Astley James Bromfield enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on the 27th of September 1915. The twenty-two year old bookkeeper, one of three sons of an Atherton dairy farmer, was assigned to the 25th Infantry Battalion, and embarked for North Africa on the troopship Itonus on the 30th of December.
|Extract from Service Record of Astley James Bromfield. Australian National Archives, B2455.|
|Postcard (Front), AIF March, Brisbane. Private Collection.|
“If you hold it up to the light you will see a little hole I made through my hat.”
The hole, while only a pin prick and difficult to spot, serves to identify Bromfield as an individual taking part in an historic event, reducing the distance and anonymity of official accounts of the mass movement of troops.
|Postcard (Reverse), AIF March, Brisbane. Private Collection.|
The collection of photographs, postcards and personal effects on display at Townsville City Library - Flinders Street branch and the Eddie Koiki Mabo Library at James Cook University is not a record of courage and heroism. It is not an account of military engagements, but rather of the experience of living with the War. By continuing cultural production of this type soldiers like Bromfield managed to retain their humanity in utterly inhumane circumstances. Further blogs will explore individual photographs, postcards and artefacts, revealing the cultural life Astley James Bromfield as he sought to survive and document his experience of war.