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Creepy Joe. Even the little boy gets it.

Memories from when Australia Post delivered by horseback. Lest We Forget.

The 19th of April, 1917 was a Thursday.

That's when my great uncle George Claude Ryan's dad wrote to Victoria Barracks, Melbourne from his farmhouse in the tiny Snowy Mountains hamlet, Bibbenluke.

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Back then, Bibbenluke was on a horse track high up in the Snowy ranges.

There were no cars or motorbikes and mail from the town went by horse to the nearest railhead.

So it's beyond amazing that just two business days later, William Ryan's letter was stamped as received at Victoria Barracks, Melbourne.

Even more striking is the speed of the Australian Army's response - despatched the next day.

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The family is immensely proud of the late Claude Ryan MM, particularly after His Majesty The King was graciously pleased to approve of the award of the Military Medal, for Claude's valour in mopping up a German machine gun post at Curlu, saving the lives of his mates.

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Claude didn't speak much about the war.  But ever since the carnage in France, he hated machines.  He wouldn't use a car or motorised tractor - but he loved his two huge horses, which were often put to use getting bogged motorcars out of the often flooded fiord. 

One last memory from my childhood about Claude.

My cousins Gaven, Brian and Jenny are Claude's grandchildren, and we often used to holiday together in the old farmhouse at Bibbenluke.

Our days were filled with riding horses, chasing rabbits and shooting .22s - along with climbing the huge pine trees that ringed the Bibbenluke showgrounds.

Claude enlisted in that showground, along with the post-mistress Olive Allen's son Les.

When I was a kid Mrs Allen was still alive and living in Bibbenluke.

It was her tiny post office that delivered all those letters - all those years ago.

And because of her job, she would have received the devastating news that her boy Les had been killed in action in France.

This poem is about the men of Claude and Les's battalion.

Lest We Forget.

 

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