Diary - Claude Ewart
Diary - World War I, C.H. Ewart, Nov 1915 - Aug 1917,
Used with permissionCopyright
This diary reveals the change of attitudes that soldiers could undergo after seeing warfare up close. Initially a supporter of conscription, Claude Ewart changes his mind because of his experiences in France.
When the conscription issue is first raised, Ewart writes “I see by the papers that they have got conscription in Australia. It is time they done something to make the slackers do their bit. I think we have done our share.” However his opinion soon changes. Apparently reflecting on his experiences in the final stages of the 1916 Battle of the Somme, just a few weeks later Ewart writes “I am glad that they put conscription out because I would not vote to get anyone over here what I would like to get out of myself. All the soldiers voted to let them stay at home if they can’t come voluntary.”
Claude Ewart was a driver in the Australian Army. Originally from Tasmania, Ewart enlisted in the Australian army in Melbourne in 1915. He was injured several times while serving. Ewart survived these injuries, but died in France in 1919 after the end of the war.
a bit but the poor brutes you would not believe me if I was to tell you what we have to go through. I am glad that they put conscription out because I would not vote to get anyone over here what I would like to get out of myself. All the soldiers voted to let them stay at home if they can’t come voluntary. We are putting eight weeks in this hole. I will be glad when we are out of it. I suppose we will have another Xmas here. I was living in hope of it being over by Xmas but no sign of it here. There are plenty of Fritz prisoners working about here on the roads. They are looked after better than us. We were a few days without cigarettes and no matches. Matches are worth money at the present time. We have got a few Francs with us but cannot buy anything with it. The weather has been terrible here lately, rain wind and sleet. The ground froze for a few days. Then the rain came on. It made it in an awful state. The poor horses are catching it. They get down in the mud and have to be shot. There has been a few Fritz planes over the last few days. We brought five or six of them down. I have been very bad with gastritis. I do not know how long we are going to stop here but it will be the end of the boys when they come out of this place. It is bitterly cold. Fritz shells our waggon lines nearly every day now but does very little damage. Received a letter from Miss M Gorrie. Was very pleased to get it. I wrote home to a few friends. I sent a few Xmas cards also. I don’t suppose they will get them by Xmas. Went up to the Bty with water.
Australia and World War One
Photograph - Send-off to the Brunswick Soldiers
Photograph - Brunswick Town Hall Honour Board
Memorial Plaque - Leonard William Telford
Poster - 'Australia has Promised Britain 50,000 More Men'
Labour Activists of Brunswick and Coburg
Photograph - Frank Anstey
Photograph - John Curtin
Photograph - Frank Hyett
Photograph - Maurice Blackburn
The Trade Unions' Anti-conscription Campaign
Handbill - 'The Blood Vote'
Cartoon - 'The Charge of the Would to God Brigade'
Handbill - Slave Conspiracy
The Women's Movement During the War
Photograph - Vida Goldstein
Photograph - Adela Pankhurst
Handbill - Conscription and Woman's Loyalty
Photograph - 'Women's No Conscription Demonstration'
Bella Lavender - Brunswick Campaigner
Photograph - Bella Lavender
Cartoon - Bella Lavender
Letter - Bella Lavender to Education Department
Photograph - Labor Women's Anti-conscription Committee
Religious Perspectives on Conscription
Handbill - Conscription and Christianity
Handbill - Conscription Questions for Voters
Handbill - How Would Christ Vote?
The Catholic Church and Conscription
Photograph - Daniel Mannix
Article - Cause of the War
Article - Revolt Victims
Cartoon - Australian Workman's Burden
Brunswick and Coburg During the Campaigns
Article - No Anti-conscription Meetings in Brunswick
Handbill - Public Meeting Against Conscription
Advertisement - Recruitment Meeting
Article - Remarkably Quiet Day
The Two Referendums
Handbill - Vote Thus Against Conscription
Article - Military Service Referendum Poll
Article - Conscription. Mr Hughes in Queensland
Article - 'Bourke'
The Soldiers' Votes
Diary - Claude Ewart
Photograph - Jack and Bert Grinton
Handbill - Returned Soldiers' No Conscription League Manifesto
Photograph - Soldiers Voting
Consequences for the Campaigners
Inscription - Police Just Raided
Article - 'Failure to Enrol'
Letter - Adela Pankhurst to Sallie Walsh
Article - 'Serenading Miss Pankhurst'
Story education resources
Education Against the Odds: The Victory over Conscription in WW1 Education Resource
The Against The Odds Education Resource provides a stimulating range of activities for students undertaking the compulsory Victorian History Curriculum Level 9/10 unit Australia at war (1914 – 1945). It helps students reflect on the complexities of the conscription debate through a range of analytical, creative and research tasks.
Education Against the Odds: The Victory over Conscription in WW1 Walking Map
The Against the Odds: The Victory over Conscription in WW1 Walking Map is a map of some of the sites described in the digital story or related to individuals therein. Download the map to use it for a self-guided tour in the area.