"Well dear Jim it breaks my heart to write this letter. Our dear [brother] was killed yesterday morning at 5.30. The bullet killed him instantly and he never spoke a word. I had just left him and gone down the trench to see the other lads when I was called back. Oh Jim it is awful…Oh I do hope he is the last… "
It is April 27, 1918, Jim’s brother writes from the battlefields of France. Of five brothers serving on the Western Front, three have given their lives; another has been hospitalised. Six agonising months of brutal warfare were yet to be endured. The Great War was a senseless tragedy. Its long shadow darkened the four corners of the world. In Mologa, Victoria, once a bustling community, stands a lonely stone memorial. Etched within the granite are the names of the Marlow brothers and their mates; a testament to ordinary people who became heroes.
ANZAC Sons is composed from a collection of over five hundred letters and postcards written by the brothers who served. From the training grounds of Victoria, Egypt and England, to the Western Front battlefields - Pozieres, Bullecourt, Messines, Menin Road, Passchendaele, Villers-Bretonneux and the village battles of 1918 – this compelling true story was compiled by the granddaughter of a surviving brother. She takes us on her journey as she walks in the footsteps of her ancestors. This is a story of mateship, bravery and sacrifice; it is a heartbreaking account of a family torn apart by war. It is a pledge to never forget.
Allison Marlow Paterson is the author of the 2016 ABIA and CBCA longlisted title Anzac Sons: Five Brothers on the Western Front, the children’s version of the adult non-fiction title Anzac Sons: the Story of Five Brothers in the War to End All Wars. Both are based on a collection of over 500 letters sent from the Western Front by her grandfather and his four brothers. Her children’s picture books Granny’s Place and Shearing Time are inspired by childhood memories of her grandparents and life on the farm. Allison was a teacher-librarian for over twenty years and has reviewed children’s literature for Magpies Magazine for 15 years. Allison now works full-time as a writer and presenter in schools. She was a recipient of a 2017 May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust Creative Time Fellowship. The resulting young adult manuscript Follow After Me was published in 2019. Australia Remembers: Anzac Day, Remembrance Day and War Memorials is the first in a series with the next, Customs and Traditions of The Australian Defence Force to be released in 2021.