Archive for July, 2008

My brother’s keeper

26 July, 2008
Roy and Sid Whittle from Kenmore, near Goulburn NSW.  Roy was killed at Bullecourt, Sid was wounded but survived the war (AWM photo P05921.001 A).

Roy and Sid Whittle from Kenmore, near Goulburn NSW. Roy (R) was killed at Bullecourt, Sid was later wounded but survived the war (AWM photo P05921.001).

With most AIF infantry battalions recruited on a state basis, it was common to have quite a few men from the same suburbs or rural districts together, and often groups of mates who knew each other before the war serving in the same companies or platoons.  In many cases, perhaps to a greater degree than I previously imagined, family members were also an important factor in a unit’s make-up. 

Having a brother in your battalion could be a mixed blessing.  On one hand it might be good to have a familiar face close by, someone who knew you well and you could also look out for each other; whether that be on leave, or in the front line.  On the other hand perhaps a younger brother could be viewed as an encumbrance, cramping your style and an unwelcome family witness to what you got up to on leave. I suppose it would have depended on the age difference and whether you saw each other as mates or not. (more…)

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