Dig­gers to fea­ture in movie

WWI Childers sol­diers to be part of Pho­tos in the At­tic film

Isis Town and Country - - Life -

Michael Fiecht­ner They were to find them­selves bil­leted and rest­ing in the small vil­lage of Vig­na­court

TWO Childers Dig­gers from the First World War will be fea­tured in a movie project called Pho­tos in the At­tic that was of­fi­cially launched at South­bank in Bris­bane on Novem­ber 11.

Pho­tos in the At­tic will be a fea­ture film set in the towns of Childers and Vig­na­court in France and tells the story of men like Wil­liam and Thomas See, who en­listed and found them­selves on the hor­ren­dous bat­tle­fields of the First World War, in­clud­ing Poziers and Villers Bret­toneux on the Somme and Paschen­daele in Bel­gium.

It is planned to have the movie com­pleted in late 2018 to com­mem­o­rate the 100-year cen­te­nary of the Ar­mistice of Novem­ber 1918.

Michael and Donna Fiecht­ner from In­ter­Cul­tural Con­sult­ing Group are the project creators and ex­ec­u­tive pro­duc­ers and said the movie would ex­plore the unique re­la­tion­ships de­vel­oped in Vig­na­court, set against the back­drop of the amaz­ing Thuil­lier pho­to­graphic col­lec­tion now re­sid­ing in the Aus­tralian War Me­mo­rial.

“Nearly 100 years ago dur­ing the Great War, a small vil­lage be­hind the lines, Vig­na­court, was thrust un­know­ingly into his­tory through pho­to­graphs be­ing taken by Louis and An­toinette Thuil­lier,” Mr Fiecht­ner said.

“The images taken showed a side of the war never cap­tured be­fore – the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Aussie Dig­gers and the French peo­ple who made them a home away from home for a short pe­riod of time.”

Mr Fiecht­ner said the amaz­ing pho­to­graphs, when found in 2010, were to be­come the Lost Dig­gers of Vig­na­court – more than 4000 pho­to­graphic plates, and around 800 de­pict­ing Aus­tralian Dig­gers on the way to and from the front­lines.

“Th­ese pho­to­graphic plates, thanks to the gen­eros­ity of Mr Kerry Stokes, now re­side in the Aus­tralian War me­mo­rial in Can­berra,” he said.

Only around 130 of the plates have been for­mally iden­ti­fied, now in­clud­ing those of two Dig­gers from Childers ver­i­fied by fam­ily mem­bers

“Wil­liam and Thomas See were 23 and 25-year-old broth­ers from the Childers dis­trict who en­listed in Jan­uary 1916 and were to spend most of the war in the 52nd Bat­tal­ion tak­ing part in some of the most in­tense and sig­nif­i­cant bat­tles on the Somme,” Mr Fiecht­ner said.

“In late De­cem­ber 1916 and early Jan­uary 2017 they were to find them­selves bil­leted and rest­ing in the small vil­lage of Vig­na­court.

“It was here that they were cap­tured on pho­to­graphic plates, and th­ese pho­tos now iden­ti­fied by fam­ily mem­bers through see­ing them in Ross Coulthart’s pub­li­ca­tion, The Lost Dig­gers of Vig­na­court.”

Both broth­ers sur­vived the First World War and re­turned home to con­tinue life in the Childers area.

Mr Fiecht­ner said Childers had a unique place in Aus­tralian his­tory.

“Al­though war records are dif­fi­cult to sub­stan­ti­ate, it is be­lieved that the Isis Dis­trict had the high­est rate of en­list­ments per capita of any other re­gion in Aus­tralia – all vol­un­teers, and their loss of life per capita was also the high­est. The amaz­ing lo­cal war me­mo­rial in the town is tes­ta­ment to this,” he said.

“In a re­gion with a pop­u­la­tion of just 6000, 400 young men en­listed, of which 60 gave their lives and over 170 fur­ther were maimed and re­turned bro­ken to their re­gion.”

You can check out the de­tails of this project at the project web­site. www. pho­tos in the at­ticpro­ject.com.

PHO­TOS: CON­TRIB­UTED

ON THE BIG SCREEN: Wil­liam (left) and Thomas See will be fea­tured in a movie project called Pho­tos in the At­tic.

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