Last night I watched the first episode of Tony Robinson's Tour of Duty, the new ten part series produced for the Centenary of Anzac Day and shown on the History Channel. The first one hour episode was filmed at Towoomba and surrounding area. Obviously there is a focus on monuments and stories relating to the First World War but stories relating to service in other wars were also provided.
The stories last night included:
A visit to the 11th Light Horse Darling Downs Troop which is a re-enactment unit established in 2002 commemorating the work of the 11th Light Horse Darling Downs Regiment established in February 1915.
Bill the Bastard, a waler, who carried five soldiers to safety during the Battle of Romani during World War I
The Mothers Memorial which was built from money raised by the women of the town and situated in the centre of the city. In the mid 1980s the memorial was relocated to East Creek Park where it is the focus for remembrance services.
A State War Memorial to Animals has also been proposed for Eastern Creek Park.
Toowoomba and District Aeromodellers who have produced models of World War II planes including the Black Magic, a kitty hawk flown by Len Waters, an aboriginal pilot. There was also an interview with the daughter of Len Waters.
Members of the 25th Infantry Battalion, formed from militia units from Toowoomba and the Darling Downs area, who were sent to defend Milne Bay in Papua New Guinea in 1942. This segment included an interview with a survivor from this campaign.
A soldier from Afghanistan recovering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with the aid of a dog named Zeus, part of a program set up to assist the treatment of soldiers with PTSD. After the first and second world wars soldiers many soldiers suffered from what was then called shell shock but is now referred to as PTSD.
Each episode also has a road show segment where people are encouraged to show items relating to the war experience of family members.
All in all this was an interesting episode covering wide ranging topics relating to the experience of war in the community. Future episodes will visit other towns in Australia and New Zealand and should be worth watching.