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.