Transit label tied to Private Michael Ward's hammock after he was wounded on 15 April 1918, during World War I. The inscription 'To be attached to hammock' suggests the label was used on a voyage, either sea or train, perhaps when he was sent to England for treatment from France on 2 May 1918 on the HS St Andrew, or when he returned to Australia on the D23, HMAT Runic, which embarked on 23 September 1918.
Michael Ward, service no. 4138, was wounded while serving with the 38th Battalion (having transferred from the 29th) during the German Spring Offensive, the last great push of the war. On 15 April 1918 the 38th Battalion was located at Buire, west of Saint Quentin in the Somme region, where the trenches were 'shelled at intervals'. Michael was wounded in action in the legs and hand (he is mentioned by name on page 33 of the 38th Battalion Unit Diary for April 1918 - 'Wounded I/A').
This label indicates he was wounded in the left knee; his service record in the National Archives indicates he had a shrapnel wound in his left knee and a fracture of his right knee (page 29 of service record M. Ward, barcode 8347184) and also a hand wound (page 11). He would have been treated firstly at the Aid Post at Buire, a 'very substantial cellar of large size, on the western end of the village. It is now gasproof', reported the Unit Diary (page 43). Michael was transferred east to the 20th CCS (Casualty Clearing Station) at Gezaincourt, then treated at the 1st SA (South African) General Hospital at Abbeville until he embarked for England on 2 May, where he was treated in several more hospitals. He never returned to the front, and was sent back to Australia in September 1918. His discharge from service was delayed until 20 February 1921 because he was still undergoing treatment for his wounds. Michael Ward lived to 72 years of age.
The label was acquired in a small suitcase of belongings from World War I veteran Private Michael Ward (HT 48377). Ward, service no. 4138, was an unmarried 26-year-old farm labourer born in Eddington, Victoria, when he enlisted to serve in World War I on 26 April (attestation 21 March) 1916. He served in the 29th and later the 38th Battalions, and was wounded in knees and hand on 15 April 1918, at Buire in the Somme region of France. He was sent to England for treatment and returned to Australia in late 1918. His discharge from service was delayed until 20 February 1921 because he was still undergoing treatment for war wounds. Michael Ward lived to 72 years of age.
Paper swing tag label, perforated and torn across bottom edge. Twine attached to hole punched end. Printed from in black ink on both sides. Handwritten entries in blue and red ink.
Front, printed: 'TO BE ATTACHED TO HAMMOCK. / Signature: M. Ward (handwritten blue ink), Reverse, printed and handwritten: 'A.I.F. / UNIT 38th B / NAME Ward. M. / RANK 6/5 / NUMBER 4138 / HOSPITAL .../ DIAGNOSIS G.S.W. Rt Knee '
Type of item
Location of base hospital and CCS: 'The Long Long Trail' web site [Link 1] accessed 2 June 2016. WARD Michael : Service Number - 4138, National Archives of Australia barcode 8347184.