Postcards from a Faraway War

Arthur Dick’s Postcard collection 1915-1918

This unique collection of over 200 scenic and patriotic postcards, letters and greeting cards, records the frequent communication between Arthur Morrison Dick, a young Port Macquarie soldier serving overseas with the Australian Imperial Force during World War I, and his family and friends at home in Australia.

Arthur Dick was 21 when he enlisted with the 17th Battalion, 1st Reinforcements on 7 April 1915 (Service No. 1538) and he travelled first to Egypt, before seeing action in Gallipoli and France. He was wounded twice while serving in France and spent time recuperating in England before visiting Scotland and Ireland whilst he was on leave. At the age of 22, he was awarded the Military Medal for “Great courage and bravery in the bombing attack at Pozieres” and was elevated to Sergeant in the 2nd Machine Gun Battalion before returning to Australia on 21 January 1919.

Arthur had 13 siblings and the close family bonds are evident in the messages on the postcards that were sent to him and from him. Sometimes the messages were brief, but rather than write one card or letter to the whole family, he sent individual cards and letters replying specifically to the messages sent to him by his parents and brothers and sisters.

Arthur’s collection begins with a postcard showing him on the deck of the HMAT Themistocles sailing from Sydney on 12 May 1915, while the last card in the collection was sent from England where he was convalescing, and is dated 28 November 1918. The majority of the postcards from Egypt and the United Kingdom have coloured scenes while those sent from Gallipoli and France are mostly sombre and in black and white.

The sending, receiving and distribution of mail and parcels to soldiers in the field was a huge task, but the authorities were well aware that communication no matter how trivial was of the utmost importance as a morale booster and for providing comfort and connection with family and friends at home. By 1917 a building which covered five acres at Regents Park in England had to be constructed to cope with the volume of mail. At this time, 2,800 soldiers and civilians were employed to sort over 12 million letters and over 1 million articles every week.


How many people sorted the mail at Regents Park?

Exhibition Theme
View Collection

Continue Your JourneyClick an object below to go back or forward in time!

Scroll to Top