Dedicated to the memory of all the men and women of Bridgnorth, Shropshire, who died during the two World Wars.

Letter from Corporal A. W. Armstrong , 4th K.S.L.I.

[Bridgnorth Journal, 29th April, 1916]

The following interesting letter is from Corporal A. W. Armstrong (whose home is at Deuxhill, near Bridgnorth), serving with the 4th K.S.L.I. at Hong Kong, he being one of the escort with the German prisoners sent to Sydney, N.S.W.:-

“You will be pleased to hear that we have arrived back from Australia after a most enjoyable trip. Of course, we would all have liked to have stayed a bit longer. We called at several of the ports after leaving Sydney, our first being Brisbane. We were allowed ashore for a few hours, just sufficient time to look around the place.

Then we had a two day’s sail to Townville. When we arrived there, there was a special train on the docks and we had a lovely three hours’ ride to a place called Charters Towers, one of the largest goldfields in Queensland. If time had permitted we were going to be shown all round the mines, etc., but as it was we only had just over an hour there, but didn’t the folks just make some fuss of us! They had a band to meet us at the station, and all the shops were closed for two hours, the schools being also closed. We marched right through the main street into a park, where tables were laid out with biscuits, cheese, and cakes, and as much ‘pop’ and ‘tack,’ or even more, as much as we could manage.

As I said before, we only had an hour there, which went like a flash, and all the people were so disappointed, as they thought we were going to stay two or three days. They said we were the first English Tommies who had been up there.

We sailed from there, and the next day we arrived at Cairns. As soon as we got alongside the quay we found that another outing had been arranged for us there, and, to our surprise, when we got ashore there was another special train waiting for us. This time the journey was not so long, but the scenery was something grand. I’ve never seen anything so lovely in my life.

When we arrived at our destination, which was the Baron Falls, we were entertained by the people of that place. They had got a lovely lunch for us in one of the hotels, and we ‘did’ eat and ‘were’ filled. After that we went to see the Falls – they were grand and no mistake. The water falls from a height of nine hundred feet – a sheer drop, - and when the sun was shining on it, it looked fine – just like huge bales of cotton wool tumbling over.

Then we had a four-day’s sail to Thursday Island, where I sent a post-card from, which most likely you have not yet received, as we were told the mail boat only calls there about once a month. We stayed there about four hours, which was quite sufficient, for I was never in such a dead place in my life. When we arrived back in Hong Kong I think we all felt better for our eight weeks’ trip.”

This memorial has mostly been compiled from official sources. It would be good to be able to expand it with more personal material - memories, stories, photos, etc. If you have any suitable material or any corrections please contact Greg. For news of updates follow @BridgnorthHeros on Twitter.