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War diary of Arthur Oxer
Title : War diary of Arthur Oxer War diary of Arthur Oxer
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Creator : Oxer family
Source : PRG 1175/1
Date of creation : ca. 1915
Additional Creator : Oxer, Arthur Lucas
Format : Diary
Dimensions : 120 x 88 x 13mm
Contributor : State Library of South Australia
Catalogue record
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Donated by : Mr RE Oxer
Copyright : Reproduction rights are owned by State Library of South Australia. This image may be printed or saved for research or study. Use for any other purpose requires permission from the State Library of South Australia. To request approval, complete the Permission to publish form.
Description :

Arthur Lucas Oxer kept this diary from his Gallipoli landing on 25 April 1915 until he was killed in action on 21 August 1915.

View a PDF of this diary (1MB) or

View a 'virtual book' version or

View a typescript transcript

The first diary entry states: 'Landed at Anzac on the 25 of April under heavy schrapnel [sic] and rifle fire had to charge up the cliffs'. The horrific realities of Gallipoli warfare including bayonet charges, fighting in the trenches, bombardment, and deaths of hundreds of men are described vividly by the 21 year old.

However, Oxer's laconic sense of humour is also evident: for example, 31/5/15 'Heading for a holiday down the beach' followed by the realistic 1/6/15 'Still down the beach doing fatigue'. The qualities of courage, fortitude and mateship that are associated with the term 'Anzac' are evident in Oxer's account.

Oxer was a member of the 16th Battalion. His diary also records a poem 'The charge of the 16th Battalion' composed by fellow soldier 'Private Chabrell' [Chabrel] that details 'a hellish fight' in which the battalion 'upheld the Australian name'.

View Oxer's AIF service record [National Archives of Australia]

Coverage year : 1915
Period : 1914-1918
Place : Gallipoli
Further reading :

Bean, CEW. Gallipoli mission, Sydney: ABC Enterprises in association with the Australian War Memorial for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 1990

Bean, CEW. The story of Anzac: from 4 May 1915 to the evacuation of the Gallipoli Peninsula, 7th ed. Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1938-1942. Official history of Australia in the war of 1914-1918; vol. 2

Chambers, Stephen. Anzac : the landing, Barnsley : Pen & Sword Military, 2008

Hart, Peter. Gallipoli, Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2011

Laffin, John. Damn the Dardanelles! : the story of Gallipoli, Sydney : Doubleday, 1980

Robertson, John. Anzac and Empire: the tragedy & glory of Gallipoli, [Richmond, Vic.]: Hamlyn Australia, 1990

Winter, Denis. 25 April 1915: the inevitable tragedy, St. Lucia, Qld.: University of Queensland Press, 1994

Internet links :

Australian War Memorial See: Encyclopedia: Gallipoli

Gallipoli: The drama of the Dardanelles [Imperial War Museum, UK]

Portrait of Arthur Oxer [State Records of South Australia]

Visit Gallipoli [Department of Veterans Affairs]

Exhibitions and events :

State Library Treasures Wall May- 2005



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