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

Maddy

Congratulations on surviving. You did well, now enjoy life.

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Anonymous

It is so sad but it is good you survived long enough to fight.

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Lydia

Thank you for sacrificing your life to be of service to Australia.

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Anonymous

Thanks from a fellow photographer. It's because of your efforts that we, today, can see what our young men endured. Rest in peace.

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Anonymous

WE CAN ALL BE PROUD OF YOUR SERVICE AND SACRIFICE. RIP.

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brydee

All soldiers did well and will be forever remembered and loved by the country.

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Anonymous

All of the soldiers will be forever loved and remembered.

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Anonymous

It has been an honour that I made this journey through history with you as my guide. RIP.

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Anonymous

Now I know what my father experienced.

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Anonymous

Your bravery and those who served allow us today to live in peace. I salute your bravery and commitment to peace.

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di

Job well done boys!

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Thelma Allum

Deeply saddened to find out that you did not survive the war.

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NICHOLAS JOSEN

Thank you for being BRAVE to go off to WAR.

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Anonymous

Without war correspondents both in the past and currently, the world would never know the horrors, or attempt to understand and halt man's folly.

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tyson bell

Lest we forget.

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Anonymous

A brave man who thought nothing of returning to the war zones.

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Anonymous

For your service and sacrifice we say thank you. Always remembered.

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Anonymous

Such a tragic end. But your records are priceless. RIP.

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Anonymous

Thank you for your sacrifice. May you rest in peace.

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Anonymous

You fought well in the battle. Be proud of what you have done.

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Anonymous

I am grateful for the opportunity to follow your story. Thank you for your service to our country.

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annon

Once and always a hero, thank you.

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Anonymous

A LIFE WELL LIVED.

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a mother

No words can express our love for all nations' sons. May they rest in peace. x

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Anonymous

Thank you for your sacrifice.

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Anonymous

You were a great photographer and sad you didn't make it home.

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Anonymous

Rest in peace.

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Anonymous

Thank you. You did so much to Australia and New Zealand.

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Ruth Rudrum

I write for the Lethlean boys who also left Albany with all the courageous men like yourself. All heroes saving our country.

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Liam Bradbury

You are a great person. I am sorry that you died.

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Anonymous

You are a great person. I am sorry that you died.

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claudia

You are a brave and adventurous person.

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Anonymous

Thank you. He sounds like a nice guy.

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Anonymous

Rest in peace, you will be remembered.

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Anonymous

Thank you for your accounts of your time at Gallipoli.

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Anonymous

What was war like?

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Anonymous

May you live on in the hearts and minds of all Aussies.

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Anonymous

We as Australians will always remember your sacrifice for us to enjoy the freedom that we hold dear. Thank you Phil.

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zack

Thanks for helping out. xox

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Anonymous

I thank you for your efforts during the war.

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Anonymous

HOW DID YOU DIE?

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Anonymous

Dear Phillip, what an important job you did documenting the war. Because of your photos, people at home could understand the reality as well as people like me decades later.

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Anonymous

To Phil, We are incredibly grateful for your bravery and effort.

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Anonymous

Your work in the war was and always will be remembered, being completely selfless and awe inspiring.

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fraser

You were brave to go to war.

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Fraser

Thank you for everything you did for us.

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Anonymous

Thanks, mate, for your sacrifice. May you be well and happy.

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Anonymous

Rest in peace.

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emily

Thanks for fighting for everyone. We all will remember you for what you have done.

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Anonymous

Thank you for helping us live in peace through writing of war you witnessed.

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