Today I am remembering a number of ancestors and relatives who, among many others bravely fought for the freedom of our beautiful country, as well as those past and present who have served/are serving to ensure our freedom endures:
Private Arthur Peace (WWI)
Private Cecil Way (WWI)
Corporal Ernest Victor Way (WWI)
Corporal Norman Douglas Way (WWI, K.I.A 23/8/1918)
Flight Lieutenant Edward Bate (WWII)
Lieutenant Commander James Alan Taplin (WWII)
Vicki Taplin (WRANS Class 103 of 1968)
And a special mention to my cousin Matthew, who began his gap year training with the Army last month.
I have spent nearly two years transcribing the letters and diaries of my Great Great Uncle Norman, as well as preserving the other belongings of his that have been passed down through the family over the last century. These items include his wallet that included a number of stunning portraits, a notebook containing musketry notes, semaphore code and nominal rolls of his platoon, and miscellaneous newspaper cuttings from the time. Having spent so much time on this, I feel like I actually know Great Great Uncle Norman!
I completed the transcriptions and originally planned on simply getting it done off at Officeworks…but when I came to the end of it all in February this year, I decided these mementos deserved better. Instead, I had it properly printed though Momento Pro. The final result looks like this:
The photos were taken out of the wallet as they were beginning to crumble around the corners (they were really wedged in there), and rehoused into a polypropylene display book.
Mum had offered to help with this part and I am glad she did. We spent HOURS putting this together, as I was extremely picky with how each photo was being rehoused. I wanted each photo to be *floating* in the page, no adhesive or paper actually touching it. Happy to say that worked out, thanks Mum! We cut out acid free black paper as a base to fit each photo in, that way the writing on each photo could be seen also, Mylar photo corners were then added (fiddly little things!) and then a mount of cream coloured acid free paper was added. The photos can be removed at any time without causing damage, (although that’s not the point, but just in case) and despite the paper being acid free we made sure that it isn’t touching the photos anyway.
The letters were rehoused with the help of Nana and Pa a few months ago, also placed in polypropylene sleeves and display books.
Now, my grandparents (my Nana is Uncle Norman’s niece), were completely unaware of how much I’d done on these items since doing the letters with me, nor were they aware that I’d put together a book like this. I chose today to give them the newly preserved family collection and the book.
They both seemed dumbfounded but so happy with what I’d done (thank goodness!).
Preserve your family collections. Transcribe those fading letters and diaries, they contain invaluable insights into the time periods in which your ancestors lived. For my family, we have in that one box an incredible personal insight into our young country’s involvement in World War I. These are irreplaceable and we are lucky to have them.