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The McIntyre Family

The McIntyre brothers came home from World War I and with them they brought stories and objects that reflect their experiences during the war.

The First World War was an event that involved the whole world. Thousands of Australian troops were sent into battle in support of Britain and France. Among them were two brothers, John and Jim McIntyre. John McIntyre's experiences are particularly well documented because he brought back many objects from all the places he visited. He also sent many postcards home to his family during the war.

John Lachlan McIntyre was born at Beeac, Victoria in December 1890. He enlisted in the 1st AIF in July 1915. John fought on the Western Front, taking part in the battles of Fromelles and the 2nd Battle of the Somme. He was severely wounded at Fromelles and spent 12 months in hospital in England before returning to the front.

Pocketbook

Lara RSL Sub Branch

This pocketbook was brought home by John. Looking at this object, you can see that the French flag pattern ribbon could possibly symbolise the mateship between the French and Australian troops. It could also symbolise the mateship between the two countries during the war. This was used as something to carry around paper items like photos, newspaper clippings or letters from family. The next object could have been carried by John in his pocket book.

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Paybook

Lara RSL Sub Branch

This was John’s army pay book. They were usually carried by soldiers in their breast pocket. If soldiers didn’t have their pay books, they weren’t able to be paid. Pay books would usually state personal information such as marriage status and family, their promotions, the amount the soldier was paid and place of payment. Pay books can be used to track the movement of soldiers during the war. This book was handed in to Lara RSL by John himself.

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Postcard

Lara RSL Sub Branch

John was the eldest of three brothers and he had a close connection with his family. This is a postcard that he sent to his mother, Miss J. L McIntyre, and it shows this strong connection. During the war, all mail was checked and read before being sent back home to Australia, so this limited John to the amount of information he could send to his family. These letters were so special to families back home in Australia. They were often the only link they had to their sons, brothers, fathers or husbands during the war, providing temporary reassurance that they were somewhat safe.

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Embroidered Birthday Card

Lara RSL Sub Branch

This birthday card was another item showing communication with home. It was a gift from John to his mother for her birthday. Silk cards became very popular during the First World War. They were created by French women as a way to distract themselves and generate income. They started making them in their homes but later moved to factories as the cards became popular. Millions of cards were made and sold during the war. They were usually sent for special occasions such as anniversaries.

The writing inside this card is very simple. John has only written, ‘To Mother’ and ‘From Jack’, which was his nickname. An inscription on the interleaf reads: 'Wishes are nothing; tis the heart / That in the few lines dwells / And says to those from us apart / More than the greeting tells.'

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Framed Photos and Medals

Lara RSL Sub Branch

This frame shows the medals and pictures of the McIntyre boys. The middle child, Jim, also enlisted in the First World War with John. The youngest, Thomas, was too young to join but enlisted during the Second World War. Both John and Jim were wounded during the war but came home when the war ended. When they came home John was granted a soldier settlement. This was a piece of land given to returned service people by the state governments. John was a founding member of the Lara RSL and also the longest serving member. John sadly passed away in 1990. These objects preserve his memory and tell important stories about the experiences of soldiers and their families.

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