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

Sarah

Thanks for sacrificing your life, for Australia. You did it for your country and we are proud of you.

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Evelyn

Great photographs!

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Anonymous

Did you die in the war?

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philip

He did good for the war.

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Anonymous

It was very sad when he died but we will remember him.

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Anonymous

Well done mate, rest in peace.

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zappo

You are a very good photographer.

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Aedan

Lest we forget.

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Anonymous

You are a hero!

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Anonymous

Thank you for your service. Your photographs shall live on forever.

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Anonymous

Sad that a war had to happen. Thank you.

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Anonymous

I would love to meet you. Thank you for helping.

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Anonymous

Grateful for everything.

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Anonymous

So sad he did not survive.

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Anonymous

You had already given great service, yet chose to give more a second time.

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Anonymous

Live in peace.

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Anonymous

Lest we forget you or your photos.

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Anonymous

LEST WE FORGET.

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warren

You and your brave compatriots will never be forgotten. RIP.

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Anonymous

He lived his life well. I respect.

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alison rowe

Thank you for serving our country. We love you very much.

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Anonymous

I'm sorry for what has happened to you. RIP.

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Anonymous

Good visiting and with a lot of history. Good to see many items from the war.

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Anonymous

Dear Mr. Schuler, Thank You for giving your life to protect our country. Thank you for showing courage when others didn't.

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Anonymous

May you rest peacefully in Flanders Field. From one photographer to another, thank you for your sacrifice. God bless you.

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Anonymous

Your sacrifice will never be forgotten.

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Anonymous

Everybody did a great job to fight for Australia.

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Anonymous

Thank you for saving us.

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Anonymous

You were quite a brave man during WWI and to myself, you are an inspiration, RIP Phillip.

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Anonymous

Dear Schuler, I have been wondering what photos you've taken. I bet they're great. Grace.

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Anonymous

Thank you for fighting for us.

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Elva

Thank you for what you did for us, our country and our way of life.

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shania allen

Thank you for fighting for us. Rest in peace.

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william

Lest we forget.

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xavier

Lest we forget.

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HEIDI CASSEY

Dear Phillip, Thank you for your photos of the war history. Heidi.

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James

Thank you for your great sacrifices.

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Rock Thompson[10]

Thank you for your lovely photos and your hard work. I love your history and your stories. And I hope you had a great time over war.

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Madeline

Thank you for sharing your story with me. Very interesting, sad , moving and most of all, brave.

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JAMIE

You came, you saw, then you went back into the fray once more. A very rare breed indeed.

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Jane

Thank you for fighting for us, and giving us the life we have today. May you rest in peace.

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Taya

You were an amazing man Philip. You showed great courage and are an inspiration to many people. Rest In Peace. - Taya.

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Grace

YOUR PHOTOS ARE GREAT AND THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DID FOR US TO HAVE A GOOD LIFE TODAY AND FOR YEARS TO COME. GRACE.

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susan

Rest in peace.

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christine peck

Great story!

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LEANNE

Thank you for not only reporting on the war but re-enlisting in the AIF after your return. You will now be remembered by me when attending Dawn Service every year.

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RITA

HONOURED TO FOLLOW YOUR JOURNEY.

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James

LEST WE FORGET.

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Anonymous

Thank you and love you.

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Anonymous

I bet the war was terrible.

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