A letter from the front

This month marks the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Beersheba and to mark the anniversary of the battle the Tribune is revisiting a letter from a soldier who fought in the battle that was published in the newspaper in 1917.

The letter was written by Walter Frick, who used to work for the Kaden family, on September 4, 1917, when he was in Palestine serving in World War I.

Little did he know, he would be injured in the Battle of Beersheba on October 31.

By the time the letter was printed in December, he was in hospital in Cairo fighting for his life.

He was cesevaced from Beersheba on a camel ambulance – a system of having a litter slung on both sides of a camel and troopers were loaded up and moved. It was either that or a rickety wooden wheeled ambulance cart.

Part of the letter published in the Tribune in 1917.

Part of the letter published in the Tribune in 1917.

Private Frick’s granddaughter, Julie Frick of Port Pirie, will travel to Turkey and Israel this month to commemorate the event.

Ms Frick will join a tour group that will travel to Gallipoli and attend the re-enactment of the Beersheba charge.

“Beersheba was my grandpa’s last battle as a Light Horseman, before he got injured,” Ms Frick said.

“I’m heading over there to honour my grandpa.”

Private Walter Frick

Private Walter Frick

Ms Frick said her grandpa did not talk about his service much.

“He would share funny little things and anecdotes with us,” she said.

“He was in that generation that was just told to go home and forget about their service.

“My father once told me a story of when some of their sheep had died and they had to pick up the carcasses and put them on a truck.

“My grandpa just said, ‘I’ve done this before with my mates on the battlefield’, it was a pretty dark thing for to him to be reminded of.”

Private Frick was a part of the Third Australian Light Horse Regiment, which charged Tel el Saba to take the heavily fortified hill and rid it of enemy weapons so the other regiments would not come under fire when they charged on the town.

The charge worked, with only 33 troopers losing their life in Beersheba.

If Private Frick’s regiment had not taken Tel el Saba, the attack may not have succeeded.

“My grandpa didn’t think he was a hero but he was my dad’s hero and he’s definitely a hero to me,” Ms Frick said.

Ms Frick will also spend Remembrance Day in Germany.