Two Anglo model concertinas played by Sergeant Herbert John Chudleigh, 1 Australian Field Ambulance, AIF. Chudleigh from Ashfield, NSW, was 22 years old when he enlisted at Sydney in 1914, and noted his occupation as 'storekeeper'. However, his Service Record contains a letter from his pre-war employer, noting him as an accountant with the New South Wales Government Railways & Tramways Chief Accountant's Office. After initial training, Chudleigh embarked for overseas service aboard the transport HMAT
Euripides, travelling with the first Contingent Convoy to Alexandria. After further training, Private Chudleigh landed at Anzac Cove within the first 48 hours of the beginning of the Gallipoli campaign.
After the Gallipoli evacuation 1 FAmb was moved to France via Marseilles aboard the transport Simla. As casualties rose amongst his unit, Chudleigh was promoted through the ranks and by May 1917, Chudleigh was a Sergeant.
At the end of the war, as a 1914 enlistee, Sergeant Chudleigh was granted early leave and returned to Australia in December 1918. He was discharged from service on 24 February 1919.
This concertina is the first of two used by Sergeant Chudleigh on active service. The first, he related in his letter of offer to the Australian War Memorial of 1924, 'I took away with me to the war and carried with me until August 1916'. At Mena Camp in Egypt prior to the Gallipoli landings, 'I used to play it, at the head of the column on the march, also, I played it at several church parades (where at times we had no other music) and also at various concerts etc in Egypt and France. I also took it with me at Anzac, where we managed to knock out some fun in the dug outs, during an impromptu concert or sing-song. It accompanied me also to Cape Helles when a section of my unit were sent there and once I thought I had lost it [while there] when our dug out was blown up by a shell. Fortunately I managed to dig it out, all covered with dirt, but still able to get a tune out of it.'
'When we went to France, I still carried the old concertina until about August 1916 when I decided to pension the old instrument off and I sent it back home.
I had it autographed by the officers and men of the unit, and also marked the names of the different places where I carried [it].'
'The boys of the unit were so used to the old instrument that they made a collection and gave me the money to buy a new concertina, which I had sent from London and which I carried with me and used to good purpose till I left the unit.'
The second concertina was an upgrade for Chudleigh, sporting an extra six keys and costing £3 13, as opposed to his first example, which retailed for a pound less.
Both concertinas are displayed in Australian War Memorial Museum.
By Betsy Sandbach and Geraldine Edge
Note: During the second world war some children, often orphans from the bombing of English cities, were sent to the colonies for their safety and hopefully a better future. This story is the result of their ship being sunk by a German raider and the survivors rescued by the German crew. They were on their way to safety when one of the young female escorts died on board.
" Miss Herbert Jones took upon herself the task of accompanying children, through the dangers of war at sea, from England to New Zealand, a measure which it is not for us to pass judgment on here. For her this meant consciously taking the dangers and sacrifices upon herself which war at sea brings with it. I believe that all sailors on board, whether friend or foe, realise that the laws of the sea are hard in themselves, and that war at sea, our element, is inexorable and demands great sacrifices.
When this harangue came to an end, a Church of England chaplain, once an escort, and now a fellow-prisoner, stepped forward and was allowed to say a few words and a prayer.
Then the German Military March "Ich hatt einen Kameraden" was played by pipe and concertina as the body of the girl escort was lowered into the fathomless depths of the Pacific, the loneliest ocean in the world."
Note on Ich hatt einen Kameraden:
One of the most popular German folksongs, written during the Napoleonic wars (1809). Words by Ludwig Uhland, poet, historian, and professor of German literature at the University of Tübingen in his home town. The poem was inspired by the Tyrolian freedom fighters and their struggle against Napoleon. Sixteen years later, the university's music director, Friedrich Silcher, dusted off a 3/4 time folk melody, "Ein schwarzbraunes Mädchen hat ein'n Feldjäger lieb" (which he considered to be of Swiss origin), changed it to a 4/4 marching tempo, and fitted Uhland's words to it. The song, included in his Folksongs, 1827, has been a favorite ever since. It is often performed in memory of the veterans of the two world wars and for the German veterans day observance on the third Sunday in November.
Translation of the Words
1. I had one faithful comrade
'Ere we heard the trumpet's call,
And we pledged our hearts forever
In battle joined together
|: To beat the foe or fall. :|
2. A musket shot came screaming
To seal his fate or mine
Right at my feet he stumbled,
And friendship's shrine it crumbled
|: Around that friend of mine. :|
3. His hand is blindly seeking
The clasp I cannot give
For duty calls me onward
Farewell my dying comrade,
|: Our love shall ever live. :|
Kalgoorlie Western Argus (WA : 1896 - 1916), Thursday 8 April 1897,
TELEGRAPHIC NEWS. PERTH, March 31. City Police Court to-day.
A peculiar accident happened at Albany to-day. The S.S. Cloncurry arrived from the eastern colonies, and one of her passengers, who had been on shore, was proceeding down to the jetty to rejoin the ship. He was playing a concertina, and was apparently so absorbed in the music that he walked over the end of the pier into the sea. After a little while he managed to scramble on to the piles at the jetty, and so was rescued.