Armistice Day... the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th Month, 1918. The time that the big guns went silent from the North Sea to the Swiss border in Europe, along with explosions in Belgium and France that could be heard as far away as three hundred kilometres, 26 years before the invention of nuclear weapons...
Even living on the far side of the planet, families in Australia and New Zealand were massively affected by the carnage that was World War 1. Nearly one person in ten served in the armed forces, with just under half of all men between 18 and 44 were serving in uniform. This meant just about every third family had someone who either served, was injured, or died. Everyone in Australian society in 1918 knew someone personally, who did not come home.
The North Shore of Sydney was no exception. The very first 4 regiments of 1st battalion AIF, comprising of our "best and brightest" were raised here on the North Shore and the suburbs of Sydney. Sadly, many are now posthumously commemorated on the honour rolls of our schools, sporting clubs and surviving public buildings - with ages at which they died, so appallingly young.
But not all - doctors such as Gother Clarke, who was in his fifties as one of the main surgeons in the Australian Army Medical Corps, or Eastermorn Waller, a nurse in her thirties - were killed ministering to the wounded in hospitals and a church, many miles behind the lines. Cannon shells killed so many, so indiscriminately - and often left little, if anything to bury .
In the stories of families and their sons and daughters who served in this little church graveyard, is is the story of the men and women who served in all branches of the armed forces and the families that were left behind.We remember them in a special tour. We visit the houses of some of these people, some of which have been restored to their former glory. We also visit memorials of people who served, who not knowing if the government would remember them, were memorialised by their families on the family tombstone. If you would like to come, please CLICK HERE