It's wonderful what you can find at the local fete. Last week I picked up a little cloth-covered book called A Rough Y.M. Bloke by Frank Grose, without any idea of what it was likely to be about. I discovered an interesting tale by Grose who embarked as a YMCA representative with the honorary rank of 2nd Lieutenant on the Marathon on 9 May 1917. Above is an illustration for the book by Daryl Lindsay, depicting the proximity to the front line of the YMCA support services.
This further drawing used in the book depicts Frank Grose pushing up to the Field Artillery emplacements fully laden with cigarettes, matches and newspapers to keep up the morale of the troops. The bad roads made pedalling very hard work. Supporting the troops with warm drinks as they came out of the trenches was much appreciated by them. YMCA canteens could also be found in Paris and France for troops on leave to get a drink, read a newspaper, or write letters home. James Anderson wrote a letter to his little daughter on YMCA notepaper.
The little book by Grose gives a useful account of the sort of work done by YMCA blokes both close to the front line, and behind the lines in France and England, particularly after the Armistice.
The book also contains a roll of honour of the Officers, NCOs and men of the 1st Divisional Artillery AIF who fell in the war, but it appears to include only enlistees from New South Wales.
I have created a number of local history projects for which you will find links on this blog. I am a community historian (ie, not paid) living in Essendon. The content of my Empire Called database (see the link to the PBWorks website) is the result of nearly 25 years' research. I began collecting material for the database of local WW1 volunteers in the early 1990s, beginning with hand transcriptions of Honour Boards in local schools, churches, clubs and so on. It was after this that the National Archives of Australia began making digitised service records available online, followed by the Australian War Memorial uploading Embarkation Rolls of the Australian Imperial Force. The Empire Called blog is a companion for the PBWorks website of the same name.
Time Travellers in Essendon and Flemington is set up in the same way, with a website and a blog to report additions to the website. The website is a vehicle to publish longer pieces of research that are too long for newsletters. It also includes various indexes I have worked on for many years, plus photos from various sources which I date and describe in greater detail. You may find something of use for your research.