Silent Heroes - 199 Sgt John Reilly

A couple of years ago I was shown a photocopy of a handwritten diary detailing some of the 1st World War experiences of a young man from Bega, NSW, John (Jack) Bernard Reilly. This diary is not in the collection of the Australian War Memorial at the time of writing. This is Jack's story.

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Location: Canberra, ACT, Australia

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Silent Heroes Project - An Introduction

The Silent Heroes Project is a private undertaking by the writer and arises from concern that our memory of those who served during the First World War is rapidly fading.
The First World War seared the soul of our fledgling nation. Yet as we approach the centenary of these events, the absence of survivors from this period resonates amongst those who seek to preserve their memory.
This project's aim is to give a new voice to those who served us so bravely and who call to us from their graves, known and unknown, to remember them.
Of course, it is true that many works are being published, in very readable form, by a number of eminent authors and scholars. These works are well researched and written and contibute greatly to our understanding and the ongoing memory of those terrible times. I have no doubt that such works will continue to be published well into the future.
The issue that is of concern to me, prompting the development of The Silent Heroes Project, is the anonymity that befalls these heroes as memory fades. Our forgotten sepia photographs and scraps of paper in shoe boxes combine with those thousands of names, that few actually read or can recall, on memorials in parks, churches and halls all over this nation.
Each of these service men and women had lives before thay enlisted. They were single or married; they were storemen, miners, teachers, shop assistants, clerks, station hands, dockworkers and so on. They were not black and white, nor sepia coloured. They were pale, or dark, or tanned, perhaps ruddy or freckled. Their hair was red, or black, or brown, or blonde. They sported tattoos or birth marks, acne scars and moles.
In undertaking this project it is not my aim to compete, or compare, with those mentioned above who publish works both insightful and significant. I possess neither the skill nor the schollarly discipline so evident in most of these publications. My aim is simply to assist in adding some substance to these vast lists of names.

Copyright Note
The copyright to all original material is owned by Laurie Favelle, Canberra, ACT, Australia 2009. However, the owner places no restrictions on non commercial use of this material, such as for study and research. Users should be aware that the copyright of some material may rest with 3rd parties and permission may be required from these sources, eg The Australian War Memorial. Commercial use of any material requires consent.

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