by Louise Shannon
THE small town of Wallangarra has had more than its fair share of heartbreaking stories about young men who set out to fight in World War I, never to return to their farms and regional country home in Australia.
The town, which currently has a population of 400, was home to about 5000 people at the start of the war in 1914, as well as two army defence establishments.
President of the Wallangarra RSL Sub-branch, Dennis Pollard, said the long-lasting effects of so many of the town's men leaving for war have been enormous, and he wanted to honour their bravery and memories with personalised plaques on the branch's memorial wall.
Mr Pollard said a recent Federal Government grant of $1166 under the Saluting Their Service commemorations program would help fund the project which he planned to have ready for Anzac Day.
"We're going to put plaques on the wall for 20 World War I veterans who were killed in action. There were also two men who, although they were in action, died from illness,” Mr Pollard said.
He said the men had all come from the area, and had left their homes and families because of their "loyalty to their motherland”.
"One local family lost two sons and their families still live here and that's another reason why I want to put the plaques up,” Mr Pollard said.
Mr Pollard said this year was also significant as it marked the centenary of the end of the war, and many families who had relatives fight in World War I still lived in the town.
"Wallangarra was a major military town and hundreds of people from the area came to Wallangarra to be enlisted,” he said.
"You see the same family names pop up all over the records.
"I do tell a story about a guy called Moynahan.
"He landed in Gallipoli on the 25th of April and on that same day his group moved to The Nek and they couldn't make it.
"So they turned around and, as they turned around, Moynahan suffered a fatal wound.
"He was a policeman in Wallangarra and apparently they could take leave, which he did to be in the army.
"He was in his 20s.”
Mr Pollard, who was in the army for 26 years, said he was keen to pass on the history and knowledge of the town and the families who have lived in Wallangarra from past generations to future generations.
Maranoa MP David Littleproud said he applauded the spirit displayed by the community's efforts to honour the service and sacrifice of those who served from Wallangarra.