Book unites shire’s 800 WWI soldiers

Crawford House.
Crawford House.

THE lives of almost 800 World War I soldiers from the old Tintenbar Shire will be detailed in a new book being put together by researchers at the Crawford House Museum in Alstonville.

The project was started by Ian Kirkland and Alison Draper after Ballina Mayor David Wright asked them to identify roughly 100 people on the Alstonville public school honour roll.

Ian Kirkland
Ian Kirkland

"We decided that we'd not only do that, we'd try to locate all the honour roles in the old Tintenbar Shire, which is Ballina Shire minus Ballina, and write up the service records and find other information on what happened to the soldiers after the war," Mr Kirkland said.

Information gathered on the local soldiers includes who their parents were, where they were born, what they did before they enlisted, what ship they left on, where they served, what injuries they suffered, what awards they won, what they did when they came back, who they married and where they died.

To compile the research, Mr Kirkland and Ms Draper tracked down all the honour rolls kept in local schools, halls and churches and matched the initials with online service records from the Australian War Memorial site and National Archives.

Mr Kirkland said he thought it was important to remember the sacrifices people made during war.

"We felt as though all those soldiers that went from the local area needed honouring," he said.

"I've always been interested in the honour role at Pearces Creek Hall.

"From a little boy I used to look at the names and read them and think these are locals that served."

Mr Kirkland said the pair had been working on the book for several years.

"I'd hate to think about how many hours we've spent on it," he said.

"Sometimes I've spent, and Alison has to, probably 12 to 13 hours a day.

"Trying to identify some of the soldiers has been very difficult."

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