The author of this project is Greg Stephens, the grandson of one of the 154 men of the 5th reinforcements, 22nd Battalion AIF, 2394 Private George Edwin Stephens, MM, from Port Melbourne. George had three other relatives that fought within the AIF: brother-in-law to be 2397 Pte Charles Samways, 22nd Battalion AIF, who married George’s sister Daisy after the war; uncle 825 Pte William Pinkerton, 5th Battalion AIF, killed in action on 25th April 1915, Anzac Day, Gallipoli; and uncle 4775 Pte Walter Pinkerton, 23rd Battalion AIF, killed in action on 9th October 1917, Broodseinde.
Like most of his generation, George did not speak of his experiences in the Great War, and it was not until the family started to do research using the information available on the NAA and AWM websites did this typical picture of bravery and sacrifice start to evolve. For George’s youngest son Bob and Bob’s three sons, this voyage of discovery culminated in an emotional trip through France and Belgium to where George fought, the four villages where he was wounded, and the spot on the Hindenburg Line where George received the Military Medal for bravery on the second from last day of fighting by the AIF on the Western Front.
Through this project it is hoped that other families too will gain a greater understanding, appreciation and pride in the part their relatives played in this major episode in world history.
George’s son Bob and grandson’s Greg, Tim and Peter at Beaurevoir in 2011, site of George’s Military Medal act of bravery.