FOR Rita Broad, tracing her family history has meant more than finding out where she came from, it also meant finding out how her ancestors had contributed to the Anzac tradition.
Over the course of several years, Mrs Broad has traced her family’s history in part to satisfy her own curiosity, but also to create something for her children and 13 grandchildren to discover.
“I’ve always been interested in putting this all together for my kids,” she said.
A photo of her great uncle Leslie Breasley, who died in World War I, was on the wall of her mum’s house.
“I wanted to know why he was there – he was such as young person.”
With help from her father’s brothers and records from the Australian Army, Mrs Broad has been able to put together an impressive collection of history.
It begins with her grandfather, William Bruce enlisting in the army to fight in the Sudan Conflict in 1885. Mrs Broad’s great uncle Leslie Breasley fought in France during World War I.
Her father, Donald “Mannie” Bruce, and his brother, Noel, fought in World War II along with their brothers-in-law Ted Mouldt and Alfred McGuire.
Mrs Broad’s husband, Derek, served in Vietnam, while his father also served with the British army in World War II.
While the majority of the family came from in and around Junee, Mr Broad’s father only came to town after he was discharged from the British Army –the unit he fought with was attached to the Australians at Tobruk in Libya.
Of the nine members of the family who went to war, only two did not return.
“Even though some came back, the experience wrought a terrible cost through post-traumatic issues,” Mr Broad said.
Mr Broad served from 1966 to 1968 and fought with 1RAR in the Battle of Coral-Balmoral – one of the biggest deployments of Australian soldiers during the war.
Tasked with preventing a large assault on Saigon, in the battle the Australians were supported by the American air force and New Zealand artillery.
“(But) I don’t think about my own experience much, I think mainly about my father who served in World War II,” Mr Broad said.
The Broads have raised four children in Junee – two girls and two boys, who were interested in the contribution their family made to the Anzac legend.
“We’re very lucky that none of our children have gone to war,” Mr Broad said.
With 13 grandchildren, Mrs Broad said if one chose to join the army the family would be supportive but hoped they could live their lives in peace.
William Bruce (Rita Broad’s grandfather)
Served in Sudan conflict in 1885
Leslie Breasley (Uncle to Donald Bruce)
Served in World War I
Killed in France, 23 years old
Donald “Mannie” Bruce (William Bruce’s son, Rita Broad’s father)
Served in World War II
On returning to Junee, helped build the Roundhouse.
Noel Bruce (William Bruce’s son)
Served in World War II with the RAAF
Alfred McGuire (Donald and Noel’s brother-in-law)
Served in World War II
Captured by Japanese, believed to have escaped three times
Missing in action since 1945, 34 years old
Ted Mouldt (Donald’s brother in law)
Served in World War II in Army Signals
William Broad (Derek Broad’s father)
Served in British Army in World War II
Fought in Libya, Italy, Egypt and France
Served in National Service from 1966 to 1968
As part of 1RAR participated in the Battle of Coral