from on Mon, 12 Apr 2004
Hi Elizabeth Janson,
I am trying to find the family/descendants of a friend of my grandfather. He was a soldier by the name of Arnott who fought at Gallipoli in WW1. I noticed you mentioned a John Arnott in your website.
John MacLea Arnott elisted during 1914 My grandfather Stephen Filbey was a sergeant in the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, 1st Battalion. He participated in the disastrous V-beach landing at Gallipoli in 1915.
Grandpa was wounded in the leg sometime during the fight and was brought to shelter beside the River Clyde, a 2000-ton collier that was purposely grounded at V-Beach. While awaiting medical attention he happened upon a fellow soldier by the name of Arnott. The unfortunate soldier had also been wounded, badly, and was bleeding to death. My grandfather grabbed a handkerchief, stuffed it into the wound and tied off a tourniquet thereby saving the fellow’s life. In the course of action the two went their separate ways. My grandfather continued on with the Gallipoli Campaign and later fought on in the battles of Ypres on the European continent.
The Great War ended, wounds healed, many years passed, and life went on. My grandfather married and emigrated to Canada settling in Windsor, Ontario where he worked at the Ford Motor Co. Header plant, played the cello in the Windsor Symphony, and raised my father. One Christmas my grandfather received a letter from Australia – it was from Arnott, the soldier he had saved. The gracious man had somehow located my grandfather. In an act of thanks and remembrance he returned the bloodstained handkerchief to my grandfather along with a Christmas card and letter!
The two men in fact became good friends and continued their correspondence, writing letters and exchanging Christmas cards for many years. We still have in our possession and greatly treasure one of those cards from Mr. Arnott. It is a small card in the shape of the Australian continent and it simply states in Arnott’s handwriting, “ From all at home with hopes of all the best for your future welfare. Arnott to Filbey”.
Written beside the crease is 'printed Photogravures Pty. Ltd / handwitten Manning Coles / Somerset Masylian (maybe Masglian) / Sabatini / Lenard Mason
Santa is holding X / M / STATION / A / S
Sadly, none of the letters survived and unfortunately we don’t know Mr. Arnott’s first name, what unit (British or ANZAC) he served with, and whether or not he was originally from Australia or moved there after the war. It is thought that perhaps he worked for Ford Motor Co. Australia after the war, and upon recognizing a photo of my grandfather in the Ford News or Ford Times, contacted my grandfather.
What we do have is a wonderful story of courage, friendship and hope from a time of terrible hardship and suffering. Oh how I would like to connect with Mr. Arnott’s descendants and share this story!
I have attached a few photos. Feel free to pass this along to any Arnotts you are acquainted with. Any help would be much, much appreciated!
began 1st Nov, 1998.
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