Brothers’ war experiences feature in film
Many WA men, motivated by patriotism and a sense of adventure, rushed to enlist. Peter Tinley
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 Pegg 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 resonates today, and challenges 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 Frederick Lesley Sayers) could join me today to recognise and honour the contribution of Aboriginal servicemen during World War I,” he 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 World War I, of which 83 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.
Larry Farmer, at right, served in Gallipoli and died on the Western Front where his brother Augustus, left, was also killed.