Ahead of Remembrance Day, children at Tathra Public School now have the opportunity to research more about locals’ lives lost during the Great War.
On Friday, the Bega Valley Genealogy Society donated a copy of Pat Raymond’s 2014 book Remembering Bega Valley Servicemen of World War 1: Battlefield and War Related Deaths to the school.
The book contains the story of 186 men from the Bega Valley Shire who died overseas during the war or who died after WW1 as a result of injuries they sustained in the conflict.
“We thought the kids could use it for research, because of the local content,” committee member with the society Bev Koellner said.
“And just as an interest for the kids so they have more of an appreciation of the war effort.
“It’s good to have local content in schools.”
She said some of the men did not have long entries, because they were so young when they enlisted – sometimes as young as 16.
It also contained the story of their parents.
One serviceman was William Dunn, born in Bega in 1890.
He was a member of the Bega Rifle Club and was employed at the Tathra Wharf, as well as doing the occasional work for a fisherman.
He often played with the Bega Juniors Football Team and was called Billy by his friends.
In 1915, he was 25 and had been living in Tathra while working as a labourer. He stepped forward for the war effort at a recruitment meeting held in Bega that year.
William travelled to Egypt, then travelled to France to join the British Expeditionary Force in mid-1916.
On July 17, 1916 - two days before he was due to join the Western Front at Fromelles - he was killed in action and buried at a cemetery.
As his younger brother Thomas had only survived for two months after his birth and his parents were dead, William’s aunt was his nearest living blood relative so was the recipient of his memorial plaque and scroll.