The trip to France

Training for the 17th Battalion was rigorous. It demanded a lot of endurance to prepare for war. No long distant air travel was available in 1916 so the trip was left to troop ships.

The Troop Ships

Orders and dispatches were given that Claude would be departing Sydney on April the 9th from Sydney, New South Wales on board HMAT A71 Nestor.

The Nestor was 14,501 tons vessel and travelled at 14 knots.

Image of HMAT Nestor (A71) awaiting departure 2 October 1916.
Image of the troopship HMAT Nestor (A71) loaded with soldiers

The Route

The trip would take them across the Indian Ocean, through the Suez Canal with a stop over at Alexandria.

The map below outlines the route most probably taken by the 17th Battalion to reach France.

Alexandria Egypt to Plymouth, England

On the 28 May 1916 they departed Alexandria on the ‘Megantic’ and arrived in Plymouth England on the 7th of  June 1916.

Image of the SS Megantic


On arriving at Plymouth, Claude spent time in Tidworth Hospital, no mention was made of the reasons for his visit. Whether it was standard procedure, or dealing with some illness obtained in Egypt or en-route at seas, he was discharged from Tidworth Hospital on the 18th June 1916.


From there it seems there was further training and preparation for life on Western Front.

This continued until September where it was recorded that, on the 5th of September, they departed England and landed at either Le Havre and Boulogne.

ART00189 - Australian troops disembarking at Boulogne

From there a train trip took the troops to Etaples where they marched in on the 6th of September 1916. 1


  1. Australian troops disembarking at Boulogne – ART00189 –  Bryant, Charles Australian troops disembarking at Boulogne, 1917 oil on canvas on board unframed: 37 x 53 cm Australian War Memorial (ART00189)
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