This is a reflection on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings during WW1. As far as I know none of the men in our family went to this war but instead, as farmers, raised “fats” – slaughtered, frozen to ship to the troops.
The following is an excerpt from my grandmother’s unpublished memoirs. Thanks to my sister Andrea for information and the photo of our grandmother as a girl.
“…In the early days, long before our time, Thames was a very busy, rowdy, prosperous gold mining town and boasted, according to old identities at least a hundres hotels, and at closing time it wasn’t safe to be about, but in our days there were only three or four hotels, and the township was gentle and law abiding. This was during the first world war and everyone was knitting jerseys, balaclavas and socks in khaki wool. Large fruity cakes were cooked and soldered into tins, and biscuits by the hundreds were sealed in air tight tins. We school children helped in the packing of parcels and were allowed to put our names and addresses and a cheery message in with the goodies. The soldier who received the parcel with my name in it wrote back to me so I wrote to him again. He was killed in action soon after this, and when we saw his death notice in the paper with his parents’ address we thought it would be a kind gesture to send the very interesting letter he had written to me to his parents. They were very grateful as they had not had any mail from him at all. In those sad days transporters carrying mail etc. were being sunk frequently. I was sorry to lose my letter, but pleased that his mother had at least something he had written from overseas. She sent me a memorial card with a photograph of him in uniform.”