BIG JOB: First World War researchers (from left) Denise Rapkins, Shirley Oakman and Thelma Denny.
BIG JOB: First World War researchers (from left) Denise Rapkins, Shirley Oakman and Thelma Denny. Matthew Mcinerney

Childers' researchers chase stories from Great War

AN AMBITIOUS project by three local women will uncover the stories behind local men and women who served in the First World War.

Denise Rapkins, Shirley Oakman and Thelma Denny started the project earlier this year.

The first stage of the plan is to record the stories of all soldiers from the Childers area who were among the thousands to land at Gallipoli, and the trio are calling for public assistance.

Mrs Rapkins explained the group sought to speak with descendants so as to create a greater understanding and increase records of local servicemen before they were lost to history.

"We're trying to get as many stories as possible now," Mrs Rapkins said.

"We need to get as many people as possible as they could be the last to remember the stories of their fathers or grandfathers."

The project has not been without its challenges, with incomplete and "odd" records and the difficulty in confirming some information part of their toughest tasks.

They explained that some men claimed by local records had little to no evidence having been in the area, with at least having been confused with Childers, Victoria.

Another was from Western Australia, with descendants having no record of the serviceman ever being in Queensland despite his records being lodged in the area.

"We won't get it 100% right but we'll do the best we can," Mrs Oakman said.

"All of this has to go somewhere. It has to be recorded before we lose it.

"It is difficult. There are no complete records and some information isn't always current."

Mrs Denny said she was specifically chasing information relating to serving members of the Woodman family, of whom she had problems tracking.

 CONTACT Denise Rapkins at Childers Library to share stories, memorabilia or for more information.