Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Dedicated to a Family of Fighting Men

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Dedicated to a Family of Fighting Men

Article excerpt

Byline: LOCAL HISTORY margaret henderson

A RECENT donation to the Richmond River Historical Society has shown yet another way of presenting family history.

This is Our Fighting Men, by Alan and Eunice Isles (nee Lang), which tells the story of 11 family members who fought in the First World War.

The families represented are Lang, Petersen, Pursey and Monaghan. The book is dedicated to the men who died in WWI.

Alan and Eunice Isles originally began researching the family of James Lang, who migrated to Australia as part of the Reverend John Dunmore Lang's settlement scheme.

James originally settled in the Shoalhaven area where he married Sarah Ann Otton and they had 10 children.

The Lang family later moved to the Woodburn area, at that time a thriving timber town surrounded by a growing farming community.

We are told that 88 men enlisted from the Woodburn area, many of whom were married with small children.

This is an amazing statement in itself and shows how strong the local ties were with England at that time.

Of the 10 children of James and Sarah Lang, five had soldier sons.

Selina, the eldest, had married James Monaghan and her son Reginald enlisted.

Selina's sister, Annie, had married Joseph Pursey. Two of their sons, Alfred and Arthur, enlisted and a third, Frederick, tried to enlist but was rejected on medical grounds.

A third sister, Sarah Ann, married Alfred Petersen. They had two sons, Harry and Thorwald, who enlisted. Brother Alexander saw his five sons enlist - Alexander, Arthur, Philip, Hector and Donald - while John's only son, Windsor, completed the family enlistment.

Their ages ranged from 19 to 34 and most enlisted in 1915.

Only two did not return, Alfred Pursey and Alexander Lang, who both died in hospital from infection after being wounded.

In an age before antibiotics many WWI soldiers died of their wounds before they could be taken to a hospital. …

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