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Watching sons march off to war

Will Maynards Estate

At the outbreak of World War One, about 170 Aboriginal people lived on Cape Barren Island. Of those, 27 men were deemed eligible to serve and 21 enlisted and served with distinction at Gallipoli on the Somme and Flanders.

On remote Cape Barren Island, off the North-East coast of Tasmania, Eva Maynard watched her family march off to war:

  • Frank Maynard, 26th Battalion, enlisted 9 May 1915
  • William Maynard, 12th Battalion, enlisted 19 June 1916
  • James Maynard, 12th Battalion, enlisted 20 September 1916

Private James Maynard  was wounded twice, at Passchendaele in 1917, and the Hindenberg Line in 1918. James returned home in 1919 but the others would never arrive.

Private Frank Maynard was killed in 1916; he is buried at Pozieres. 

Private William Maynard went missing at Bullecourt and is still missing. His remains were never recovered from the battlefield.

Eva wrote often to the military authorities hoping for information. All she received was:

  • two pocketbooks
  • a penny
  • two disks with his name on it
  • a cross
  • a painted flower
  • five postcards

“That is all I got of my poor old Will” wrote Eva.