© 2012 Tom Davern
These days if anyone mentions a 'Furphy', it is in regard to a suspect story, or a pack of lies. Back in 1915 -1916 Thomas Cole Davern and Silas John Davern knew what a Furphy was, as they, and others had been kept alive by them and some had died beside them.
They were water tanks bought as far forward to the front line as possible to supply the troops with water. And as they were normally not positioned in the direct line of fire from the enemy, the troops would loiter awhile (if possible) and maybe have a yarn, swapping information as to the locations of others and the latest rumors.
All 'Furphy' water carts had sage advice for their users in 1916. Thomas Cole and Silas John Davern would have read the exhortation on the above Furphy water cart (from 1916) as follows::
'Good, Better, Best, Never let it Rest, Till to be good is Better, And Your Better-Best'.
Mind you the carts were etched with an exhortation from about 1918 onwards to drink water and not evil alcohol, an exhortation which Thomas Cole would have probably ignored if he had survived!
Thomas Cole Davern died during the first time in history that the forerunner to the modern Tank was used in battle. To cover their insertion into the battle, the higher echelon concocted the story that they were water tanks, (Furphies).
Thus ensuring forever in the minds and language of Australians from 1916 to the present time, and probably for the rest of history that a Furphy is a load of bullshit!
8/9 Platoons 1966-67