BAG History Group / Blackwood Soldiers
In 2014, the focus of the Blackwood Action Group History Subcommittee’s regular articles was on celebrating the 100 year anniversary of the 1914 Blackwood Magazine.
In September 1914, The Blackwood Magazine published a ‘Roll of Honour’ to recognise the first men of the district who volunteered to serve country and Empire in World War I. The roll was made up of nine enlisting for Light Horse and four enlisting for Infantry. Many of these soldiers did not return.
THE CALL OF EMPIRE
The bugle call of the Empire is sounding the wide world round
Calling her sons to the quivering Standard with brave, clear sound;
Sons of the Hills, who have answered the summons - an honoured band.
Sons of Australia - proud of your country, the dear South land;
Britain is calling - you’re sons of the Motherland - first to-day
Go to your duty. Our hearts will go with you the long long way
(The Blackwood Magazine, Sept. p193)
To recognise the contribution these brave men made to their local area and their country the St John’s students reflected on the sacrifice they made for us.
What was World War I about?
World War I was about great loss and sacrifice. ~ Eve.
The young enthusiasts were very proud to be Australian and thought that going to war would show their loyalty and love for their country. ~ Sophie.
It would have been a psychological struggle to war. Surprisingly, a lot of people still volunteered to go. ~ Willard.
What was life like for those Blackwood soldiers before they left for war in 1914?
Back in 1914, Blackwood was a suburb on the outskirts of Adelaide and because of the small population; the residents knew each other quite well. ~ Eve
The soldiers came from various backgrounds: Oswlad Pearson was a wool-classer; Cecil Wickens a celebrated Sturt footballer and Alfred Sinigear was a clerk for Elders. (http://blackwoodsoldiersproject.blogspot.com.au)
What attitudes do you have about war?
There is absolutely no excuse for war. If we continue to raise children in the middle of war then what will the future be like? ~ Eve
There are still people putting their lives on the line. War still has the same impact and war is still violent. ~ Sophie
What attitudes do you think the community had about war back in 1914?
Many young Australians saw this as an opportunity to show their loyalty and worth to their country. ~ Lachlan.
The young men of Blackwood saw it as a privilege and had no idea that war could give them such mental scarring. ~ Sophie
How did this research and the visit to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra impact on you?
It was an enriching, yet saddening experience, remembering and respecting the fact that those names were the identities of men and women who gave up their lives for our country. ~ Eve
Looking at the Roll of Honour made me feel emotional and think of all the unnamed soldiers who have suffered because of their obligation to fight for their country. ~ Willard