BirtwistleWiki: former Armadale mayor creates catalogue of WWI soldiers from Armadale-Kelmscott and Serpentine-Jarrahdale areas

BirtwistleWiki creator Linton Reynolds.
BirtwistleWiki creator Linton Reynolds.

ALICE Maud Martin was just a regular woman when she made a decision that would change her life as she knew it.

Ms Martin was working as a nurse at Perth Public Hospital and the District Hospital of Meekatharra when she decided to enlist in World War I soon after the announcement Australia had joined the war effort.

She tended to wounded and ill soldiers in Egypt and France while serving with the 1st Australian General Hospital (1AGH) and despite becoming seriously ill herself three times, continued to serve until her resignation in March 1918, aged 29.

Ms Martin’s is one of more than 800 stories brought together in a new resource detailing the brave and selfless contributions men and women from the Armadale-Kelmscott and Serpentine-Jarrahdale regions made in World War I.

Launched at Armadale Library today, the BirtwistleWiki is the creation of former City of Armadale mayor and Vietnam veteran Linton Reynolds, who was inspired to collate the stories after discovering a discrepancy on the Armadale Solders Memorial obelisk.

Armadale mayor Henry Zelones said it had been a project years in the making.

“Through his research (Mr Reynolds) found that there were names on the memorial that appeared to not belong to the district and many names were missing that should have been on the memorial,” he said.

“A finite end to the list of names was unrealistic and a printed publication for over 400 entries would be expensive and inadequate to capture all the enlistees who might need to be belatedly added.

“The answer would be to create an online access portal to research the soldiers and nurses names and descendants of service people in World War I could research and add content as more information became available.

“With the invaluable assistance from the Digital Services Librarian at Birtwistle Library, the BirtwistleWikiwas created.”

He hoped it would be an invaluable resource for the local community that would continue to grow as more stories and photos were added.

“The BirtwistleWiki is completely digital and available to anyone with access to the internet,” he said.

“The wiki is organic in nature and the two-fold intention is to have the wiki as a comprehensive resource and to encourage researchers to add to (or correct) the information available.

“Photographs give a direct visual connection to the soldier or nurse but many images are missing and so donations are welcome.”

Mr Reynolds is aiming to revisit the Western Front next year to add more information for those who did not return.

The BirtwistleWiki can be accessed at www.birtwistlewiki.com.au.

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