Sappers undertook a variety of military engineering
duties such as bridge-building, laying or clearing minefields,
demolitions, field defences and general construction, including roads.
The sappers provided much of the infrastructure necessary for the
infantry to do its job effectively. On the Western Front, sappers also
dug many of the narrow trenches that pointed towards the enemy’s line
(‘saps’). This, of course, was very dangerous work. In the above photo the sapper on the left was helping to load a howitzer. Rod Martin tells the story of Sapper Ernie Nickelson of Ascot Vale, who died of wounds in 1917.
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.