Honouring duty

HONOURING SERVICE: Monty Smith, June Haggett and Richard Stott are preparing to launch their book title 'Their Duty Nobly Done'.
HONOURING SERVICE: Monty Smith, June Haggett and Richard Stott are preparing to launch their book title 'Their Duty Nobly Done'.

The service of hundreds of people from the Mid North is being honoured in a new book showcasing the many tragedies and triumphs that took place during World War I.

Their Duty Nobly Done, compiled by Richard Stott, of Gladstone, Monty Smith, of Georgetown, and June Haggett, of Port Pirie, shines a light on veterans from Georgetown, Gladstone, Gulnare, Huddleston and Narridy.

The project has been years in the making and has been supported by Northern Areas Council and the federal government. As fate would have it the book's title came about from an inscription on a soldier's headstone, which read 'his duty nobly done', in the Georgetown cemetery.

Sitting down with The Flinders News to talk about the upcoming launch, the three shared some of their intriguing finds to grace the pages of the comprehensive historical document.

One such find is Mary Daphne Smith whose portrait features inside the book. Nurse Smith, who later returned to Narridy, joined the Keswick Barrack Hospital after the war.

"She spent her entire career nursing wounded soldiers," Monty said.

Another to feature in the document is the highly decorated John Moyes, of Gladstone. Outside of war, he was a well-known cricket commentator.

George Wyndham Campbell Lewis, of Gladstone, was "nuts about flying" and later applied to join the British Royal Flying Corps. After the war, he went on to live in Western Australia and was the first of the Royal Flying Doctor Service pilots in the state.

Monty said their book was full of interesting people.

"From their enlistment papers - I went through everyone - the youngest bloke we had was 16. And he didn't come home," she said.

Speaking of a common theme among the papers, she said one thing they all had in common was that everyone had a job. "No one was unemployed. No matter how old they were, they all had a job," she said.

Richard said there was information in their book that hadn't seen the light of day.

Their book is being launched at the Gladstone Soldiers' Memorial Hall at 2pm on Saturday, November 2. Copies will be available at the launch ($84.95, cash or cheque only) where an afternoon tea will be available for a $5 donation to St Joseph's Parish School. For catering purposes, advise attendance by contacting Rosslyn Fordham by October 25 on 8662 2186 or email ctrmfordham@gmail.com