News Release

Church Hosts WWI Commemorative Event in Adelaide

Stories of soldiers and their families open teenagers’ eyes

A World War 1 commemorative event held last week in Adelaide provided more than a history lesson to 14-year-old Jordan Mutton.

Jordan’s great-grandfather, Gilbert Thomas Mutton, was among those whose stories were shared at a family history event sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at Firle on 9 August.

“I learned a lot more about my great-grandfather—about his life, his story, and even his personality,” Jordan said. “But the best thing is that I now feel close to him, even though I never knew him.” 

“It really hits home that everyone who went to war, or who went to help — every single one of them had a family life.”

Over 400 attended the event which was organized to help people look back on the service, sacrifices and legacies of those who fought in World War 1.

A wide range of ancestor profiles and story presentations were displayed, each highlighting individuals and families caught up in the conflict.

The youngest presenter of the evening was 16-year-old Duncan Black, who spoke about his recent visit to Flanders, Belgium.  

On that trip he learned more about his great-grandfather, Charles Black, who joined the British Royal Marines when he was the same age Duncan is now. 

“For me,” Duncan said, “discovering more about my great grand-father—his life and his war service—has been really enjoyable.  Instead of seeing a name on a family tree, I now know a lot about the person he was, and feel privileged to be carrying his name.”

Event coordinator, Caroline McIlwaine, said, “The commemoration provided a snapshot of a much larger WWI family.”

“One of the South Australian-born ancestors received a Victoria Cross for valour; another lied about his age and enlisted at age 16; another wrote out his will on the eve of the first Battle of the Somme, knowing he wouldn’t survive. These were real people, who lived during terrible times.”

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill sent a message to be read at the event:  “We remember the over 6,000 

brave South Australians who sacrificed their lives to protect all Australians and our allies in battle.  No family or community was left untouched by the terrible tragedy of the young lives lost in this conflict.  The many memorials in every city and country town bear testament to the courage and sacrifice of these outstanding young men and young women who created a culture of valour, selflessness and mateship.”

Leader of the South Australian Liberal Party, Steven Marshall, also shared a message: “Some of life’s most valuable lessons can be found in the history pages of our country, and, indeed, the world. As a community, we must all work together to ensure that the legacy of World War I service men and women are not forgotten.”

School Military History Project Officer, Ken Duthie, presented a collection of uniforms, medals and memorabilia — sharing the stories linked to each item.

The event included a Wall of Remembrance bedecked with poppies and bearing the names of fallen soldiers

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