This blog is a companion to the Database of Volunteers of Essendon and Flemington

Friday, May 20, 2016

A Sapper at work

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.