This week the movie premiered in Townsville where it was shot last year.
It interests me because it is a bit of lesser-known Australian history and because I have a need-to-know.
Dad's Uncle Thomas (click for more information) was a tunneller in the war. He was recruited in Tasmania where he was a miner. He suffered from mustard gas poisoning twice in Belgium and was repatriated home to Tassy. He died a few days before the Armistice was signed.
In his last weeks of life, the Australian Defence Force denied Thomas' application for a pension. They (whoever "they" are) claimed that his "rheumatism" was a pre-existing illness even though they gave him a clean bill of health when he signed up only two years earlier. This information is in his records which are accessible from the Australian Archives online. Was this an injustice? I believe so.
Brave, fit men signed up, compelled by noble motives, to do a dangerous, frightening and dirty job which took them far from their loved ones. To return, frail and ill, traumatised and dying and be denied a pension by a penny-pinching government - that's betrayal.
Maybe the movie will fill in some gaps for me.
Happy 18th Birthday William!
1 week ago