Book immortalises Mid North diggers

Book immortalises Mid North diggers

Events
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WANTING to ensure Mid North World War I veterans were not "forgotten", a local trio have compiled a book titled Their Duty Nobly Done.

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WANTING to ensure Mid North World War I veterans were not "forgotten", a local trio have compiled a book titled Their Duty Nobly Done.

Co-authors June Haggett, Monty Smith and Richard Stott wanted to preserve the rich war history of Georgetown, Gladstone, Gulnare, Huddleston and Narridy.

"WWI seemed to be the forgotten war in our district," Richard said.

"There has been books in the past about surrounding districts, but not a lot about this area. So we started compiling information."

Richard said the book idea came about after the preservation of local WWI memorials by the Gladstone ex-Service Personnel Group.

"We once had a WWI fountain at Gladstone, but vandals wrecked it in 1968 and it was never replaced," he said.

"So in September 2013, we formed the Gladstone SPG with the aim of replacing it.

"Once that was done, we also erected a WWII gun in a purpose-built shelter at the Gladstone War Memorial and a garden is going in.

"It made us realise there was a real hole in this region of honouring those who served in WWI."

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Richard said the trio had spent the past few years researching, travelling, photographing and typing up biographies of every soldier and nurse they could find.

"We really wanted to complete the book in time for the 100th anniversary of WWI last year, but we didn't realise how many soldiers and nurses there were," Richard said.

"The book profiles 282 volunteers who served from the five towns listed."

The almost 400-page book also features newspaper articles and advertisements of the time, which Richard said made for interesting, and often amusing, reading, plus contributed stories and photographs.

Their Duty Nobly Done was launched at the Gladstone Soldiers' Memorial Hall on Saturday, with assistance from former soldier Don Stewart.

Along with descendants of WWI veterans mentioned in the book, publisher Steve Lewis, Digital Print Australia, was also in attendance, plus local Catholic priest Arthur Hackett, whose 2018 Armistice Day address appears in the book.

Richard was happy to see the completion of the book, particularly in time for Remembrance Day on Monday.

Don Stewart.

Don Stewart.

Former soldier right man to recognise those who served

FORMER soldier Don Stewart was asked to launch World War I book Their Duty Nobly Done in recognition of his remarkable time spent in combat.

His father also served in World War I.

Don was one of the first South Australians to be called up in the 1965 National Service Scheme ballot.

After completing some initial training at Puckapunyal, Vic, he was selected for the newly-established Officer Training Unit in Sydney.

Following active service in Malaysia and Borneo as a conscript, Don chose to enlist with the regular army.

In 1968, he served as a platoon commander in the Vietnam War with the 4th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, and in 1984 was a member of a peace-keeping force in the Sinai.

Don retired from the regular army in the 1990s.

He has worked for the Legacy organisation since and is a board member, treasurer and group liaison officer of the Port Pirie-Upper North Legacy Group.

Don was on the ground fighting alongside his men, very admirable. - RICHARD STOTT

Their Duty Nobly Done co-author Richard Stott said he met Don 20 years ago through Legacy and thought he was the right man for the launch.

"It was a different time back in Vietnam, as a platoon commander," he said.

"You would be in the bush too, not up in helicopters or back at base.

"Don was on the ground fighting alongside his men, very admirable."

Richard himself has his own extensive war history.

Not only did he serve in the Vietnam War, his father Murray Reginald Stott was in the malitia lighthorse brigade in WWII.

He also has family relatives, the Boxalls from Hamley Bridge, who served in WWI.

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