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Emmaus College gets grant to tell story of two soldiers

Teacher Mark Roberts will help tell the story of the lives of two patriots, Ted and William Marshall.
Teacher Mark Roberts will help tell the story of the lives of two patriots, Ted and William Marshall. Allan Reinikka Rokabox

ONE small, wooden ammunition box holds a priceless snapshot of Australian history and Mark Roberts' ancestry.

In it are the handwritten letters, postcards and souvenirs of two young First World War soldiers.

But it was almost lost forever after being discovered under a bed in Biggenden.

Now, with the help of a government grant, the Emmaus College teacher is hoping to share his family's story with the world.

A relative found the box under a bed last year and was all set to take it to the tip when Mark's mother Lynette stepped in.

She took the box home, with no idea how many precious objects it contained.

There, Lynette discovered that the two young men, Alban, known as Ted, and William, were actually her great uncles.

Mark said it was a few months before his mother showed him the box.

When she did, Mark knew he couldn't let it go again.

Ted and William Marshall were living on a property between Biggenden and Gayndah when war broke out in 1914.

William enlisted first, in 1915, and Ted joined him in 1916.

Both men served on the Western Front.

Sadly, Ted never made it home after being killed in action at Ypres, Belgium.

William, who Mark describes as a bit of a larrikin, made it home despite being shot three separate times on the Western Front.

Mark brought the box back to Rockhampton and showed his colleagues at Emmaus.

"The educational benefits of this just burst out at me," he said.

The College's Parents and Friends Association secured a $19,000 Queensland Government Community Anzac Grant which will go towards preserving the artefacts.

The grant will also be used to create a range of educational programs about the Marshall brothers.

Mark is thrilled to know the stories of Ted and William won't die.

"You wouldn't want it to sit under a bed for another hundred years," he said.

"These lives will never be lost."

Topics:  emmaus college first world war



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