For many, like Tracey O’Hara who works in the department’s ICT Infrastructure Division, it’s part of their family history. Tracey recently discovered that her great-grandfather served at Gallipoli and was part of the infamous dark dawn landing.
“I’ve been researching for about sixteen years, and I keep finding new things all the time,” Tracey said.
Finding out about her great-grandfather at the war memorial is what prompted Tracey to dig deeper into her family history.
“Before the war was over, my great-great-grandmother lost four of her six sons,” Tracey said.
“My great grandfather, Henry Charles Keid (known as Harry) was 30 years old when World War 1 began.
“At the time Harry and Ted were clearing trees for the timber industry in Far North Queensland.
“They were inseparable. They travelled, worked, enlisted, trained and eventually went to war together.”
Harry and Ted signed up for the Australian Imperial Force and were assigned to the 9th Battalion. Two of their younger brothers had already shipped out, while the remaining two Keid brothers, remained at home.
Harry and Ted trained in the sands beneath the pyramids until it was time to board ships once more.
“In 1915, Harry and Ted would finally see battle; however, it wasn’t the adventure they had planned,” Tracey said.
“At 4:30am the 9th, 10th and 11th Battalions, landed on the beach of the Gallipoli Peninsula.”
“In the early hours of morning, my great-grandfather received a gunshot wound to his left thigh and lay in the darkness waiting for help. Ted went unscathed on that day as far as I’ve been able to tell.
It was the beginning of a conflict that would go down in Australian and New Zealand history as one of the most infamous campaigns ever fought.
While Harry and Ted both saw the sun go down over Gallipoli on 25 April, sadly Ted lost his life after almost three years at war in 1917. This was the fourth death of the six brothers. Bill died at Gallipoli in June 1915, then Leonard and Walter were killed on the same day in the battle of Mouque Farm, France September 1916.
Harry met his wife Laura while recovering in England from his wounds. A petition raised in the Queensland parliament requested he be returned to his family. He was discharged and returned home in early 1918 with his English bride. Harry never got over the loss of his four brothers and displayed the common traits of post-traumatic stress disorder and survivor’s guilt.
Tracey is now writing a fiction novel and owes her love of writing to the discovery of her family history.
“Finding out about my family history is what inspired me to write novels and my latest book will focus on World War 1,” Tracey said.