Postcards home

When Corporal Ernest Gordon Warner wrote this postcard home to his 8 year old sister Ada, he had recently returned from hospital suffering the from the effects of mustard-gas-poisoning.

Postcard to Ada from her brother Gordon Warner

Postcard from the album kept by Adeline Mary Warner, from her brother Gordon (Ernest)

Gordon Warner was a stockman from Springsure, he enlisted in Rockhampton in January 1916 and was assigned to the 52nd Infantry Battalion. He shortly after departed Brisbane for Sydney in April of that year and by June had landed in France.

The 52nd Battalion’s first major battle was at Mouquet Farm in September 1916, it was during this time Gordon was promoted to Corporal.

Ada Warner's postcard album

Handmade postcard album, by Ada Warner

Early in 1917 Corporal Warner was evacuated to London ill, but he rejoined his unit again in September. Sadly in October while in the trenches at Abbeville, he was poisoned by deadly mustard gas. Gordon was evacuated to a casualty clearing station and then England to convalesce.

Rear of card, written by Gordon Warner

Gordon wrote to Ada from France, 1918

Gordon wrote to his sister Ada (Adeline Mary Warner) and told her how the French harnessed the dogs to carts, and used them to churn the butter. He signed the card “I remain your loving brother, Gordon”.

Corporal Warner survived the remaining years of the war relatively unscathed, transferring to 50th Battalion in May 1918 and was detached for duty with the Overseas Training Brigade, in England.

New Year Postcard

Postcard kept by Ada Warner, wishing her family a happy new  year

At the end of the war he returned home to Springsure in April 1919 to be reunited with his parents and six siblings, Florence, Stanley, Leslie, Sidney, Kenneth and Ada.

In 1936 Gordon married Daisy Charlotte Parsons, sadly they only had a short time together, Gordon passed away just 4 years later in 1940, most probably due to the debilitating and lasting effects of the gas poisoning received during his service in the First World War.

Postcard Album kept by Ada Warner

Interior view of album, by Ada Warner

Ada married Edward William Prowse in 1931, and it is her daughter that donated the postcard album to the State Library of Queensland. Many thanks to the family for allowing us to share Ada and Gordon’s story.

Ada’s delightful little album, which was handmade with brown paper, has been fully digitised, and can be viewed in high resolution, from the State Library of Queensland’s catalogue.

Further Reading:

Marg Powell
QANZAC 100 Content Technician
State Library of Queensland