Families share soldiers’ stories online

PERSONAL stories of World War I, preserved in the hearts and minds of soldiers' families, are being shared across the nation through the National Archives' Mapping our Anzacs website, mappingouranzacs.naa.gov.au.

The website, which enables people to search for World War I service men and women online by their name, or place of birth or enlistment, has a scrapbook component where relatives and others can post photographs and other tributes to their loved ones.

One moving story tells of Elvas Elliott Jenkins who landed at Gallipoli on April 25 1914. Less than two weeks later a shell exploded next to the young soldier lobbing a heavy ball of shrapnel into his chest. It was on target to pierce his heart but, for Elvas, it was his lucky day. The bible he carried in his shirt pocket trapped the shrapnel within its pages, saving the young man's life.

"It's stories like these that show the reality of war, the experiences of individual humans, which sometimes become lost in the mire of statistics," Zoe D'Arcy, Director of Digital and Online Access at the National Archives said.

"We feel privileged that so many Australians are using the Mapping our Anzacs website as a forum to share their stories and so create a richer tapestry of national history."

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