“..... And do you, Iris Anne Evelyn Wright, take Charles Power, as your lawful wedded husband, for better or worse, in sickness and health and for richer or poorer............”
In the country town of Murrumburrah, Charles and Georgina Power from Cootamundra were seated in the front pew of Saint Paul’s Church of England. This was for the marriage of their son Charles to Iris Anne Evelyn Wright. (Iris’s mother had passed away several years before)
The Prominent stories on page one, of the Cootamundra Herald that morning had read; -
“Mr. Fisher says it will probably be arranged that federal Parliament shall sit in the daytime only, leaving the evenings free.”
“Coadjutor -Archbishop Kelly succeeded Cardinal Moran by right of succession and is now Archbishop of Sydney.”
“The police force in Perth is asking for an increase in pay of Is 6d per 'day on account of the increased cost of living.”
As the sun rose on that beautiful, crisp Saturday morning, no one realised that such a day of joy and hope would be marred in only three more years by sadness and loss. Events developing in Europe would have such a devastating effect on the newlyweds. As the wedding party gathered at the little church, all these other matters were far away from everyone’s thoughts. Today was a day of hope and joy!
The church, on the top of the hill at Murrumburrah, was bursting at the seams. The family had gathered in this picturesque town from throughout the Cootamundra District, and far away. Uncles, aunts, cousins, brothers and sisters, they were all there.
As he was waiting at the altar with his elder brother, Edward (who was his best man) for his bride to arrive, Charles looked around at the seated congregation. In the right front row could see his father Charles senior and mother Georgina at either end of the front right pew. Between them were his younger siblings Wallace, Leslie, Austin, Phyllis, and Thomas. Immediately behind them were his other siblings William, James, Thomas, and Georgina.
The next two pews were occupied by Aunt Eliza and Uncle Randal Schofield along with the cousins Ethel, James, Austin, Randall, Herbert Charles, Henry, and Frederick.
The other side of the church was for mainly Iris’s family, – Arthur, Leslie, Thomas, and Dorothy. There was a space left for Albert, who was standing in for Iris’s mother who had passed away twelve years prior.
Iris’s uncles and aunts and a couple of cousins were in the next few pews but, in the excitement, he couldn’t remember their names. He did, however, see Aunt Mary and Uncle Paul Kingston along with their children, James, Thomas, Alice and William, who arrived at the last minute.
His thoughts returned with the arrival of the bridal party. The bride looked radiant! She was followed by the bridal party, comprising Albert Wright, 26 (standing in for Iris’s father) Mary Anne Kingston (Matron of Honor), and Alice Power (bridesmaid). The wedding must have had some effect on Albert because; within two years, the young police constable himself would marry his sweetheart, Ellen O’Brien.
The wedding breakfast was a jovial affair with the younger children playing and getting into all sorts of mischief. Most of the younger cousins enjoyed the time together while; the older boys gathered around and seem to see who could drink the most. The older girls had all helped with the food, and it would be true to say that the feast was one that will be remembered for some time.
No doubt the refreshments for the wedding came from Tooth & Company Limited. And being the brewers of White Horse Ale, they were also wine & spirit merchants and being cordial manufacturers.
Charles and Iris made the perfect couple and in so many of their laid back ways they signified the hope of a new nation. Australia was only eleven years old as a nation. Earlier that year, the site procured for the new Australian Federal House of Parliament a few short miles away to the east in a paddock called, Canberra.
The Power family were genuine pioneers of the district. Private Thomas Power (son of William Power and Honor O’Donnell) was born about 1805 in Ireland. He married Isabella Hastie on the 19th of Sep 1828 in Manchester, England.
He was a member of the 1st /50th (West Kent) Regiment, Queens own of foot. Along with his wife (Isabella) and infant daughter (Jane), he sailed to Sydney aboard the convict ship Hooghly. Shortly after arrival (the 18th of November) at Port Jackson they departed (the 5th of December) for Norfolk Island to take up his new post.
They returned to Sydney on completion of the posting and raised their family before eventually settling in the Cooma area. Their son Edward John Power was born in 1837 in Sydney. He married Mary Ann Chalker (daughter of Joseph Henry Chalker and Eleanor "Ellen" Kelly) in 1858 in Queanbeyan. He died in 1876 in Adaminaby.
Charles Power (son of Edward John Power and Mary Ann Chalker) was born in 1859 in Cooma; He married Georgiana Belcher (daughter of John George Belcher and Frances Fanny Nancarrow) in 1883 in Cooma. She was born on 18th Sep 1864 in Cooma.
Robert Coleman-Wright was born on 2nd January 1824 in Bristall, Leicestershire, England. He married Elizabeth Bennett on 17th June 1850 in Adelaide. Elizabeth had been born on 1st February 1830 in Uxbridge, Middlesex England. She died on 20th September 1916 at Essendon. Victoria; He died in 1893 at Talbot Victoria.
Gilbert Wright was born in 1857 in Amherst Victoria. He married Annie Case (daughter of Henry James Case and Helen Abdy) in 1886 in Junee. She was born on 10th Mar 1869 in Queanbeyan. She died on the 11th of November 1899 in Junee. Gilbert died at Lake Cargellico, on the 30th October 1933.
Iris’s grandmother (Helen Abdy) was the first non-aboriginal child born in Armadale. Helen was descended from Sir Anthony 1st Baronet Abdy.
The newlyweds settled at Cootamundra. By October next year, their family began to grow.
Charles Gilbert Roy Power was the first son and two years later Edward Charles Power arrived. Eight other children followed on in due course.
The new responsibility settled Charles and he was no longer seen drinking as often at the Cootamundra Star hotel and he had steady work with Jack Clarkson. There was one occasion when Charles ran afoul of the law.
The Cootamundra Herald 16th March 1915 reported;-
“Charles Power, jun., was charged with being drunk in Parker. St. on February 6th, 1916, in Cootamundra Court. He was also charged with assaulting Constable Burgess while in the execution of his duty. Mr. McMahon appeared for defendant.
Constable Burgess stated: “At about 10.15 on date, in question I arrested Power rears the Star hotel for being drunk; on the way to the police station the accused struck me on the jaw with his fist; I threw him to the ground and tried to hand cuff him; while on the ground the defendant kicked me on the 'wrist and leg; Constable Cusack came to my assistance, and we handcuffed him”. He then addressed Mr. McMahon, “It was after 10 o'clock; there were a lot of people about at the time; he never denied that he was drunk; he never complained of me twisting his arm, and never tried to pull away; I fell on the ground with accused: Defendant called out to several people in the street to bring a doctor to the station to see if he was drunk.”
Constable Cusack deposed “I saw the defendant at the Star hotel about 10 o’clock on 6th Defendant was drunk; while I was coming down to the lock-up with a man named Glanville I saw defendant hit Constable Burgess; I let Grenville go, and assisted Constable Burgess to put the handcuffs on him.”
To Mr. McMahon: “I was arresting Glanville at the time; I was coming down behind when defendant struck, Constable Burgess; while the constable and accused were in hotel a crowd of people came around the corner; I never heard defendant call out, 'bring a doctor.!”
Constable Stuart deposed: “Accused was very drunk when brought ' to the lock-up; I had previously cautioned him that evening.”
William James Clear deposed: “I remember seeing defendant on the date in question; he was drunk,”
Charles Power, jun., deposed: “I was in town on 6th inst. Constable Stuart did not speak to me that evening before I was arrested; I saw ' Constable Cusack arresting a man;'' I was standing at the hotel door when Constable Burgess caught hold of my hand, and -said, -'You come along with me too'; I asked why? And he said, 'You, are drunk'; while coming along he twisted my arm behind my back; I tried to pull away; 1 did not strike Constable Burgess; his head bumped my hand; I did not kick at the' constable while we were on the ground; Constable Cusack came and cuffed me; I had been talking business to Jack Clarkson for some time, and after that to two ladies.”
To Senior-Sargent Suprex : “I was at the Star hotel from 10.30; Constable Stuart did not caution me; I was perfectly sober all the time; I wanted the doctor to prove that 1 was not drunk; I have been locked up before for drunkenness.”
Jack Clarkson deposed: “Charles has been working for me lately; I met defendant at the Star hotel, and paid him his wages; he was sober: it was between 9.30 and 10 p.m.”
Leo Clarkson deposed: “I saw defendant at the Star Hotel 'about 10 p.m.; he was sober then; I was in there when the defendant was arrested.”
Charles was convicted on both charges for drunkenness he was fined 20/, and for assault, he was fined £3. Fourteen days was allowed to pay.
Iris was not impressed!
As Iris’s mother had passed on, she also had taken on the responsibility of caring and guiding her sister and brothers who had also moved close by.
Charles’s parents were alive, and all of his siblings lived in the surrounding district. Charles Snr. was away droving a fair amount of the time but his wife Georgina, was a beacon for the family and was always on hand to assist Iris, whenever help was needed
In the Riverina the years of 1911 – 1914 were idyllic. The weather was great, and no one had a care in the world.
Arthur Wright thought he was the head of the family (at least he told his younger siblings and cousins such. He did concede that Albert was older, but as he was in the police force in Sydney, Arthur was the man in charge.)
As the younger boys grew into manhood, they chose their profession with gusto and hope.
By 1914 the world was changing!
1914 - War Clouds gather over Europe
Britain was still regarded as the mother country, as the majority of the Australians at the time were descended from British and Irish convicts. There was nothing more important as the British Commonwealth in the psychic of most Australians of the time, although there seemed to be a distrust of the British hierarchy.
The immediate trigger for war was the 28th of June 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, by Yugoslav nationalist Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo. This set off a diplomatic crisis when Austria-Hungary delivered an ultimatum to the Kingdom of Serbia, and international alliances formed over the previous decades were invoked. Within weeks, the major powers were at war and the conflict soon spread around the world.
On the 28th of July, the Austro-Hungarians declared war on Serbia and subsequently invaded as Russia mobilised in support of Serbia, Germany invaded neutral Belgium and Luxembourg before moving towards France, leading Britain to declare war on Germany.
On the 30th of July, 1914, a cablegram in secret cipher from the British Government to the Government of Australia informed it that there was imminent danger of war.
On the 4th August, Great Britain declared war on Germany. Australia pledged a force of twenty thousand to be placed at Britain's disposal. Prime Minister Andrew Fisher, declared that Australia would support Great Britain in the war against Germany'... .to the last man and the last shilling.
The nation awoke on the 6th August 1914 to read in the Sydney Morning Herald;
“A state of war exists between Great Britain and Germany.”
“The Austrians attacked the Servians at Semendria, and were repulsed with heavy losses.”
“The churches are packed with people praying for the success of the army.”
“The Prime Minister officially announced yesterday that war had broken out between Great Britain and Germany.”
“With a view to establishing a mobile reserve, it has been decided to mobilise the 8th Infantry Brigade.”
“The 16th Infantry Battalion will furnish a reserve for the defence of Newcastle.”
“Three thousand professional unionist musicians have offered for active service in Australia. “
“The Governor-General has received a message from the King, expressing his appreciation of the messages from the Dominions.”
There was no doubt that life in Australia was going to change!
Australia goes to War
By August 1914 Voluntary recruitment for the Australian Imperial Force (A.I.F.) commenced and the Australian Red Cross was established to raise funds to purchase comfort supplies for Australian service personnel overseas.
The formation of variously named 'patriotic funds' in all States to raise money to send extra food and clothing to service personnel overseas were established
In September the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (ANMEF) seized German New Guinea and nearby German-ruled island territories.
C.E.W. Bean was appointed as Australia's official war correspondent in October 1914.
So much happened so quickly and November saw the first division of the Australian Imperial Force (A.I.F.) sailed from Albany, Western Australia, for Egypt. HMAS Sydney sank the German cruiser, Emden, at the Cocos Islands, Indian Ocean.
For Australia, the war had commenced!
A Family Goes to War
At the outbreak of war the family boys were:
• Edward Power, 30, was married to Adele and worked as a general labourer.
• Charles (often referred to as Jerry) Power, 29, was married to Iris, had 2 children and worked as a labourer
• Albert Wright, 27, was a police constable in Sydney
• Leslie Wright, 24, was a grazier and was married to Myrtle
• Austin Schofield, 22, was a labourer
• William Henry Power, 21, worked as a labourer with his father
• Thomas Kingston, 20, was a Tailor’s Apprentice
• Arthur Wright, 19, was an Engineer
• Austin Power, 16, just started work as a Compositor with the local printer.
• Thomas Wright, 16, was a Jockey
• James Power, 15, was still at school
• Thomas Power, 13, was still at school
• Wallace Power, 9, was still at school
Austin Schofield was the first family member to answer the call. On Thursday the 17th of June 1915, Austin made his way to Liverpool to enlist (at this stage there were no facilities to join the forces outside the capital cities). He was assigned to the 8th reinforcement company of the 2nd Battalion A.I.F.
Seven days later on the 24th of June William Power was to enlist with the 8th reinforcement company of the 1st Battalion A.I.F. He was given the regimental number of 2893.
Arthur Wright was the next to enlist. On the 9th of August, he joined the 11th reinforcement Company of the 1st field engineers.
The following day Austin Schofield embarked on the troopship, HMAT Runic A54 for Gallipoli.
Ten days later (on the 18th of August 1915) young Austin Power was down at the newly opened recruitment office at Cootamundra. With his brother and two cousins already enlisted and with the opening of a recruitment office at Cootamundra, Austin decided to quit his job as a compositor with a local printer and enlisted.
He was sent to the 12th reinforcement company of the 4th Battalion A.I.F., outside of Liverpool where he was to commence his training.
Austin was only 17½ when he enlisted, and it took his mother (Georgiana) by shock when she found out a couple of weeks later what had happened.
She drew her breath and drafted this letter on the 28th of September requesting that the Army releases him from military duties due to him being underage.
Dear Sir, I am sorry, but I must object about my son Austin Power being in camp on active service as he is under the age of eighteen. He was seventeen last August, and I don’t see how the doctor passed him as he is a cripal(sic) in one foot – through burns when a child and has been treated for a ?????? and has been under a doctor for the last two years for a weak heart. I know that every boy should go that is of age and I have one son gone and a son-in-law, a brother and two nephews so I want you to give Austin his discharge and if you would oblige and don’t tell him that I objected as he would be very much upset. Just tell him that he is not fit for the army as I am sure he is not and I must object to him going until he is eighteen. You will oblige.
Mrs. C Power Cooper St.
It is interesting to note that during that period; the army did not ask for date of birth. Instead, all they asked was his age and where he was born. By 1917 this had changed and on the enlistment papers a new line, asking for date of birth, was added.
On the 7th of October, the army discharged him, and he returned to Cootamundra. As he had left his job, he had to find new employment. His family left Cootamundra in 1917 and moved to Marrickville and Austin became a glassworker in the local area.
William Power completed his basic training at Liverpool before he joined His Majesties Troop Ship A8 Argyllshire. It set sail for Egypt on the last day of September. Arthur Schofield had already left eight weeks prior on the HMAT A54 Runic.
Whenever a troopship, with any member of the family, departed, Constable Albert Wright always attempted to see his brothers or cousins sail off to war. Iris often joined him and where possible, spent time with them before their sailing.
Troopships travelled in a convoy with battleships for protection. Submarines were now an added threat, so convoys had to adopt new formations and changing patterns to elude the enemy.
The ships that were used for transport were owned by steamship companies (they were requisitioned by the government who paid a daily rate for them). Others were former German cargo ships, seized at the beginning of hostilities.
They were specially outfitted by the government to meet their new wartime role. This included increased numbers of berths; often in cargo holds. Conditions on board were cramped, to say the least. The lower decks were hurriedly fitted out with mess tables and hammocks and resembled large overcrowded barrack rooms.
Their quarters were all the way forward in the first hold. Having to sleep in hammocks William was pleasantly surprised to find they were very comfortable. It was his first experience of a hammock as it was with most of his comrades.
Shipboard life comprised drills, exercise sessions, games and sports that were all taken in shifts along with guard duties, and even mealtimes.
Weekly Sunday services were held on the deck. It was during one of these services they were told the on board death of one of the soldiers from illness.
A funeral service was held aboard the Shropshire, and the whole convoy of ships stopped out of respect.
It occurred to him how a vastly different experience of death in wartime was. They knew nothing about visions of death that most of them would face in the coming months.
The Family that went to War” is set back in the early 1900’s during wartime. The story follows six Australian family members as they each choose to go and fight for varying personal reasons. The book recounts their highs, lows, struggles as well as triumphs. It is both inspiring and heartbreaking about what these people were leaving behind (including families and children) and what hardships they faced on their journeys.
The story covers their journeys through the war in Europe and explores some of their complex characteristics and the summary of the lives of the three who returned.
It also highlights the anguish of the mother whose son was lost on the battlefields of Fromelles and whose body still as not been identified one hundred years later’
Six family members went to war. Only three returned!
A Short Historical Overview That Recounts Much
By Marta Tandorion April 9, 2015
Early on in the last century, the men in the Power family of Cootamundra, Australia went to war. The Family That Went to War recounts those experiences with almost clinical detachment. Despite the more or less dry clinical prose, the author, Gordon Smith, has painstakingly researched the underlying history and treats it with respect. How? By not embellishing what cannot be embellished and by not trying to rely on a reader’s overt sentiment in order to make an emotional connection. Case in point lies in the author’s preface: “In 1914 Australia went to war. 6 young men from the same family in Cootamundra, southern New South Wales volunteered to fight for their King and country. Only 3 returned.” Stark words, powerful words that have the reader’s attention. However, it would have held the author in good stead had more attention been paid to the editorial aspects of the book. Although it didn’t take away from the book per se, a better editorial sweep would have made the book all that much stronger.
By Karsun on April 1, 2015
The Family That Went to War by Gordon Smith is a short memoir about the Power family of Cootamundra, South Wales, Australia. It is filled with precise research into the background of this family as the world entered into World War 1 in 1914.
The Family That Went to War involves six family members of the Power family who all went to war and the details are well researched and with the finest detail. It's a short book so it is able to hold your interest even if this type of history may not be your thing at first. It is very to the point but finds room for humor as well as heartache.
I commend the author for this depth of research and my only thought that isn't entirely positive is that perhaps it might be a little longer.
"Nothing is impossible. The very word says 'I'm possible'
Audrey Hepburn"on March 30, 2015
I am a big fan of Genealogical Research. I have been researching my own family for years and can only hope to someday write a book that honors my family as well as Mr. Smith has done for the Power family of Cootamundra, South Wales, Australia.
In 1914, the world entered into World War 1, and six members of this family joined them. Many of them leaving behind wives, some children, and one joining before he was age, they lived through some horrific conditions, saw many horrible things, and yes, even managed to find humor at times in their circumstances. The men serve in Gallipoli and Tripolli. They take leave through Europe, in France, and England. Their family's at home worry, write letters, pray and continue to live....as those families left behind always do.
This is a raw and realistic look at what war is like, for those serving in it, and for those left behind to wait. In this case, three of the families waited in vain.
My only issue with this book was some editorial issues, easily fixable. Otherwise, great book, great story, and kudos to Gordon Smith.
`As the younger boys grew into manhood they chose their profession with gusto and hope. By 1914 the world was changing!'
By Grady HarpHALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 24, 2015
`As the younger boys grew into manhood they chose their profession with gusto and hope. By 1914 the world was changing!'
Australian author Gordon Smith has spent most of his life in sales, public transport and Traffic Management, managing traffic movements through and around major road work sites through out Queensland, his last project was as Traffic Project Manager on the construction of the Gold Coast Light Rail throughout the City of Gold Coast. Gordon retired to Queensland's Sunshine Coast in 2014 and started to take in interest in researching his family. He discovered links back to the 1400's and even a distant link to the Royal Family of United Kingdom. During his research he discovered that he had 6 relatives who fought in the Great War. He knew about his relatives in the 2nd World War but knew nothing about the men in his family who had fought in the Great War. As he has stated, `My Grandparents had 4 brothers and 2 cousins in the Great War. The more I found out about them while researching my family tree it became obvious that a book MUST be written to honour them in particularly for my children, grandchildren as well as all my cousins and their children. It is also an honour to share their story with the world.'
And that is what Gordon has accomplished in this well-researched brief memoir. Form his straightforward manner of writing we get the facts unstained with emotional overlay: the war was enough for that. He opens with a family tree, explaining the branches of which he will carefully lay out in chronological order. We also learn about the relationship between Australia and England. The summary of the course of events is well presented in the synopsis: `In 1914 Australia joined England and declared war on Germany and it's allies. In the small New South Wales town of Cootamundra 6 young Australians, all from the same family, individually joined the fight. This saga follows their journeys through Gallipoli and the Western Front. The saga also covers time in Egypt, England and France away from the fighting. This is a story of a family and how it was affected by a on the other side of the world. It tells of the battles, the wounding and sickness endured by these young men as well as the lighter moments. A readable history that shows some insights into what it was like during those dark times.'
Gordon's Preface reads, `6 young Australians went to fight in World War I. 3 returned. This is their story based on official archives, war records and newspaper reports with some assumptions needed to complete the saga. This book is dedicated to the memory of them all including those who stayed home and worked on the farms and in the factories to support the war effort.'
Though the language is simplistic, that mode makes the reality of the story/history more effective. A good editorial eye is needed to correct the grammar and structure and spelling, but it is easy to overlook that because this is a book for the heart. Gordon Smith may not have training in creative writing, but he knows how to go straight to the heart, simply by offering the facts that changed a family - and a world - in World War I. Grady Harp, March 15
A very raw and gripping wartime account
By Charity on January 27, 2016
“The Family that went to War” by Gordon Smith is set back in the early 1900’s during wartime. The story follows six Australian family members as they each choose to go and fight for varying personal reasons. The book recounts their highs, lows, struggles as well as triumphs. It was both inspiring and heartbreaking to read about what these people were leaving behind (including families and children) and what hardships they faced on their journeys.
I could tell that the author had thoroughly researched this era and the conditions of war and military conduct at this time in history. I would recommend this book to fans of military fiction, action, adventures, suspense and history genres.
Australian Family Members go to War
By Pussy Cat on January 26, 2016
There has been a lot of air time devoted to the First World War, due to the centenary of its outbreak being commemorated in 1014. I watched a number of documentaries about whether or not it was a necessary evil or if it could have been avoided. I understand both sides of the argument and have grieved over the huge number of casualties (on both sides). However, this small book brought home the human scale of the suffering by focussing on one Australian family and following the war stories of the six members of the family who left their small town in Australia for war-torn Europe. I will not spoil it by telling you how many returned, but there is a randomness to fate; you only have to read the names on War memorials in small English villages to see that the bad luck is not evenly spread, some villages, indeed some families, have far more than their fair share of fatalities.
This is worthwhile, poignant read.
Eye Opening and enjoyable
By Shannon on February 5, 2016
The history surrounding the great wars is always interesting but also morbid. This novel is centered around 6 members of a single family leaving their day to day lives to join the war efforts. Those who left for war left behind wives, children, and in one case a mother who did not want her underage son to go off to fight a war. As you would expect each saw carnage and death no matter where they were stationed. Along with all this horror surrounding them they still managed to find humor even in their circumstances. This book was a raw and realistic view of war and its effects on a family and those who serve.
Reading this book hit close to home for me because my husband is currently serving in the military. While he is not in the line of fire at this moment, just like those in the book it can happen any time. I liked this book I can honestly say it was eye opening and even enjoyable
The Hungry Monster Book Review
February 15, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition
The Family that Went to War is both a family memoir and a history of the people of the state of New South Wales, Australia. The author, Gordon Smith, gives a well-documented account of six members of a family from Cootamundra, NSW, who enlisted into the First Australian Imperial Force (1st AIF) at the onset of World War I. His research in historical archives, newspapers, and memorial societies is well done. The accounts of war and details of each man’s deployment presumes that he also had their war diaries and letters from home to draw on for detail.
The Commonwealth of Australia was still a young country, having formed a federation just over a decade previous. Australians still regarded Britain as their mother country, and when war broke out, Australia’s Prime Minister declared support for Great Britain and formally entered the Great War. Six members of the author’s family enlisted to fight the German army. He tells each man’s story with informative passages about the region they are in, the larger picture of the war that raged around them, and then brings it back down to the trenches where the soldiers fought. Smith’s details regarding ships, armaments, shortages and hardships, and other details of the soldiers’ experiences in Egypt and France will be of great interest to readers fascinated by World War I or the contribution of Australia to the Great War.
One such detail is in the account of Austin Schofield’s experience at Gallipoli. A water shortage, bad weather, and devastating losses motivated the British combined forces to evacuate. In order to safely evacuate, they used subterfuge to trick the Turkish forces into thinking they were still there.
Periscopes were to be propped up, and every effort was to be made to create the impression that the trenches were still fully occupied. … When it was time to finally abandon the trenches, Austin was to help set up some remote firing devices to fire some rifles to keep the illusion that the trenches were occupied. Some rifles had string tired to the trigger and a candle burning until it reached the string. The rifle would then fire.
Though the author writes with detachment, the stories of these soldiers in the midst of historic battles give a glimpse into the life, and death, of Australian soldiers. I was particularly interested in the account of William Power, fighting on the Western Front at Fromelles France. The losses to the Australian forces were described as, “the worst 24 hours in Australia’s entire history”. Though the account is given in a very matter-of-fact manner, it’s hard not to sympathize with the Australian soldiers.
Overall, I think the author has done a fine job documenting both his family history and military history. Despite the dry, academic tone of the account, there are moments of humor and humanity that shine through.
The Family that went to War” is set back in the early 1900’s during wartime. The story follows six Australian family members as they each choose to go and fight for varying personal reasons. The book recounts their highs, lows, struggles as well as triumphs. It is both inspiring and