John Meyers and Woody Woodward at the Maryborough cenotaph that is inspiring Woody’s war history.
John Meyers and Woody Woodward at the Maryborough cenotaph that is inspiring Woody’s war history.

New mission for Woody

THE STORIES of 155 Maryborough men who died in the two world wars have become Alan “Woody” Woodward’s biggest military mission since the Malayan Campaign in which he served.

The former Navy man, Maryborough Citizen of the Year and now volunteer at John Meyers’ Military and Colonial Museum in Wharf Street has spent 240 hours researching and writing the fascinating history of the men whose names are on the city’s cenotaph honour scroll.

“I’ve managed to finish 100 stories from WWI and now I’m into the 55 from WWII.

“But there’s more, always more comes out when you least expect to find it.

“I dream about the project and recently I emailed the Defence Minister, John Faulkner, for financial help.”

Mr Woodward said the museum and Rotary Sunrise had already funded the initial manuscripts, which he would leave in the museum.

“But I want to publish a proper book and at around $35 a copy I’ll need some $10,000 to give them away to local schools, libraries and museums.”

Mr Woodward, 74, is illustrating his manuscript with as many photos as he can get his hands on but he says he’s some 48 short.

“Some of the men’s stories are particularly interesting and mysterious.

“For instance, Lt Desmond Ferguson Cairns-Penny, who lived at the Post Office Hotel, listed his next of kin as his brother, also at the Post Office Hotel. He was appointed on April 4, 1916, and I’m hoping to find out if his brother was the publican then.

“And civil engineer Charles Henry Wallace Thom who died at Gallipoli on October 29, 1915, grew up in that beautiful little house on the corner of Lennox and Walker Street that is now a coffee shop.

“There is just so much undiscovered history in these men and with the young people now embracing Anzac Day, the histories should be preserved for them.”

Mr Woodward said he hoped local families with information and photos would read this story and get in contact with him on 4121 2097.



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