Getting Along Alright

Clouten’s WWI English Postcard to Lake Macquarie

Leslie Clouten was recovering from his wounds on 28 September 1917 when he wrote a letter to his parents on the back of this folding souvenir postcard booklet. While serving at the front in France in June, Leslie had been injured by a gunshot wound in the abdomen, and was removed to England, suffering continual pain and rheumatism. The picturesque, tranquil scenes on the postcards were an ironic contrast with the horrors of battle Leslie had recently witnessed

On 24 September he travelled to the convalescent hospital at the No. 2 Command Depot at Weymouth, where he bought the postcards and wrote on the back ‘I am much getting allong alright now [sic].’ Leslie must have surely missed his home and family, noting it was ‘nearly twelve months now since I left sunny N.S.W.’

Twenty-one-year-old Leslie was a Lake Macquarie fisherman and son of William Clouten, boat builder and owner of the Toronto Fish Co. Supply, of Weston in the Hunter Region.

In his letter, Leslie wrote ‘I am glad use [sic] are doing well in the shop. I suppose it is much easier Dad than boat building eh… when I come back I shall be able to go diving…’ He added ‘I think I shall be satisfied to take on anything when I am finished with this war’.

Having recovered enough for active service, Leslie returned to France, to Rouelles, where he rejoined his unit just in time for Christmas. But Leslie’s plans for diving and working in his father’s shop would never eventuate. In April 1918, Leslie was wounded again and died in the field.