Background : Repatriated to Australia on M.V. Highland Chieftain. Recent photo was taken circa 1990. Letter from Harold Murray Hamilton to Basil Pugh. He mentions Stuart “Snow” Haldane, who was a great friend of Basil’s. Basil and Snow remained in contact until Snow’s death in 1998.
A message from Lyn (his daughter) re the Middle East campaign: I wish to set the record straight (and I am sure Dad would too) where Dad’s name is mentioned in the description of the action at Balate Ridge on 27/06/1941. In reply to a letter (see above) written to him in 1992 by Harold Murray Hamilton regarding the incident he stated: “....I was not the person Ed Aitken named in his account of the History of the 2/2 Pioneer Btn. At that time I was back in Palestine after being injured in a truck collision on the way into Syria with DON Coy., and I don’t know who the person of 12 Platoon was.” (He has also underscored the passage describing the action in his copy of the Btn. History on page 56 and has written emphatically ‘not me’!) Though probably not possible now, it would be good if the right person received the credit for this brave action.
Dad’s service records show he was injured early in June and was evacuated to 7 Aust Gen Hosp., and appears not to have returned to D Coy until early July, where he states in his memoirs that he was attached to the Quartermaster Supply under the command of Wally Peeler VC, carrying hot food to the troops. He does not mention being involved in direct combat, and carried out clerical and payroll duties, punctuated by hospitalisation on at least two more occasions, with sandfly fever and dysentery. He was promoted to Lance Corporal during this time.
A little piece about his enlistment from his memoirs: Our Company’s Quartermaster was Wally Peeler VC (WW1) who eventually survived the war and the P.O.W. years and was Custodian at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne. When I lined up in my first hours of camp life at the Quartermaster’s store for bedding etc., I was to receive a palliasse, which was a hessian bag filled with straw. The ones we got had been used by the 6th Division which was on active service in Africa at the time. When I turned my palliasse over it had in bold letters the words: ‘BUGLE ASS’. Someone must have thought this was appropriate for a chap named Pugh.