War tells its own story of sacrifice

By Geoff Adams on May 02, 2017
  • War tells its own story of sacrifice

    Stacy Price and David Farrell.

  • War tells its own story of sacrifice

    Undera Primary School students Dylan Lumsden and Alyson Clardad at the memorial wall.

  • War tells its own story of sacrifice

    For Veronica Schnorrenberg's daughter Matilda last week was her first Anzac Day Service.

  • War tells its own story of sacrifice

    ANZAC Day commemoration at Undera Primary School.

  • War tells its own story of sacrifice

    ANZAC Day commemoration at Undera Primary School.Memorial Wall.

It’s only a small wall.

Just 1.5m high and about 10m long, but all the names are there.

The World War I battlefields in far distant Europe which have become familiar to Australians: Passchendaele, Ypres, Mont Saint-Quentin and, yes, Gallipoli.

The cement block wall erected just two years ago at Undera Primary School tells its own story of sacrifice in the Great War, more than 100 years ago.

Alexander Munro. Served with the Fourth Light Horse at Anzac Cove.

George Munro, born at St Germains, enlisted at 20, landed at Gallipoli on April 25, 1915. Died at Pozieres in France. His body was never found.

One hundred years ago, the war exacted a terrible toll on young Australians and Undera was not spared; 1917 was the bloodiest year for Australian troops, with about 40000 dying.

The Undera wall is like a microcosm of the war years.

Photographs of bright, sometimes smiling, sometimes serious, young men and women, sent home as postcards to anxious parents.

These personal photographs now appear on the wall above the descriptions of their short lives.

Most of them were the sons of farmers from the Undera and St Germains districts and indeed, if you passed through the district today, you would recognise the family names on the road signs: Sellwood, Madill, Munro.

George Munro’s name is also etched on a memorial at Villers-Bretonneux, France.

And among the other names, one woman — Edith Moorhouse, born in Undera, who served as a nurse in a casualty clearing station in France, where she must have seen some bloody sights.

Close to the front line, the medical staff were tasked with providing the first treatment to the injured and dying soldiers and directing them to hospitals further behind the lines.

She never saw Australia again after enlisting. She died of influenza in 1917.

By Geoff Adams on May 02, 2017
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