COLLECTION: Your Anzac Stories

From the Boer War, through to the World Wars and current Afghanistan deployment, Australia has shown its fighting spirit, the spirit of the Anzacs.

Across the country, families, friends and communities have their own stories to tell, ensuring the Anzac legacy will continue to live on.

Below are just some of those stories.


By Chelsey Footner

I've found twelve relatives among three family trees with service across navy, army and airforce. But this is the story of a young man named Robert Benjamin Footner Junior.

Private Footner served during World War One.

Born in Port Augusta to Mary Ann Paxton and Robert Benjamin Footner senior. He also had a brother Albert Osscar Herman Footner who served as an army trooper of the Ninth Light Horse Regiment.

Private Footner was born in on March 7, 1895. His schooling is unknown but if he did any would have most likely taken place at the original Catholic school. Today it has become the Wadalata Outback Centre.

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by Ian Smith

My dad, Dick Smith, and his mate, Roy Brown, first met each other as teenagers when both were fortunate enough to acquire jobs at the end of the Depression with BHP at Iron Knob, in South Australia.

At the outbreak of the Second World War both Dick and Roy enlisted and were part of the forming of the 2/48th Battalion at the Wayville Showgrounds in July, 1940.

Following rudimentary training in the surrounding parklands and at Woodside, they were shipped off to the Middle East on the troopship Statheden in November 1940 and upon disembarkation they were moved to Palestine for further training in desert warfare until March 1941.

The Battalion was then moved to Libya and following the retreat from Benghazi they arrived in the strategically important port town of Tobruk in early April 1941.

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Ready for action: On enlistment in July 1940 is Dick Smith of Whyalla, standing left, and Roy Brown of Quorn, sitting left, who met while working at Iron Knob. Photo: Supplied.

Ready for action: On enlistment in July 1940 is Dick Smith of Whyalla, standing left, and Roy Brown of Quorn, sitting left, who met while working at Iron Knob. Photo: Supplied.


by Arthur Hagopian

Jerusalem, 70 years ago. The fighting is over.

The curtain has gone down on the horrendous carnage of World War II and the foreign troops, among them the Anzacs whose legendary heroism have helped turn the tide and contribute to the Allied victory, are sailing back home. They would be leaving the Middle East, never to return for most of them. But not to forget. They have lost too many mates for that.

As they make their final preparations for departure, some of the Anzacs avail themselves of a last opportunity to salvage a modicum of cheer from their desolate ordeal, and have a one last hurrah...

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by Audrey Christophersen, of Stirling North

The bronzed Anzacs stood in line

There was no reason there was no rhyme.

Lads were taken From the fields

Given guns But lacking shields.

From ploughshares the swords were made

And each was handed a solemn spade.

Diggers they became

To face the war with untold fame.

We celebrate on April twenty five

All those that had hope alive

To battle with the greedy Hun

Their lives hardly had begun.

Adventures ahead they saw

Not knowing all the facts of war.

On Turkey's soil they bled and died

And now must they be denied?

We have not learnt the facts of war

Though we have walked that way before.


PTE Robert Benjamin Footner

by Chelsey Footner

He was a soldier of World War I and he held rank as a Private in the 50th Australian Infantry Battalion.

Service Australian Imperial Force Conflict Operation First World War, 1914-1918.

He was born in Port Augusta, South Australia, March 17, 1895. He had a job as a baker.

He died in France on the battlefield on September 4, 1916. He was just 21 years old.

He was buried at the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery with Memorials at the National War Memorial (South Australia), Villers-Bretonneux Memorial (Australian National Memorial - France)

His parents were Mr and Mrs R B Footner, of Port Augusta. Prior to enlisting he had been employed by local bakers, Mr R Smith, of Yudnapinna station, and Mrs Massey, of Glenelg. He was a quiet, steady lad, and his untimely death was mourned by a large circle of friends, by whom he was highly respected.


Born and raised in Naracoorte, Kingsley Petherick enlisted in the RAAF as an airgunner in 1941.

His nephew Ormonde Petherick, of Naracoorte, found a newspaper clipping containing Kingsley's own account of his experience in World War II...

"An airgunner during World War II didn't have a particularly permanent job. I was with a group of about 160 airgunners who sailed from Sydney for England in two groups on different ships in March, 1942.

To continue reading his personal account click here

Kingsley Petherick

Kingsley Petherick

If you have a story, prose or photos which depicts the spirit of the Anzacs we want to hear from you.

This story COLLECTION: Your Anzac Stories first appeared on The Murray Valley Standard.