This colour printed photographic postcard shows a river scene in Cairo in the early years of the 20th century. It is one of 33 postcards sent from Frederick E Boddington and his brother George K Boddington during their years of service in World War I. The postcards, sent from Egypt, France and England between 1914 and 1917, are part of the Boddington Family Collection. This postcard was sent from Egypt by Frederick E Boddington to his family in Mackay, Queensland. On the reverse side of the card, reproduced below, he wrote:
This photo is taken from a bridge which I cross on the tram fairly often. Generally there are dozens of these boats or dahabeahs waiting for the bridge for them to lift and allow them to pass. We are getting worked pretty hard now and [illeg] means the front very shortly. We will very soon leave here I think on account of large amount of sickness among the troops. What do you think of the size of the [..ffs?]
The card is postmarked Cairo, 1915.
Frederick E Boddington and his brother George K Boddington, as members of the famous 3rd Australian Infantry Battalion, were among the first Australian soldiers ashore at what is now known as ANZAC Cove.
Frederick and George Boddington both survived their Gallipoli experiences, but Frederick was wounded. In a letter to his parents, written from the Luna Park Pavilion Hospital in Cairo, he describes in vivid detail his experience of accidentally running into a Turkish trench at night.
Both brothers later died in France. Frederick E Boddington was killed in action on 11 April 1917 at the First Battle of Bullecourt, and George K Bodddington died on 12 May 1917 from wounds sustained on 10 May at the Second Battle of Bullecourt. A third brother, Charles, survived the war.
The Boddington Family Collection includes the brothers’ medals, death plaques, photographs, letters, postcards and other items relating the gravity of loss for their family.
According to the collection record, the Australian government officially acknowledged the loss of sons and fathers through the distribution of commemorative plaques, ribbons and badges. Emily Boddington was awarded a mourning brooch, with two stars and two bars symbolising each son she had lost. The plaques were proudly mounted on sitting room walls or carefully stored away in the cardboard container.
It is unusual for such a complete group of objects to survive, since they were often split between successive generations of descendants. This archive is particularly special with its supporting documentation of family photographs, letters, and postcards.