but you can just call me Ray.
My life is full of great experiences, made better for sharing.
Diggers from the Dust
Members of the local community around Willowie, which consists these days of not much more than the 1950's era Memorial Hall, have often pondered the fate of the families of the honour board veterans associated with the two World Wars. Very few of the names have maintained local connections.
Willowie is on the road between Orroroo and Wilmington in the Southern Flinders Ranges, quite near the regional towns of Booleroo Centre and Melrose. It's marginal farming country in the region of Goyders famous line of latitude above which crops will regularly fail.
So to honour the memory of those who served and those who didn't return, and to recognise the 100 years since armistice in World War One, the community has done its best to track down the histories of those families.
This coming Sunday, visitors from far and wide will gather to hear the ABC's Peter Goers launch the book of their discoveries, "Diggers from the Dust" lovingly authored by local farmers, Di and Andrew Barrie. Families will bring their stories from both world wars and the book has extended its coverage to include veterans of the Vietnam War.
The book includes the case of my own grandfather, August Willhelm (Bill) Muller, who was born in Willowie, in 1889, he had moved across the state just before the outbreak of war as a young man in his 20's to the Mallee town of Meribah, near Loxton, in equally marginal country near the Victorian border. It will be a great honour to take some artefacts from his service as a replacement Machine Gunner in the First AIF (Machine Gun Regiment) on the Somme in 1917 to the gathering this Sunday. His story is shared between two communities, Willowie and Meribah. His cousin Albert, also from the Willowie district, signed up to the first AIF with Bill, was the unlucky one, killed in action. His name appears as a casualty list on the Booleroo Centre Memorial. Many of these stories are told in the book, and many more will be shared on the day.
I will be collecting my copy on the day. The launch is at the Willowie Hall from 2pm to 4pm on Sunday 28 October. If you're in the vicinity come along an pay your respects as we recognise those who risked and gave their lives for us in the so-called, war to end all wars.