Alternative Name(s): Postal Packaging, Field Post Wrapping

Stained piece of white cloth with markings and hand-writing. A postmark indicates it was used to wrap an item for (or on behalf of) Sapper A. G. F. Galbraith; his details are written on the cloth: '36 48 Sap Galbraith 3 Section 5th Divisional Sig Co AE. A.I.F'

Sapper Alfred George Finlay (aka Finley) Galbraith began his military service as a Senior Cadet in January 1911 at the age of 16, undertaken while training to be an 'electric fitter' then working as an electrician. He enlisted in the Australian Army at Broadmeadows the age of 20 years, on 15 July 1915 - service #3648. Alfred's father gave written permission for him to join 'the Military Forces to serve the Empire abroad'. The army utilised his existing skills and, after signals training at Broadmeadows (14/09/1915), he was made a Sapper in the Signal Engineers (October 1915). Sappers were responsible for running out cable in shallow trenches for wire and radio communications. Alfred was placed in the 2nd Division Signals Company, Australian Engineers. He embarked from Melbourne on 23 November 1915 on the 'Ceramic', bound for Egypt. As he was leaving he thought of his little brother, and said to his family 'Don't let the little bloke forget me'. His family never forgot those words.

Alfred arrived in time for Christmas and soon joined the 5th Division in its Signal Company. The new Division was trained at Tel-el-Kibir and held a section of the Suez Canal defences. In June 1916, the 5th Division sailed to Marseilles and travelled by train north to Hazebrouck, France. On 15 July 1916, the 5th Division took over a section of the front near Fleurbaix known as the 'nursery', favoured as a place to introduce and initiate troops to the trenches. At 8pm, on his first day at the front, Alfred received a wound in the thigh and a 'penetrating wound in the neck' from an exploding shell whilst moving from one dugout to another, and 'lived but a few minutes'. It had been less than a month since he had arrived in France and a year to the day since he had enlisted. Alfred and a man near him were probably the first soldiers of the 5th Division to be killed on the Western Front.

Alfred was buried in the Sailly-sur-la-Lys Canadian Cemetery, France, by Reverend W. Meredith Holiday. Two diaries were amongst his belongings that were sent to his father, who never forgave himself for his son's death.

Physical Description

Folded, rectangular, white cloth with dark stains. Post mark on paper stuck on one side, handwriting in blue ink on the other. Blue pencil markings. Two straight, red lines.

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