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Time to Read : 2 mins
With Anzac Day commemorations on 25 April, I’m proud to say that my family has a long history of military service starting with the Boer War. With this in mind I’m sharing this first photo essay I created in their honour some time ago. Lest we forget . . .
Our family’s military service started with Great Great Uncle George Patrick Roney of the 5th Victorian Mounted Rifles in the Boer War. “They cheerfully underwent the hardships…in perhaps South Africa’s most difficult piece of country. They had endless skirmishing and always came out of all difficulties with distinction despite not seeing a tent on many occasions for seven and eight weeks at a time.” - Lord Kitchener
“I told you to stay at home,” Uncle Jack Frawley (right) said to his younger brother and fellow Light Horseman Peter Frawley (left) when they met in Egypt in early 1916. Peter was later awarded the French Medaille D’Honneur for “consistent and conspicuous devotion to duty under enemy fire”. Jack was promoted through the ranks from Private to Acting Captain and was nominated for the Military Cross following his actions on the road to Damascus.
Great Uncle George Connell Roney was killed in action in 1916 and his body never recovered. “He went over the top on 19 July at Fromelles...We were under heavy fire with most bodies 100 yards out in No Man’s Land where we couldn’t recover them,” said Corporal R.E. Poulter’s report about George missing in action. Perhaps George lies in the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior at the Australian War Memorial.
“I was 15 when I forged Dad’s signature to enlist,” said my grandfather Eddie Barnes. “He tracked me down 3 weeks later and I was ejected from the Army camp for being under age. He finally signed my enlistment papers when I was 18 and I sailed for France in early 1918.”
This memorial honours Australian Servicemen including those who served their country a second time in WW2. “The forefinger, 3rd, 4th and 5th fingers are missing from my left hand,” wrote my grandfather Eddie Barnes on his Army Attestation forms when he enlisted again in 1940. “But it is strong and I can use a gun, spade and axe.”
“I coped with the extreme weather in Korea but hated Malayan jungle operations.” Uncle Albert Barnes, Royal Australian Regiment.
“The spit and polish of the Army suited me,” said my father John Lynch. “And I loved stalking and outwitting the enemy in the jungle.” His Army discharge papers said he was “outstanding in combat”.
“Patrolling the jungle in Malaya was good preparation for my two tours of Vietnam. The Viet Cong were a tough enemy.” Uncle Frank Barnes, Australian Army Signaller.
Canberra’s National Army Memorial honours five generations of the family who served in the Australian Army during war and peace-keeping operations. They include (left to right) Great Uncle George Frawley, Great Great Uncle Michael Roney, cousin Joan Rice, Great Uncle Frank Frawley and cousin James Barnes.
The Royal Australian Navy memorial honours all past and present sailors, officers and battles. My cousin, Captain Darren Grogan, was awarded a Maritime Commander’s Commendation for his actions following the 2004 terrorist attack against the USS Firebolt in the Persian Gulf. He continues the family’s military service tradition.
Your Family Genealogist
Photos : From my own collection : Copyright Therese Lynch 2017