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

He did the good fight. Thank you.

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RON

GREAT HERO. MAY YOUR SOUL REST IN PEACE.

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Keira

What kind of photos did you take and who killed you?

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Ben

Was it hard being a photographer in the war? Did you have to run out into the battle zone? Thanks.

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Anonymous

Thank you for my freedom.

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Anonymous

You made the ultimate sacrifice. Thank you as a beneficiary of that sacrifice.

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Anonymous

Sorry.

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Anonymous

A BRAVE MAN WHO SERVED HIS COUNTRY WELL.

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annoynomous

We honour your courage and dedication to serve during WW1.

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Anonymous

DEAR PHILLIP, MAY YOU REST IN PEACE. THANK YOU.

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Anonymous

We cannot imagine the massive destruction of body and soul but the faith of human kindness prevailed. THANK YOU!!!

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Anonymous

Wow, you fought in two wars. You are so brave. You made your country proud.

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Anonymous

Sadly he was killed in WWI therefore was unable to have been in 2 wars.

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Anonymous

God bless you and all who fell with you.

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Anonymous

I am very sorry that you died. You made me believe in you.

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Anonymous

Dedicated to the cause no matter what the cost.

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Jenni Misdale

Thank you for your sacrifice Philip. R.I.P.

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Anonymous

We will remember.

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Anonymous

Thank you to all the soldiers who fought for our freedom.

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Anonymous

Thank you for your contribution - one of many truly special and brave people.

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Anonymous

Your immense sacrifice has not been in vain.

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Anonymous

It was an honour to follow your story. Thank you for your hard work during your time in the war. I will think of you when I attend the Dawn Service at Mt Clarence.

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Anonymous

A man who displayed bravery equal to those around him and provided to those at home the graphic imagery of war in all its horror.

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Anonymous

It has been wonderful following the story of Schuler's life.

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lulu

Sad that you died. Nice photos mate!

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luisa

Good man Schuler. Nice photo!

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Anonymous

Hi, I know we have not met, Phillip, but today I have learned a lot.

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sky

You risked your life for us. Thank you.

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Anonymous

Thank you. You are the best.

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Alia

Thank you for serving our country. You will be missed.

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Anonymous

Thank you for serving our country. You will be missed.

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Anonymous

You are an inspiration. Thank you.

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tanya

Thank you. Lest we forget.

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Anonymous

Respect from a striving photographer...

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charlie

Thank you for your contribution.

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Anonymous

Thank you for your sacrifice.

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Anonymous

I'm sorry you died. You must have been very brave. Bye bye.

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Anonymous

Thank you for your service and bravery.

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mazey

You were so full of curiosity. Tis unfair such passion led to fate.

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Janika

You were very brave. You gave your life for ours. R.I.P. Lest we forget.

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Jane

You were very brave.

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Anonymous

A brave man that will never be forgotten.

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Sarah

Such a brave man.

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Delma

Thank you for your written insights into the war and for your personal sacrifice.

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Anonymous

Thank you for your bravery and sacrifice.

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Anonymous

SO SAD TO SEE SO MANY YOUNG LIVES LOST.

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Anonymous

Phillip, your war effort did not go unnoticed. Australians will be forever grateful. Your words and pictures give a lasting memory to understand the futility of war.

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Anonymous

Sincere admiration and gratitude for your dedication and service for your fellow man and country. Rest in peace.

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Anonymous

In awe of your courage.

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XAV

Dear Burton, You have served our country well, THANK YOU.

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