During the centenary period, individuals and communities have conducted an array of locally based or family centred projects to commemorate and honour their men that enlisted and fought during the First World War. In this section we feature some of these projects and are able to see the soldiers personal stories set in context to the impact it had to their families and in their home towns. Given the focus of ‘Following the Twenty-Second’ the projects listed below contain members of the 22nd Battalion, but also men from these communities that fought in other battalions and units during the Great War.
An interesting tablecloth embroidery (click image below for photograph montage and servicemen featured) has recently been purchased in Colac, Victoria by the Shapland Collection and is now displayed amongst a variety of WW1 memorabilia in their Recollections of War museum in Albany, Western Australia. The tablecloth contains the embroidered names or signatures of forty-two servicemen, of which twenty-eight served within the 22nd Battalion. The known date range of when the men were overseas covers the period from at least February 1917 to October 1918, and given that all but one of the men – 5443 Pte J.Crawford, killed in action 4th October 1917 – survived the war it is hypothesised that the vast majority of these men made contact with the embroiderer or owner of the tablecloth during the early months of 1919 when the men of the AIF were preparing to return to Australia.
Condah: Condah during World War 1
In April 2014 Maryanne Martin facilitated a conversation with the inhabitants of the small Victorian community of Condah and Wallacedale about its collective experience during World War 1. The result was that it helped participants learn more about what happened in this community during the war and uncovered the stories of those who served in the war, as well as those who stayed at home. The conversation was hosted by Heywood RSL sub-branch and was made possible through the Anzac Centenary Local Grants Program.
The stories can be read in the accompanying booklet, plus Ryebuck Media produced a short film presented by Tim Gurry called ‘Walking in the Footsteps of the Condah Anzacs’ and is part of the Centenary School Links Program that links schools in Australia with schools on the Australian Remembrance Trail in France and Belgium.
Essendon & Flemington: The Empire Called and I Answered – the Volunteers of Essendon and Flemington
The database and website, which went online in 2009, has been created by local amateur historian Lenore Frost to capture as much information as possible on the hundreds of soldiers that enlisted in the Essendon area of Melbourne. Amongst this group are over 150 men that would be assigned to the 22nd Battalion. Lenore’s research has focused on local records not readily available to people that do not live locally for example from Honour Rolls, church records, local history publications etc to recreate the war-time community of that time. Included within the project are photograph collections and albums from personal collections of the soldiers from the area.
The book compiled by Kylie Riha-Jones tells the story of the Great War through letters and poems written by the four Saxon brothers from Euroa and Violet Town in North East Victoria. The letters and poems start with William Saxon, who enlisted and embarked with the 7th Battalion leaving Australia on the first Troopships bound for Europe. He is a Stretcher Bearer and lands at Anzac Cove on the 25th April, 1915. He is part of the Battle of Krithia and Lone Pine where his best mate, and V.C, Alex Burton is killed. William’s 2 brothers, Tom and Joe, enlist in 1915 in the 21st Battalion and 22nd Battalion. All three Saxon’s survive Gallipoli and go on to the Western Front. A fourth brother, Bert Saxon enlists in 1916. He joins the 2nd Pioneer Battalion. At Pozieres in 1916 William is wounded and Joe killed in action. The following year Tom is badly wounded at Bapaume. Bert is serving nearby and continues on. On the last day in which the Australians fought (5/6th October, 1918) Bert is killed at Montbrehain.
This is their story, their letters and their experiences. It is the story of ordinary civilians, footballers, musicians, cadets who then became soldiers. Behind the scenes are their families and friends from the Euroa district, including Violet Town and Longwood who watched and waited from afar. Within the book are 150 soldiers featured from the district.
Laverton: World War I Honour Board
The Melbourne suburb of Laverton was a small farming community when war was declared in 1914. Local men were eager to enlist and during the war period 26 men volunteered for active service abroad. An honour board to recognise these men that either attended the local school or lived in the district was made by F K Cox & Co and was unveiled in the Old Laverton Primary School on 24th October 1922 by the Director of Education, Mr F Tate. Included are six men that would serve with the 22nd Battalion – 6775A Pte John Cameron, 4003 Pte George Duke, 583 Pte William Cameron, 656 Pte Alfred (Lin) Newland, 675 Pte Earnest Peacock, & 4488 Pte Robert Cason. Pte Lin Newland would be killed in action on 8th November 1916 at Flers, the only man on the Laverton Honour Board to lose his life in the Great War.
The material contained in the publication, including the biographies of the men on the board, is a result of the contribution of the members of the Altona-Laverton Historical Society who contributed knowledge, images, background, research, editing, and encouragement.
Macarthur: Uncovering stories of sacrifice
As was the case for many of their generation, those that fought in the Great War often remained silent about what they endured, leaving it to their families of the internet generation to discover and tell their individual stories of bravery and sacrifice. One such group of amateur historians keen to discover what their town’s folk did during the First World War were the residents of Macarthur and Byaduk in Western Victoria. The Victorian Government along with Polygraph Productions has created a short film telling the story of two families of men that fought and died with the 22nd Battalion – Cecil Twist and Frank Bunworth – uncovering their own personal stories of sacrifice, and set within the historical context of Australia in the First World War.
Click on the link to watch the film and discover their stories
Mansfield: Souvenir of the War 1914 -1919
This is an original remembrance project consisting of photos of soldiers and nurses who went from the Mansfield District, Victoria to serve in the Great European War of 1914 – 1919. Each photograph is accompanied by a brief sketch of their services in the Australian Imperial Forces, including such information that was available at the time such as distinctions and honours won, the names of famous battles in which these men fought, wounds, and for some the place and date where they paid the ultimate sacrifice. Amongst those remembered are Pte H Evans, Pte JM Foots, Dvr F Splatt, Pte JNO Stillman, MM, & L-Cpl WP Yelverton of the 22nd Battalion.
Click on the image / link to go to view on the National Library of Australia Trove website
Myrrhee: World War I Honour Board
Myrrhee is a rich agricultural locality, situated approximately midway between Wangaratta and Mansfield in 3 the foothills of the north east Victorian highlands. In total 55 men who had attended the Myrrhee School or were associated with the district signed up to serve in the AIF. In total, 13 men 52 were killed in action, three died of wounds received in action and a further two were lost to sickness. As would 53 be expected, there were a number of the men discharged as a result of wounding (shell/gun and gas) as well as 54 a few severe cases of shell shock. Two of the men – Capt DG Evans and 6414 Pte D Nolan served with the 22nd Battalion.
Click on the image / link to read about the men on the Honour Board, with thanks to Evan Evans
Surf Coast Shire: Together They Served
Across Australia memorials were erected in parks, local schools, halls, churches and offices acknowledging the commitment made by the community to the military forces and to remind us of those we have lost to war. Of the 100,000 Victorians that enlisted in WW1, 597 came from across the Surf Coast Shire. Produced by Cheryl Baulch, this commemorative project ‘Together They Served’, collates and brings together in one place all such memorials and provides a short bio and insight into the men from the towns and villages of Surf Coast that served during the Great War.
United Kingdom: WW1 Australian Soldiers & Nurses who rest in the United Kingdom
A commemorative web based project from Cathy Sedgwick recording the final resting place of all the Australian services and medical personnel that died, often from sickness or from their wounds, in the UK during the Great War, including nineteen members of the 22nd Battalion.
Published as ‘news’ 100 years on to the day, follow the 22nd Battalion on the project website and via Facebook and Twitter
FIRST WORLD WAR TIMELINE