Posted by Literary Titan
The Family that Went to War is both a family memoir and a history of the people of the state of New South Wales. Are you writing about your own family? What inspired you to write a story about your family’s life?
After starting to research my family tree I discovered for the first time that I had a great Uncle killed at the battle of Fromelles. Then to my amazement I gradually discovered the stories of the other 5 mentioned in the book. While I was discussing this with some of my cousins, I decided to see if I could write a book on their exploits.
This book is about World War 1. What research did you do to prepare to tell this story?
We had a guest speaker at a men’s dinner and he mentioned that he found a lot of information from public available war records. I applied for the service records of all six members and from there I researched the events shown in their records. Every time I came across a location that I was not familiar with I Googled the location to check on its spelling. Unfortunately army diaries were notorious for the inaccuracy of foreign names. The Google research also allowed me to see the relationship between the various locations. I also searched newspapers particularly after reading Georgina’s letters to the army. I realized that there was a lot more to learn. From the old newspapers I was able to put together the later histories of the Wright brothers (both of whom gained the rank of Inspector in the NSW police force).
This story gives a personal look into the lives of WWI veterans. Did you find anything in your research of this story that surprised you?
Everything surprised me as I (like so many of my generation) knew so little of the personal side of the Great War.
How do you think the return of these veterans from WWI helped to shape modern culture?
From those I have talked to, it seems that they were all effected long term. I got the feeling that the distance made it even harder on the families at home because it would be months after the event that their families would have any news. I think that many went to do their duty for the “Mother Country” only to be disappointed by the attitudes of the British Generals toward the Australians. From that time in history Australians ceased to feel they were British. They now were proud to be Australians.
In1914 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.
Posted in Interviews
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