendigo Advertiser (Vic.) 7 August 1915.
Returning to Front
Armed with False Teeth
Signaller Pethard, writing from the National Hotel, Cairo, on 17th June, to his mother, Mrs. Pethard, Golden-square, says:—
“I have to stop here a few weeks longer to have my teeth attended to. I am working at the military P.O., and have been asked to stop permanently, but have decided to go to the front again as soon as I can. I am boarding at the National Hotel just now. Last Tuesday I received 17 more letters returned from the Dardanelles, and yesterday seven, so am doing well. Some of the poor chaps haven’t had letters for months, and we know their people are writing to them. I have been very, very fortunate — 61 letters in a fortnight. Why, I don’t, believe Kitchener himself gets such a budget in the time.”
Writing on 17th June, he added:—
“The dentist has finished my plate, and you should see it. Made for the Dardanelles service right enough. The plate is nearly an eighth of an inch in thickness, and made of some very black substance. There will be very little danger of them being broken. The teeth the private dentist is fixing for me are nearly completed, so I will soon be ready to return to the front. Three weeks at the outside, and then I ought to be on the move again. To-day three boats are leaving Alexandria, one for England, one for Australia, and one for the Dardanelles. Things seem to be much quieter now at the Dardanelles, and they say it is hard luck if you stop one. Whether that is true or not, I do not know. Anyway, I expect I shall soon find out. I am A1 again, and, believe, in better condition than ever.”
The AIF Headquarters Dental Unit. A dentist taking the impression for a gold denture, the assistant, standing by with a bowl of plaster. Egypt, Cairo. (Australian War Memorial)