SOME may recognise their names from the town’s cenotaph, but now there is a story to go alongside the names of Leeton’s fallen.
The Leeton Family and Local History Society will launch its new book Leeton Lads of the First World War on Saturday at the library from 10am with the help of Member for Farrer Sussan Ley.
The publication came about through an observation on Anzac Days in Leeton when the names of the fallen, whose names appear on the cenotaph, are read out by school students.
“We drive past these memorials in the centre of town every other day,” society member Wendy Senti said.
“Do we wonder who these surnames and initials belong to?
“Our Society set about identifying each of them, to find out who they are, where they come from, what they did and how they died.”
Society life ,ember, the late Dorothy Eurell, had researched these names and recorded the service numbers of those she could identify who had a link to Leeton, many others remained just a surname and initial. She also collected photos of several of these soldiers.
“Another of our members spent hundreds of hours reading through the service records of these men,” Mrs Senti said.
“Many records were over 50 pages in length.
“She researched the battles they fought, the battalions they were attached to and the area where they lost their lives.
“She also had several visits to the Australian War Memorial research room to try and find the names of those we couldn’t identify through the service records.
“In several cases we are still unsure if we have the correct servicemen. In one case we cannot even find the name and initial (G F A Finlay) in any records other than in our local newspapers listing of enlistees for the First World War.”
Residents have been encouraged to be part of the book launch on Saturday.
“The society trusts the research we have undertaken will bring you a picture or story of these brave men who served during the First World War and the ultimate sacrifice they paid,” Mrs Senti said.
On the war memorials at Leeton and Whitton there are 74 names of young men who paid the ultimate sacrifice during World War I.
“For small country towns only a few years old, this was a huge number of young lives lost,” Mrs Senti said.
“Of those lost, 26 served at Gallipoli with 13 casualties while serving on the Gallipoli Peninsula.
“Others lost their lives in France, Belgium, Egypt, Palestine, England and several died soon after returning home from wounds received while in action.
“Several sad cases were found of self inflicted injuries resulting in death, a burden of the atrocities of war too much to bare.”
The books will be available to purchase for $10 at the Leeton Information Centre, library, Leeton Newsagency and the society after the launch.
Grants from the Department of Veteran Affairs and the Wade Sports Foundation also helped to bring the book to fruition.
Books can also be ordered by contacting the society at PO Box 475 Leeton NSW 2705, by sending a request to its email address firstname.lastname@example.org or leaving a message with return number, name and address at 0407 287 757.
There will be an additional cost of $5 to cover postage and handling.
The society will supply banking details on request for out-of-town purchasers.
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