The Kempsey Family History Group have released a new book detailing the harrowing stories of sacrifice and courage shown by local soldiers during the First World War.
The Brothers-In-Arms Memorial Project has worked for years to create a memorial in Belgium to recognize all the Australian brothers who fought for their country in World War I.
Fallen Brothers Of The Macleay 1914 -1918 extends the work of Brothers-In-Arms to local families to recognise the extraordinary contribution of some families to the war effort.
The book has been a labour of love for local residents and volunteer historians, Debbie Reynolds and Jocelyn Bakewell.
The pair began their research in November last year after the idea of a book was raised.
"After talking about the idea at a committee meeting, we decided to start researching local families where two or more brothers had enlisted for the First World War and hadn't returned," Debbie said.
"In the book there are 17 families where two brothers hadn't returned home and the McGree family had three who never made it home.
"During our research we found that all of the soldiers came from different walks of life and although there were a lot of sad stories, they were interesting and are important to tell."
The book was made possible by a Community Grant from Kempsey Shire Council and a separate grant from the Kempsey Macleay RSL Club.
Relatives of the soldiers included in the book, along with members of the Kempsey Family History Group and Mayor Liz Campbell attended the launch at the the RSL Memorial Hall on Thursday.
"You have produced such an outstanding book that has required extensive research into the amazing and traumatic contributions that local families have made in the service of our country," Mayor Campbell said.
Debbie said Fallen Brothers Of The Macleay 1914 -1918 was made possible by the support and contribution of the Kempsey Family History Group and the families of the soldiers. Debbie's granddaughter Emily also painted the cover for the book.
"It's unreal to have finished the book, it really does feel like an achievement. There's so much to learn and I hope there will be more projects like this in the future," Debbie said.
Locals can purchase a copy of Fallen Brothers Of The Macleay 1914 -1918 from the Kempsey Family History Group Meeting Room at the Kempsey Railway Station any Tuesday or Thursday between 10am and 2pm or on Saturday mornings.
The books cost $20 each and can also be posted out to locals. Contact the Kempsey Family History Group at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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