Historian uncovers soldiers’ legacies

Colac RSL president Reg O’Reilly with Colac family history group’s Shirley Anderson.

COLAC’S Shirley Anderson has spent two decades collecting records of Colac’s war veterans.

Mrs Anderson has placed hundreds of old war photographs and records in neat folders with the hope of continuing the soldiers’ legacies.

“It’s a way of keeping our veterans forever young – they never get old in these files,” Mrs Anderson said.

“You really get to know them through their history and often develop feelings for them, particularly those that were prisoners of war, the periods of deprivation they went through, coming home, then having to get on with their lives,” she said.

Mrs Anderson will move her war veteran files from Colac’s family history group headquarters to the Colac RSL club on Anzac Day.

“Everybody can then come and have a look at the folders at the RSL, and they can see the soldiers in their families,” she said.

Mrs Anderson said she was thrilled to contact the families of Colac soldiers Arthur Reeve and Neil Clearly, who received posthumous bravery awards last month for their services in the Second World War.

“Arthur Reeve was from Colac and Neil Cleary is a descendant of the Colac Boyes family, they died after attempting to leave prisoner of war camps,” Mrs Anderson said.

Colac RSL president Reg O’Reilly encouraged families to donate photographs of their families to the Colac war records collection.

“I think it’s great what they’ve done to collect all of those records, and it will get young people interested too when they see photos of war veterans in their family,” he said.

One Response to “Historian uncovers soldiers’ legacies”

  1. David

    Good on Mrs Anderson, this is a great way to ensure that these soldier’s legacies live on.