James POULTON diaries

James William Poulton

Private James William Poulton, 13th Field Ambulance.

James William Poulton was born in 1891, the eldest son of George James and Elizabeth Poulton (nee Hawkins). He was employed as a nurse at the Sandy Gallop Mental Hospital, Ipswich when he enlisted in the AIF in January 1916.

He left behind his wife Eva and their 12 month old daughter when he embarked for overseas in December 1916. On his journey to England he served as one of the nursing staff on board, dealing with injury and illness, in particular Meningitis and Pneumonia.

James Poulton trained for several months at the Australian Army Medical Corps Training Depot, Parkhouse before embarking for France in March 1917 where he was assigned to the 13th Field Ambulance as a Field Stretcher Bearer. The Field Ambulance were posted close behind the firing line to collect the wounded and bury the dead.

Private Poulton served in the Somme Valley between March 1917 and January 1919, providing support during operations in Bailleul, Amiens, Messines, Ypres, Villers-Bretonneux and Bapaume.

He returned to his family in May 1919 and rejoined the nursing staff at the Sandy Gallop Mental Hospital. James and Eva had two more children, James born in 1917 and George in 1921. George’s middle name being Ypres, the town where his own brother, George Henry Poulton died of wounds in 1917. James Poulton died in 1969 age 77.

Diary of James William Poulton

Two diaries maintained by James Poulton were donated by his son George, to the State Library of Queensland. They detail his journey to England in 1917; life as a stretcher bearer on the Western front and his view of some the great battles fought in France and Belgium in 1917 and 1918.

Now digitised as part of the QANZAC100 project, the diaries are now available online.

Read more:

Marg Powell  |  QANZAC100 Content Technician  State Library of Queensland