The return issued by the Defence Department shows that the casualties in the AIF to date total 285,062. Details are as follows: Dead, 53,584; missing, 87; wounded, 152,487; prisoners, 3388; sick, 75,300; unspecified, 216. The figures for wounded and sick are in excess of the actual number affected, as many men have been admitted to hospital more than once.
London, Sunday. Germany, replying to President Wilson's Note, accepts the terms laid down by him in his address to Congress of January 8th and subsequent dates. The German reply states that Germany and Austria are ready to comply with the President's proposals regarding evacuation, and suggests the appointment of a mixed Commission to make arrangements for the evacuation. The Chancellor, it states, has the support of the majority of the Reichstag, and speaks in the name of the German Government and the German people. Germany accepts President Wilson's terms. Consequently its object in entering discussions would be only to agree to practical details and their application. The German Government believes that the Powers associated with the United States will take the same position as President Wilson in his address. Official opinion in Washington is that Germany's reply is unsatisfactory.
The Dally Express states that the Entente Governments discussed the German peace overtures, and decided on a common line of action. Austria has warned Germany that Austria will conclude a separate peace unless collective negotiations quickly take place. The Central News Agency states that Turkey has made definite peace proposals to the Allies through President Wilson.
Austria-Hungary and Turkey have informed Germany of their acceptance of President Wilson's terms. The Reichstag is to meet on October 16. Reports from Stockholm state that it was rumoured that the Kaiser had abdicated, but this report has not been confirmed.
The cable messages were displayed outside the Newcastle Morning Herald office, and the news travelled quickly throughout the city and suburbs. Whistles at the Steel Works, and on vessels in the harbour, were blown, the Te Deum was sung at the Newcastle Cathedral, and the bell rung. At other churches also appropriate reference was made to the news. Many hundreds of persons assembled in front of the Newcastle Morning Herald office, where later bulletins were posted from time to time, and received with demonstrations of enthusiasm.
Shortly after 9 o'clock Alderman Kilgour, the Mayor of Newcastle, mounted the steps of the Newcastle Morning Herald office, and briefly addressed the crowd. He said the information was meagre at present, but the indication was that the end was in sight. He hoped and trusted the day would soon come when we would have glorious peace. He would ask them to show their gratitude by singing God Save the King. Cheers were given for the King, and the National Anthem was sung.
M. Poincare, President of the French Republic, has received Mr W.M. Hughes, the Prime Minister of Australia, and presented him with the insignia of a Grand Officer of the Legion of Honour. The President talked of the war and the relations of France and Australia. M. Poincare, in presenting the Grand Cross, greeted Mr Hughes as a man sharing his own views. He expressed France's thanks for the wonderful achievements of the Australian troops fighting with the other Allies, and especially their share in the brilliant offensive of the past two months. Finally, he complimented Mr. Hughes on his vigorous speeches. Mr Hughes said he was proud to accept the honour as a recognition of Australia's war effort. The Australian troops had already strongly cemented the bonds of friendship with the French people, and he hoped that the friendship would grow after the war. Australia wished always to regard France as a friend, and one with whom Australia could trade. M. Poincare had mentioned the warm-heartedness of the Australian people towards France. This was shown by many letters he received, with contributions for wounded men.
The exact nature of the disease known as Spanish influenza does not appear to be known in this country. Sufficient is known, however, to put the health authorities on their guard to prevent its introduction from overseas. It is evidently a very serious epidemic disease. The mortality may not be very high, but it spreads with great rapidity, and in South Africa the population of whole towns has been thrown out of work owing to its ravages. The introduction of such a disease into the Commonwealth would cause a very serious interruption of industrial activity, and that would mean great loss to the community. The duty of guarding the country from the introduction of disease from oversea countries is imposed on the Federal Government, but the duty of combating disease within the Commonwealth is imposed on the various States. An example of that was seen in the smallpox epidemic in this State a few years ago. Although from the strictly constitutional point of view there is a fine line of demarcation between the Federal and State powers, there must be the very closest co-operation in dealing with the question.
Company Sergeant-Major Roy G. Pain, of the 35th Battalion, writing from France to his mother, says: “I suppose you have heard long ago about me being wounded. I received a slight wound in the left elbow, another in the left wrist, and also wounds in the left thigh and left knee. I was wounded on the morning of August 8th. Things are going very well over here, and we have just about got Fritz on the run. As far as I can gather, our boys have not had many casualties. It is simply lovely the way one is looked after in these hospitals, and there is no doubt the doctors, sisters, and orderlies deserve all the praise one can give them. The Australian Red Cross also does good work, and has supplied me with various comforts. They also try to make you as happy and contented as possible.”
Mrs J. Holdstock, of Raymond Terrace, has received a letter from her son, Private G. T. Holdstock, of Newcastle's Own Battalion, who was reported missing on April 5, and who was subsequently reported a prisoner of war. His letter is dated from Gustrow, Germany, on June 14. He says: “I have much pleasure in having the opportunity of writing you these few lines to let you know I am still alive and well, and being treated well. I was taken prisoner on the 4th April, 1918, and sent to Limburg. I hope you received the cards I sent. I am longing to hear from you, and hope to receive parcels soon. Cigarettes and tobacco will come in very acceptable. Do not forget to remember me to all my friends, as I may not be able to write to them.”
The Abermain railway station was thronged with people on Tuesday evening, when Sergeant J. Hunter and Private Archie Miller returned home from active service by the 8 o'clock train. The soldiers received the usual formal welcome, and cheers were given. Sergeant Hunter is the husband of Nurse Hunter, and sailed in May, 1916, with the 34th Battalion. He is at present suffering from the effects of gas poisoning. Private Miller has been away for nearly four years, and has been invalided home. A memorial service was conducted by the Rev. W. H. G. Cochrane on Sunday, in memory of Lieutenant Thomas Ridley, MC, DCM, Medal of St. George, 4th class, who was a son of Mr T. Ridley, of Abermain. He sailed in May 1915, and saw action at Gallipoli and France. He was wounded once, when he received wounds in three places. When he returned to the lines he was there about eighteen months, when he was killed. He had worked at the Abermain No. 1 Colliery for 14 years before enlisting, and was 24 years of age. Another brother, Private Henry H. Ridley, sailed with the 35th Battalion, and was also killed about 12 months ago.
Sergeant-Major A. Birt, who returned home from the front on Sunday night, was met at the railway station by Alderman Melville, Deputy Mayor of Hamilton, and the Coo-ee Girls' League. On arrival at his home the Coo-ee Girls sang Home Sweet Home. Refreshments were served by the league and the usual toasts were honoured. Sergeant-major Birt feelingly responded on behalf of his parents and himself.
Much regret was expressed in Cardiff when news was received of the sudden and unexpected death of Private Thomas Kirk, who received a welcome from the residents about two months ago. For the purpose of attending the welcome, he came from the Randwick Hospital, where he was undergoing treatment to save his only leg, he having lost the other one in France. His injuries evidently preyed on his mind, for he took his own life at the residence of his mother, at Wimbledon, on the western line, when he went up to receive his welcome home. Deceased lived in Cardiff for a great many years, and was much respected.
Mrs T. Reay, of Wentworth Street, Wallsend, has received from Lieutenant W.H. Oldham, DCM, a letter with regard to the death of her son, which occurred on the 25th July last. After tendering the sympathy of himself and comrades, the writer says of Private Reay: “He was of great value to me, was a splendid man in all his work in the trenches. On patrol was one of my best, and when out of the line was smart on or off parade. He was very popular with all the men, and one of them named Endersby remarked just after your son was hit – “Our best soldier in the platoon has gone!” We were on the front line, and on the night of the 25th July your son was on sentry at one of my posts about 10pm, when a machine-gun bullet hit him in the head. He lived until he was got back to the Regimental Aid Post, but died a little later on. His body was buried at a quiet little village named Franvillers. He was buried by our padre, and I have had a nice white cross erected over his grave.” A pathetic feature of the letter is that the writer, Lieutenant Oldham, son of Mr Oldham, town clerk of Stockton, was himself killed in action a week or two ago.
Arrangements are well In hand for the big effort to be made in Newcastle on Friday and Saturday, November 1 and 2, in aid of Jack's Day. Fifty one battleship stalls are to be placed in Hurter Street, the patriotic bodies and school children will form a procession in the afternoon, and in the evening the fire brigades will turn out. Concerts will also be held. On Saturday the Chinese procession will be the chief attraction. A beach carnival will also be held, and in the evening there is to be a fireworks display. A garden fete will be held in the Mental Hospital grounds, Watt Street, this coming Saturday afternoon, under the auspice of the Newcastle Red Cross Society. The effort is in aid of “Jack's Day” funds, and there will be two sessions, at 2.30 and 7.30pm. The principal attraction for the afternoon will be a display of marching, squad drill, and stretcher and ambulance work by the VADs, Naval Cadets, and Boy Scouts.
Mary Ann May Martin, Martinsville; Lancelot James Matthews, Cooks Hill; Catherine Bevan Thomas, Pelaw Main; Gertrude Gordon Wilkinson, Hamilton.
Pte Abner Anderson, Stockton; Pte James Stanley Fouracre, Newcastle; Pte Fred Matthew Greenhalgh, Warkworth; Sapper Felix Charles McDermott, East Maitland; Pte George Munn, Denman; Pte James Elia Bertram Peisley, Singleton; Pte John Jacob Stoops, Merewether; Pte Bedwell William Surman, Jesmond; Driver William John White, Wickham.
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