A STRETCHER BEARER’S WAR –
The Story of Ralph Goode MBE
By A J McAleer
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‘When we arrived in this part about a month ago there were seventeen of us from Lilydale in the 2nd Brigade, we march out today, not seventeen but two of us, myself and as far as I know George Milne. All the rest are killed, wounded or missing…… such is war’.
So wrote Ralph Edward Goode of Pozieres, a battle that would haunt so many families from his home town.
In 1914 Ralph became the first of many men from Lilydale, Victoria to enlist in World War One when he joined the 2nd Field Ambulance as a stretcher-bearer. Before he left for service overseas his fiancée gave him two small diaries in which to write down his experiences.
Over the next four years he painstakingly recorded what he went through in Egypt, on Gallipoli and throughout the Western Front. What he created on the pages of those little diaries is an extraordinary day to day account of the horrors and heroism of serving as a stretcher bearer in what they called ‘The Great War’.
But his life back home in those decades after the war was to be just as heroic. What he did to cope with the trauma of his war experience would benefit his community greatly and leave a lasting legacy for generations to come.
With a foreword by Dr Michael Cathcart.