Australian Army Band member, Lance Corporal Lenore Evans, will pay special tribute to family members who served before her during commemorative services in France on Anzac Day.
Among them is her great-great-great-uncle, war artist Frank Crozier, who served at Gallipoli and in France.
Private Crozier had studied at the National Gallery of Victoria Art School but when WW1 started he enlisted with the Australian Imperial Force in March 1915.
He arrived in Egypt in May 1915 and at Gallipoli in September 1915, where he served as a stretcher-bearer with the 22nd Battalion.
He worked on illustrations for The ANZAC Book during December 1915 for official war correspondent Charles Bean, a collection of soldiers’ satirical and sombre accounts of their experiences at Gallipoli.
In France, he served under Brigadier General Gellibrand who asked Private Crozier to make sketches of the Battle of Pozières.
Several of these paintings are held at the Australian War Memorial.
Lance Corporal Evans, a clarinet section leader with the Army Band, was able to view her great-great-great-uncle’s paintings for the first time in the lead-up to Anzac Day.
“I felt quite emotional to see them in real life,” Lance Corporal Evans said.
“His artwork leaves no doubt in my mind that he saw suffering during his service. His pictures depicting Pozières make you feel the chill just looking at them.
“They also make me certain that he felt the camaraderie that I feel today with my colleagues. His work titled Through the Saps to Pozières in particular demonstrates to me the bond between soldiers who have toiled together.”
Lance Corporal Evans said it was lovely to know that the war didn’t end catastrophically – physically, at least – for Private Crozier.
“He was able to come home to his family and his homeland,” she said.
“After the war, he worked in an advisory role for the Australian War Memorial, and during WW2 he worked in a munitions factory.”
Lance Corporal Evans said she felt humbled to attend the service in Villers-Brettoneux this year.
“So few Australians get the opportunity to attend these services and pay respect to our fallen on the land in which they lay, so it is an honour to be there representing the Australian Army and the Australian people,” she said.
“Being able to fulfil our oath to never forget those who went before us in such a poignant way is very important to me.
“Every story that I hear of those soldiers who went selflessly to war, in a land they knew little of, drives home to me the horror of war.
“It is devastating to think of the families left behind, grieving for the loss of life or limb; or worse yet, hoping in vain that their son, brother, uncle or beloved would return.
“In those moments before dawn it is impossible not to think of the mates that sit on either side of me and feel grateful that together we will return to our homeland in safety.”