Brothers’ war ex­pe­ri­ences on film

Albany Advertiser - - NEWS - Shan­non Smith

The story of four Katan­ning brothers who signed up to serve their coun­try in World War I is the sub­ject of a new short film.

Larry, Lewis, Ken­neth and Au­gus­tus Farmer fea­ture in the film Abo­rig­i­nal Ser­vice in World War I.

The Farmer brothers served in sev­eral con­flicts in­clud­ing Gal­lipoli, Turkey and France, and trained in Eng­land.

In mid-1916, Ken­neth and Lewis re­turned home af­ter be­ing wounded dur­ing bat­tle.

Larry died in ac­tion at age 22 in Au­gust 1916, while Au­gus­tus lost his life fight­ing in France two years later, aged 32.

Cpl Au­gus­tus Farmer was the first Abo­rig­i­nal sol­dier to be awarded the Mil­i­tary Medal, for his con­spic­u­ous brav­ery at Mer­ri­court.

The series of short films will be shown at Ya­gan Square Dig­i­tal Tower in Perth un­til Sun­day as part of Ar­mistice Day com­mem­o­ra­tions.

Vet­er­ans Is­sues Min­is­ter Peter Tin­ley said the un­fair treat­ment of Abo­rig­i­nal soldiers on re­turn­ing home from war still res­onated to­day, and chal­lenged Aus­tralians to step up for a more eq­ui­table and just so­ci­ety.

“I am very pleased that Tony and John Farmer (grand­sons of Ken­neth Farmer), Tod Farmer (great-grand­son of Ken­neth Farmer) and Karen Say­ers (grand­daugh­ter of Fred­er­ick Les­ley Say­ers) could join me to­day to kkrecog­nise and hon­our the con­tri­bu­tion of Abo­rig­i­nal ser­vice- men dur­ing World War I,” Mr Tin­ley said.

“When this hor­rific global con­flict erupted in 1914, many WA men, mo­ti­vated by pa­tri­o­tism and a sense of ad­ven­ture, rushed to en­list in the Aus­tralian Im­pe­rial Force.

“This poignant series of films of­fers an im­por­tant in­sight into life for Aus­tralian ser­vice­men and women and the harsh re­al­ity of life on the front.” At least 133 Abo­rig­i­nal men from WA vol­un­teered to fight dur­ing the Great War, 83 of whom served overseas.

The films were com­mis­sioned by the De­part­ment of Com­mu­ni­ties to cel­e­brate the Cen­te­nary of the Ar­mistice.

The other short films in­clude First World War; The Ser­vice of West­ern Aus­tralian Women at Home and Overseas; and Roll of Hon­our, which of­fers a mov­ing trib­ute to the 6000 soldiers from WA who died in the war.

Descen­dants of Abo­rig­i­nal ser­vice­men at the launch of the Cen­te­nary of Ar­mistice short films: Karen Say­ers, Tara, Tony, John and Ted Farmer and David Col­lard.

Two of four Katan­ning brothers who fought in WWI. Larry Farmer died in ac­tion aged 22 in 1916, and brother Lewis. who was wounded, are pic­tured with their par­ents William "Peg" and Emily Farmer.

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