Phillip Frederick Edward Schuler

Portrait of Phillip Frederick Edward Schuler

Rank

War photographer and correspondent

Roll title

Attached to 1st Division Headquarters

Convoy ship

HMAT Orvieto

Schuler in the uniform of an officer of the Australian Intelligence Corps in 1911.

Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial A05158

Phillip Frederick Edward Schuler was born in East Melbourne in 1889, the son of Gottlieb Frederick, a German migrant, and Sarah.

As part of his compulsory military service, Schuler served in the militia in the 5th Battalion. In February 1911 he transferred to the Australian Intelligence Corps as a second lieutenant, being assigned to the Australian Service Corps a year later.

Schuler was a junior reporter at The Age in Melbourne, while his father was editor. In this role, he volunteered to be the paper’s correspondent attached to the AIF, responsible for photographing, documenting and reporting on the campaigns. 

Schuler was 26 years old when he left with the First Convoy to travel to Egypt and Gallipoli.

Reverend Edwin Bean, Charles Bean's father; Charles Bean, the official war correspondent; Archie Whyte, editor of the Melbourne Age and Phillip Schuler. The photograph was probably taken before Schuler and Bean's embarkation at Melbourne in October 1914.

Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial, A05379

HMAT Orvieto leaving Port Melbourne. The crowd watching the ship depart had rushed the pier. The photograph was taken by Charles Bean.

Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial G01539

Schuler embarked from Melbourne on 21 October 1914 on board HMAT Orvieto, the flagship of the First Convoy. After a five-day passage, Orvieto arrived in King George Sound, Albany, on 26 October.

It was on board Orvieto that Schuler met and befriended Charles Bean, the official war correspondent.

The Orvieto reached Suez on 1 December 1914 and passed through the canal. It docked at Alexandria on the morning of 3 December and disembarked troops. 

After disembarking in Egypt, Schuler reported on the preparations being undertaken by the AIF and stayed at Mena Camp, outside Cairo. On New Year’s Day 1915 Schuler and Bean climbed one of the pyramids.

Schuler took this photograph of a First Convoy transport unloading at Alexandria, Egypt.

Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial PS0375

Schuler and Chaplain Walter Dexter stand outside a tent at Mena Camp in Egypt.

Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial J04104

Bean and Schuler (both behind the stand) take notes on Sir George Reid’s speech to the troops at Mena Camp in December 1914. Reid, a former Australian prime minister, was the High Commissioner for Australia in England.

Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial G01603

Members of the Australian Light Horse in Cairo

Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial PS0463

Schuler atop one of the pyramids on New Year’s Day, 1915, photographed by Charles Bean.

Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial, G01651

Schuler watches the movement of allied ships in Mudros Harbour from Mount Elias on Lemnos

Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial PS1954

As the Australian official correspondent, Bean was able to secure a place at the Gallipoli landing of 25 April 1915. The unofficial correspondents were excluded, but Schuler pleaded with General Sir Ian Hamilton, the expeditionary force’s commander-in-chief, to be allowed to go ashore. With permission finally granted, he arrived on the peninsula in late July, in time to cover the August offensive. 

Schuler stayed in Bean’s dug-out at Maclagan’s Ridge and nursed him after he was wounded at the battle of Sari Bair. 

Schuler returned to Australia in early 1916. While there, he wrote two books based on his experiences of the campaign, Australia in Arms and The Battlefields of Anzac, which were both published that year.

But he felt he needed to do more. He enlisted with the AIF in Melbourne on 7 April 1916, joining the Headquarters Corps 3rd Divisional Train as a driver. 

Phillip Schuler’s image of Anzac Cove from the sea.

Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial PS1472

A view of Brown’s Dip on Gallipoli, taken by Schuler

Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial PS1509

Schuler outside a dug-out at No. 2 Post on Gallipoli in 1915. Oars and boat timbers from an abandoned lifeboat have been used to prop up the entrance.

Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial G00983

A view of Plugges' Plateau and Maclagan's Ridge, where Schuler nursed his friend Bean after he has been wounded.

Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial H16712

Schuler, probably at his family home in Melbourne, before leaving for overseas service.

Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial P07692.001

Schuler left with the First Convoy as a press correspondent in 1914. After his return to Australia in 1916, he officially enlisted in the AIF on 7 April. These attestation papers record that enlistment.

Courtesy of the National Archives of Australia: B2455, SCHULER P F E, pp1-3

The area around Messines was the scene of heavy fighting on 7 June 1917.

Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial E01288

Within a month Schuler had been promoted to lance corporal. He embarked from Melbourne on HMAT Persic, arriving at Plymouth, England, on 25 July. He remained in Britain until he was transferred to France in November.

He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in February 1917 and was posted to 869 Company, while the 3rd Divisional Train, Australian Army Service Corps was at La Crèche. A short time later, his company was transferred to Le Kirlem, and then Nieppe, where he was to be the supply officer for 868 Company. On 24 May he was promoted to lieutenant.

Schuler’s company was responsible for supplying the units fighting at Messines Ridge with barrage rations and pack transport. 

Captured German trenches at Messines Ridge, Belgium, June 1917.

Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial H08723

The area around Messines was the scene of heavy fighting on 7 June 1917.

Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial E01288

On 23 June 1917, Schuler was seriously wounded by a shell burst at Messines, Belgium. Later that day, he succumbed to his wounds. His service record states that he died of gunshot wounds to his left arm, face, throat and right leg.

 

Schuler is buried at the Trois Arbres Cemetery, Steenwerck, in French Flanders.  In an obituary, Bean described his friend as, ‘[a] brilliantly handsome, bright, attractive, [and] generous youngster’.

Phillip Schuler is buried in Trois Arbres Cemetery (Plot 1, Row S, Grave 43) in Steenwerck, Belgium.

Courtesy of the War Grave Photographic Project

Anonymous

THANK you for leaving photographic and written evidence of this horrendous time. Let's hope it will serve as a reminder to all NEVER to do this again.

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Anonymous

Thanks for the photos so this great war is never forgotten.

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isaiah thomas

Thank you for fighting for this land.

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Anonymous

I am truly sorry you did not survive the war. However you left an amazing legacy of writing two books about the war. I will try to find them to read.

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max charlesworth

Thank you for everything you did.

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cLEO

THANK YOU FOR PROTECTING US SCHULER.

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CLEO

WE ARE THANKFUL FOR WHAT YOU DID FOR US.

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nathon

Good bloke. Sit down and have a beer!

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matthew

You were a good bloke.

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Anonymous

Thank you for being there.

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Anonymous

Very sad times. Thank you for your contribution to my safety and security of our times.

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PATRICIA

ULTIMATE SACRIFICE MADE BUT THE STORIES YOU GAVE WILL REMAIN PART OF OUR HISTORY. THANK YOU.

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Anonymous

LEST WE FORGET. FOREVER GRATEFUL.

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Anonymous

Rest in peace all our lost diggers.

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Anonymous

Thank you for everything. You are a true hero.

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Anonymous

THANK YOU. FOREVER TREASURED.

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milton

Very brave young man taking photos in such a dangerous conflict.

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Anonymous

Recognised today for professionalism.

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Anonymous

Gday mate. I hope you are getting some good photographs and are not wounded. Please send a letter back and I'll pass your wishes onto family and friends. Regards your old pal Olivia.

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Charli

Thank you so much for being so brave and serving on the front line for Australia. We are all so proud.

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Anonymous

Rest in peace ...job well done...thank you.

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Anonymous

THANKS FOR THE PICTURES YOU TOOK AND FOR SACRIFICING YOUR LIFE SO THAT OTHERS COULD LIVE! THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT JESUS DID!

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Anonymous

May you forever rest in peace.

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Anonymous

May you forever rest in peace.

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Anonymous

Thank you for being an amazing man. From Wayne Schuler.

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Anonymous

Fantastic effort from this man.

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Anonymous

Such horrors you endured for our freedom. Thank you. May God bless you & give you eternal rest. May your family be blessed.

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Anonymous

Thank you for your passion and sacrifice for future generations.

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Anonymous

Forever in your debt.

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Anonymous

I am very sad that you died.

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Anonymous

Hello, I just wanted to say I really enjoyed your story and your courage to volunteer yourself for the convoy journalist role. You're very inspirational. Kisses, -A.

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Anonymous

A HERO FOR ALL TIME!

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Anonymous

You gave the ultimate sacrifice. We salute you.

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Anonymous

I wish you never died in war. It was very hard. Well, thank you for trying your best.

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Anonymous

Thank you for your amazing courage and bravery.

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charlotte buckley

YOU WERE VERY BRAVE TO FIGHT IN THE WORLD WAR ONE. YOU ARE AWESOME.

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eugene staunton

Well done!

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Anonymous

FROM YOUR FAMILY IN LAKE MACQUARIE NSW. YOU ARE FOREVER IN OUR THOUGHTS. A PROUD AUSSIE HERO! LOST HIS LIFE 27 JUNE 1918. BURIED AT HAZEBROUK FRANCE.

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Anonymous

Thanks for your photos.

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Anonymous

Thank you for everything you've done. You're forever in our hearts.

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Anonymous

THANK YOU FOR LETTING ME SHARE YOUR JOURNEY.

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Anonymous

We all appreciate what you did.

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Jessica

It must have been devastating to take pictures of people and mates in the war who were wounded. Rest in peace.

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Katelyn Numan

THANKYOU for all your photography work. It is a pity that you died during the war. This is my 2nd time here and I think I will come back again.

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sienna

Thank you very much.

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Katelyn Numan

Your work has been a gift to remember what our soldiers did for us. Thank you.

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Natasha

Thank you so much for going out to war, risking your life & serving our country. I bet that you were an amazing photographer. Thanks again.

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Anonymous

You seem like a pretty cool person. It's a shame that you died such a harsh death. I bet you were an amazing photographer.

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Anonymous

I really was touched by your interesting story and found following your journey very interesting. I was very upset to hear you did not make it through the war.

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Clifford

10/10 - well done!

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