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

Jayne BACSO

Thank you for believing in our great country and having the guts and determination to jump on your horse and fight for our family and all AUSTRALIANS' way of life. XX

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Anonymous

I hope you had a good life as you died when you were 28.

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alice arnold

Thank you for being so brave.

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Anonymous

To the many soldiers that never made it home.

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Anonymous

Dear soldier, What types of food did you eat?

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president obama

Good job getting those photos. You have done your country proud.

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Anonymous

Onya Phil. You're all legends. Gone but never forgotten. Lest We Forget.

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Rapaella Coulson

Thank you for fighting in the war.

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Anonymous

Thank you all the brave men and women who kept us free.

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Anonymous

I'm so sorry what you had to go through. I could not know how it felt to go in the war but you would die in great honour. From Saffron Walther.

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Anonymous

Even though you didn't live a full life, your service helped many others live theirs. Thank you. Lest we forget.

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jesse

Thank you. Lest we forget. Your service was very appreciated.

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Anonymous

Thank you for your gallant contribution.

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Anonymous

THANK YOU FOR FIGHTING FOR AUSTRALIA.

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eliza dawson

Well done for doing your best.

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Anonymous

Thank you for everything you did to fight for Australia and New Zealand. You were a great part of Australia.

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Anonymous

Well done for doing your best.

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Anonymous

Dear PHILLIP, Your photos showed the true horrors of war. Rest in peace.

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Amelia

Thank you for being brave in the war. Amelia.

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Beau

Thank you for serving Australia, Phillip.

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Beau

What was your favourite photo?

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Anonymous

Forever grateful.

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Archer SOUTHWELL

Thank you for fighting against the Turks.

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jake

I am your great great grandson. To let you know we talk about you.

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ELLA

We have learned about you.

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shortie

Were you friends with Charles Bean?

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dun dun dunnnnn...

How did you take photos soooo well?

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macca

Hi. I'm researching you.

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Anonymous

Thank you for what you did for our country. You are our hero.

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Anonymous

Rest in peace.

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Anonymous

Thank you for taking photos at war. It will help me to have a better understanding of war. It saddened my heart to hear that you died so suddenly.

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JAN Devereaux

LEST WE FORGET.

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keely scofield

Thanks for all you did and gave up in the war for us.

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tayla

Thank you for protecting this country. Lest we forget.

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Anonymous

Sorry to hear you are dead.

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mary

You had a very interesting life.

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luke sharrocks

I think you were very brave.

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Anonymous

i appreciate all the photos you took and messages written. Without your brave self, this museum may not have been here and I may not have found my great grandfather [John Berry].

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james

Thank you for serving our beautiful country.

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rob carter

We will not forget you or your mates.

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Anonymous

To you the brave who fell before us.

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Sohie

I feel so sad that you died. I had so hoped that you lived a happy life onwards. Lest you be forgotten.

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Anonymous

We will remember.

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BANYON

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE.

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Anonymous

How sad. Thank you.

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Anonymous

RIP - you were a good man.

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Neil

A good man who went to the front twice and sadly didn't return.

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Anonymous

You were a brave man. Thank you.

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james

Thank you very much for protecting our beautiful country. We really appreciate it. We are all proud of you.

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ANGELA MURADOR

Incredible journey. Thank you.

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