Fighting boredom I: reading and writing on the front
Soldiers spent much of their leisure time writing to family members as well as reading and even drawing and painting when they could get the materials.
As well as conventional books, small often roughly printed publications produced by the soldiers themselves were eagerly consumed. These have since become known as ‘trench’ magazines.
Vive La France!
In September 1918 a French trade mission arrived in Australia led by General Pau. Although the trade and industry goals of the mission were not achieved, it was enormously successful in raising funds for the French Red Cross.
The First World War brought France into sharp focus for many Australians. Throughout the war, concerts and fetes regularly raised money for the French Red Cross among other charity organisations.
Most Australians in France did not speak French. Encounters with civilians were often conducted in a vocabulary of hybrid French phrases and words.
Fighting boreom II: entertainement
Away from the trenches, boredom was the soldier’s worst enemy. To keep themselves busy, they spent their leisure time writing letters, reading, drawing, singing, drinking, playing sport and games, gambling, visiting brothels and being entertained by movies and theatrical performances.