|NAME||Herbert Cecil SAMS|
|MILITARY SERIAL NO.||2975|
|ENLISTED||Forbes 13 June 1916|
|DISCHARGED||Sydney 4 October 1918 – Medically Unfit|
red tape …. it don’t give the digger a chance
Herbert Cecil Sams’s block was Portion 29 and consisted of 426 acres. It was in the Land District of Forbes, Parish of Dowling County, County of Ashburnham. It had an estimated market value of £2600. Herbert Sams applied for his Advance on 11 March 1920. Continuous occupation was taken up on 16 March 1920.
Communication between Sams and the Department appears to have been a problem from the beginning. Early in April 1920 Sams had asked to purchase a 13 furrow plough. By the end of the month, he had still heard nothing. Sams wanted to begin ploughing before it was too late – ‘he only had this month to plough and he couldn’t afford to lose any more time. He had waited two years for the land’. Sams was quick to allocate blame. ‘The delay [he declared] lay in your office’. The problem may have related to the fact that the Department had not received his application for a loan. By 4 May 1920, he wrote again, ‘I have had no word and I am going to draw your attention to the fact that we can hardly wait much longer for those ploughs, one for me and one for my brother’.
There appeared also to have been some considerable delay of several weeks between when he requested payment for items to when the money eventually came through, to pay for other plant and/or implements.
On 5 July 1920, a letter written by Sams (to an unknown addressee) complained bitterly about the way the dispersal of the £625 was being administered. ‘This waiting and having to put your claims through all this red tape affair before you can get anything is hardly required as it don’t give the digger a chance’.
Problems about the quick payment of accounts due to merchants continued throughout 1920 – sometimes the merchant also questioned why he hadn’t been paid by the Repatriation Department with amounts owing being overdue. Sams was informed by Repat that payments could not be made from his Advance because ‘certified claims had not reached the Department.
In December 1920, a merchant who was supplying Sams with a tank, complained about the delay in payment,
Us people in the country are doing our utmost to assist the soldiers in every possible way and we are receiving no encouragement whatever from your department. A portion of this account has been owed?? For over three months and not settled yet and the way the money market is at present it takes us all our time to exist with cash transaction no one has any money till after harvest, that is the cry in the country.
Again in February 1921, payments became an issue when Sams purchased a sulky. Like many settlers, Sams was expected to pay part of this himself. He objected to this strongly. 
Despite all that Herbert Sams was judged to be a satisfactory case. ‘This young man is steady, industrious and a good practical farmer. I think (he) will make a success of his farm, as he has acquired a larger area, which gives him a better chance of making a success of it’.
By 5 June 1923, he was asking for an extension of time until 29 February 1924 for the payment of existing arrears amount to £224.17.0 Sams paid £71.12.4 on his advance to 31 January 1925 and one instalment of capital value £235.19.9 but again asked for an extension of time until 31 January 1926. Extension of time to pay arrears was granted. 
Revision of indebtedness was again asked for on 19 March 1926. The District Surveyor stated that Sams was in what he believed a good position however and the last application for a revision of debt was considered to ‘lack merit’ because Sams seemingly was doing well, and was refused.
The Under-Secretary notified Sams of this decision. ‘No doubt you have worked hard on your farm and experienced considerable hardships during your occupancy but these are circumstances inseparable from a life on the land in a district where the seasons vary extensively’. He went on, ‘your indebtedness is not so heavy as to warrant any portion being written off’.
This did not go down well with Sams, who could not see why the Minister could not have written off some of his indebtedness… since I have been here I have had one long struggle… and would this be reconsidered
There is nothing in the file to indicate if the revision in this case was allowed.
On 2 September 1927 and inspection of Sams’s property stated that he was having a bad time – with the death of several horses and 32 sheep. Sams was short of cash, was hand feeding his sheep and suffering badly because of the drought.
Around this time it was agreed that some of his arrears could be postponed until after the 1928/28 harvest. In 1927, Sams took out a Mortgage on his plant and stock as security.
By the middle of 1927, Sams reported that had had to dispose of the sheep because his pasture had been devastated by a grass hopper plague. He asked for a postponement of his arrears several times over the next two years because of drought. By February 1930, he was running about 420 sheep secured by the Department’s Stock Mortgage.
Because ‘there was no margin of security between the capital value of the holding which was £3750 plus 80% and improvements which amount to £4150 Sams’s application for a postponement of instalments and interest on the holding were refused. Although, the land and loan arrears could be deferred until after the 1930/31 harvest subject to the execution of a lien in favour of the minister security payment of 1/3 proceeds of the next crop. Sams did execute the lien.
By July 1931 the total of his arrears amounted to £1125.7.6.  Sams asked to be relieved of the Department’s lien which as of November 1931, they would not do.
27 March 1935, there were questions being asked about why wheat delivered to Tichborne silo was in the name of his wife Amelia Mary Sams. Under-Secretary required an urgent reply as to where the wheat had been grown as it would affect her husband’s 1934/35 harvest.
Sams wrote to the Under-Secretary stating that the quantities listed under his wife’s name had been placed in the silo ‘for personal reasons only. Sams’s explanation was considered ‘not to be illuminating’. It appears that the way the wheat was disposed of to the silo affected Sam’s repayments and the execution of the lien.
In November in 1936, his crop was judged to be fair only, due to an infestation of wild oats.
Apparently, Herbert Sams remained on his property as he was still there early in 1937. Sams was nothing if not a survivor riding out the storms of grass hopper plague, drought, poor markets and bureaucratic indifference.
Sources used to compile this entry:
State Records NSW: Lands Department; NRS 8058, Returned Soldiers Settlement loan files; [12/6851 No. 1153] Herbert Cecil Sams.
National Archives of Australia: B2455, First Australian Imperial Force Personnel Dossiers (Herbert Cecil Sams) online: http://naa12.naa.gov.au/scripts/imagine.asp?B=8078037&I=1&SE=1
 SRNSW: Lands Department; NRS 8058, Returned Soldiers Settlement loan files; [12/6851 No. 1153] Application for Loan, 11 March 1920
Ibid, Inspection of Returned Soldier’s Holding 7 March 1924.
 Ibid, H.C. Sams to unknown addressee – possibly Director of Soldier Settlements, 17 April, 1920.
 Ibid, H.C. Sams to unknown addressee – possibly Director of Soldier Settlements, 4 May, 1920.
 Ibid, H.C. Sams to unknown addressee – possibly Director of Soldier Settlements, 5 July 1920.
 Ibid, Extract from letter from H.C. Sams 18 May 1920.
 Ibid, A.A. Watson to A.E.Hughes Saddler, 4 November 1920.
 Ibid, A.A.Watson to H.C. Sams, 9 November 1920.
 Ibid, Fred J. Crippin to Director of Soldier Settlement 18 December 1920.
Ibid, Sams to Director for Soldier Settlements possibly 19 February 1921.
 Ibid, Inspection of Returned Soldiers’s Holding 7 March 1924.
 Ibid, Under-secretary for lands to H.C. Sams 5 June 1923.
 Ibid, Memorandum Returned Soldiers Settlement Branch 6 March 1925.
 Ibid, Application for Revision of Indebtedness, 19 March 1926.
 Ibid, Memorandum Returned Soldiers Settlement Branch 6 May 1926.
 Ibid, Under-Secretary to H.C. Sams, 3rd June 1926.
 Ibid, H.C. Sams to E. Flemming, Department of Lands, 27 May 1926.
 Ibid, Inspector of Returned Soldiers’ Holding 2 September 1927.
 Ibid, Memorandum Closer Settlement Branch 6 October 1927.
 Ibid, Memorandum Returned Soldiers Settlement Branch 28 July 1931.
 Ibid, 19 November 1931.
 Ibid, Under-Secretary Allman to the District Surveyor, Forbes, 27 March 1935.
 Ibid, H.C. Sams to the Under-Secretary 2 April 1935.
 Ibid, Memorandum 16 April 1935.
 Ibid, Conditional Purchase Inspector’s Report 9 November 1936.