VALUED MEMORABILIA: Daphne Heaton holding the plaque issued to Private Roberts' family following his death in 1918. The personalised plaque, often referred to as the
VALUED MEMORABILIA: Daphne Heaton holding the plaque issued to Private Roberts' family following his death in 1918. The personalised plaque, often referred to as the "Dead Man's Penny", was issued to next-of-kin of all service personnel who were killed as a result of the war.

The Trumpet Calls - WWI Tribute at museum

THIS year marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War, providing an opportunity for many families to reflect on the tragic loss of loved ones and the sacrifices made in the interests of peace throughout the world.

Many local families witnessed their boys and young men responding to the call of the trumpet and appeals for help overseas.

Robert Allan Roberts grew up on a local sugar cane farm at Rosemount, later moving with the family into Nambour on a mixed farm. He attended school at Rosemount and Nambour State School and subsequently gained employment at the Moreton Sugar Mill where he worked as a fireman on the locomotive Maroochy.

Upon reaching the age of 21 years in 1915, Robert immediately enlisted in the Australian Medical Corps and, accompanied by another local lad, Joe Adsett, entered the Enoggera training camp on Melbourne Cup Day. Robert left for overseas service aboard the Australian Hospital Ship Kanouria from Sydney on March 29, 1916, serving as a stretcher-bearer for almost two years in the battlefields of France.

Daphne Heaton has a remarkable record and wealth of wartime memorabilia relating to her uncle Robert Allan Roberts, which she has assembled in a special World War I display at the Nambour Museum, aptly named The Trumpet Calls - WWI Tribute.

The collection includes photographs and postcards from Australia as well as delicately embroidered souvenir cards made in France and sent home to family members from the front line.

Like all families linked to the war effort, mum and dad dreaded a knock at the door or letter in the mail concerning the fate of their loved ones.

After receiving the horrid telegram telling of the death of their son, the postman arrived at the Roberts' farm days later with a communication which read in part:

"Dear Mr Roberts, I have put off writing to you now for four days for I simply had not the courage to speak even on paper of the death of your boy.

"Poor little lad. I did not realise how deeply he had sunk into my heart until his death brought it home to me."

These words from his commanding officer spoke of an incident on April 7, 1918, where Robert had a chance meeting with a close friend Walter Erwood from another Field Ambulance regiment during an exchange of positions.

In a matter of minutes, an enemy shell exploded beside them, causing severe injuries to both. Robert died soon after and was buried in a war grave at Warloy-Baillon Cemetery Extension where the trumpet could be heard once again.

The Trumpet Calls - WWI Tribute provides an ideal opportunity to reflect on life at home before and during the war years and to admire the amazing endeavours within the community to support the war effort.The display provides the personal touch and complements the Museum's extensive military collection covering all major conflicts with a focus on the involvement of local people. 

The Nambour Museum is at 18 Mitchell Street with normal opening hours 1pm to 4pm, Wednesday to Saturday.

The website nambourmuseum.org.au provides more information.


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