Esperance man David Hatter shares the story of his parents – John and Margaret Hatter – who both served in World War I.
MY father John Osborne Hatter was one of 10 children who lived on a small farm near Tallong, NSW and, together with his brothers, was given permission by their parents William and Eliza Hatter to enlist in World War I.
My father enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on October 30, 1915, when he was aged 18 years and 10 months.
He embarked on a troop ship from Sydney for France via Alexandria on December 17, 1915.
His brother George Henry Hatter was killed in action in France and Oliver David Hatter survived the war and returned to Australia.
My father, the youngest brother, fought in the battle of Fromelles, near The Somme.
He was shot in the upper right leg resulting in a broken femur.
He was repatriated from Bologna to Halifax, UK and admitted to St Luke's War Hospital.
The fact he was wounded so early in the battle saved his life.
Nevertheless, he took part in serving his country to the best of his ability. On being discharged back in Australia, he was awarded a pension of 60 shillings per fortnight, amended to 45 shillings per fortnight from June 6, 1916.
My father later completed a diploma in agriculture at Hawkesbury College, Richmond, in NSW and spent the remainder of his working life as an agricultural adviser for the South Australian Department of Agriculture.
My mother Margaret Hatter, nee Allison, was born on June 30, 1895 and died in May 1971.
The following is anecdotal information because no World War I records exist.
Born in Bathurst, NSW, my mother's only brother James Allison served in World War I in France and survived to return to Australia.
Meg Allison was one of a few young women who answered the call for anurses to serve in London during the Great War.
Without any formal training she was accepted as a voluntary aid nurse.
Two years were spent in London nursing wounded and soldiers affected by nerve gas.
Unlike my father, who spoke little of his experiences, she often told my brother and I about the horrific injuries some soldiers arrived at hospital with.
The hardest thing to bear was holding a soldier in her arms, trying to comfort him as he died.
On her return to Bathurst Meg met and married John (Jack) Hatter and they moved to South Australia.
My older brother John and I have, with the help of National Archives of Australia in Canberra, set out to record another Anzac Heroes Still Honoured story.
My brother holds our father's war medals I had hoped to wear at the Anzac Dawn Service in Albany tomorrow ... the commemoration of 100 years since the Anzacs landed in Gallipoli in Turkey.