Mr. Edward Merrell has received a letter from his nephew Bert, who sailed with the first contingent of Australian Light Horse, and who as five brother soldiers, four of whose photos appeared in the 'Daily Telegraph" of the 18th, as the "Fighting Merrells" They are sons of Mr. John (Jack) Merrell, of Wellington, New South Wales, and an old Tenterfield native. Written from Lemnos Hospital. "Just a few lines to let you know that I am out of the trenches after being six months in them, and I am glad to be out I can tell you. It was quite a treat to walk about free and easy and have a good night's sleep. It is not much of a snap to be in the trenches, because the cold weather has set in and there is plenty of rain and snow on the peninsula. I was blown up in a trench with a few more mates. The Turks mined it early on Sunday afternoon and blew it up and I was one with a few more who went up with it. I was blown about 6 feet in the air and one of my best mates was killed, so I was lucky. At 8 o'clock next morning the infantry took the trench back from the Turks, which they took from us the previous night. We captured a few more Turks. I cannot tell you any more about them as what I want to put in would not reach you when the letters are censored. I suppose you will be surprised to hear that Jack and my youngest brother, Gordon have left for the front. I have not heard anything of Clarrie since I left the trenches, but I trust God he is alright. I am attached to the 3rd. Australian General Hospital now, so I will be able to write you more frequently."

The 4 brothers, Frederick, Albert, John (Jack) and Gordon

Albert Edward (Bert) Merrell ....from the Australian Imperial Force, Nominal Roll, 1st Light Horse regiment. Embarked at SYDNEY, NSW, ON TRANSPORT A16 "STAR OF VICTORIA" 20th OCTOBER, 1914

Albert Edward (Bert) Merrell, my grandfather


(By Bugler Gordon Merrell. Wellington C. Coy; 54th Battalion. 14th Brigade. A.I.F.; on Active Service Egypt.)

Can you read your daily papers
And not realise the fact
That you're wanted in the trenches,
To keep those lines intact?

If you can, then you're mistaken,
Though you may not be to blame;
So let the facts get home to you
And go and play the game.

Our lists of killed and wounded
Show our losses very clear.
Can't you go and fill the gap, lad?
Go and fight for all that's dear.

Can't you hear those voices calling,
From the trenches far away,
Can you hear that cry unheeded
While in safety here you stay.

Can you picture our brave women.
And our little women, too
Who are mourning for their dear ones
Who have given their lives for you.

Can you see those picture posters
Which adorn almost any wall
And remain unmoved a moment,
Hearing not a brothers call.

Can you not believe the message,
Do you fail to understand:
In sheer despair they're asking
Come at once and lend a hand.

Can you picture our Australians,
Facing odds of ten to one,
Ruthless, cruel, barbarian aliens,
Vulgar Turk and brutal Hun.

Don't you see that without help
To relieve their awful strain;
Can't you see that without help
A brother man is slain.

Can you picture some old schoolmate
Who, when fighting at the school
Could always safely look to you
A sort of golden rule.

To come to his assistance
When he felt that he was done
Now can you leave him on his own,
Against the brutal Hun?

The battle that he is fighting now,
With your help he'd win,
So don't delay another day
Or maybe he'll give in.

And if he does, God help us all:
God help our women dear!
Remember Belgium, can you
Stand a repetition here.

Answer 'no' for this I feel
You will make response
To bear the brunt on any front.
And go, and go at once.

Your country needs you, every one
The call rings clear and true:
Though some may falter and not heed.
Can you - my lad - can you?

G. Merrell.

By Albert Richard Merrell April 2008


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