Denise Brown with her grandfather's World War I memorabilia.
Denise Brown with her grandfather's World War I memorabilia. Jessica Mcgrath

South Burnett residents share their Anzac stories

ANZAC day has always been a special day for Denise Brown to remember her grandfather.

Daniel David Roots was only 19 when he left for war as one of the boys from the bush from the Burnett region, she said.

"When I was a kid at school, everything was about ANZAC day and the junior red cross and we always went to a dawn service," Mrs Brown said.

He came back after being a prisoner of war with a box full of photos of the soldiers he fought alongside, mostly from the Canadian-English forces, she said.

Every year Mrs Brown places four poppies at the cenotaph of the dawn service for the four of the men in the photos in her grandfather's box.

"I didn't know who those other four guys were, obviously they were important to him and I feel that they saved his life," she said.

Mrs Brown wrote a poem about her memories of her grandfather.  

Memories of Dah

When I was a little girl sitting by my granddad's knee

I'd point and say "what's that Dah?"

As he read the newspaper to me -

Dah smoked and drank and would have killed people too-

For King and Country

He was in the 'Fighting Fifteenth'

Headed for Gallipoli -

He was born on a farm which is now a piggery

And like his surname

He was the Roots of our family tree -

A survivor - a man of the land 

His tutor was his dad

A huge grand railwayman

Who built the Aramac tramway

With cattleman's money and station hands

Great Granddad was a big flash man 

Who 'split the blanket' with his wife

And when 13 -

Dah came to live with his Aunt Jones near Byee

So with his brother George and cousin Alice

Made up the numbers for the School at Cloyna -

Until he went to work on the stations and for his dad at Aramac

So far from mum in the big city. 

A postcard to his father from the Army read

In the event of my death -I leave everything to you -

He was only eighteen. 

He and his mate Tommy had joined 'The Fighting Fifteenth'

They went to Enoggera for training to form the 'second part with Taswegians embarking over the sea for Egypt. 

Where he met the Pommies who wanted to teach these 'Colonials'  the art of how a horse should ride. 

With the bush boys spirit of pride and mateship

The English were outwitted - had their horses jittered and their tent pegs pulled. 

The Anzacs Conceded Defeat - the Turks had them beat and in Egypt the 15th reformed. 

Onto France - it was no Sunday Dance

The killing and bloodshed had left some in a trance -

An English 'stiff upper lip'?

Not a chance!

Listen to the full poem below:

For the dad I never knew

AARON James McIntyre, late of Tingoora and Murgon, wrote this poem about his father, 2nd Lieutenant Aaron McIntyre, who was killed in action, age 26, at Pozieres on July 29, 1916, before A.J was born.

The March

By A.J.McIntyre

I wore my father's medals,

Each Anzac Day, for years,

But I never felt the glory,

Through the sting of unshed tears,

So, I marched on, sad and lonely,

In this military scene,

A small boy in a column,

Where his father should have been.

The men who marched beside me,

Would pat me on the head,

With a kind of rough compassion,

For a boy, whose dad was dead,

And their eyes would fill with sorrow,

And a sadness cloud their face,

For the many boys with medals,

Marching in their father's place.

The bitterness would choke me,

And I marched with downcast head,

For I knew there was no comfort,

In the hour that lay ahead,

So, I listened to the speeches,

But I felt no surge of pride,

For, medals are cold comfort,

When your dad has fought, and died.

My heart would start to tremble,

As the bugle's notes rang loud,

And the Last Post's haunting sadness,

Brought a stillness to the crowd,

But, I never saw the glory,

For the bitterness that grew,

And my heart would fill with yearning,

For the dad...I never knew.

South Burnett

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