Family’s nine went to war

Noel Gorman - his father was one of nine soldiers in World War I from Grafton. Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner
Noel Gorman - his father was one of nine soldiers in World War I from Grafton. Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner Adam Hourigan

DURING wartime it wasn't uncommon for families to farewell their sons to the battlefields, however doing it nine times over was a little more out of the ordinary.

The Gorman family of Grafton had eleven children, with two daughters Alice and Mary, and nine soldiers, Jim, Michael, Jack, Reg, Thomas, Leo, Bill, Bernie and Geoffrey.

Each son joined the army voluntarily, ready and willing to fight for his country on the battlefields. However only one made it out of Australian waters for the First World War.

Thomas Gorman's son Noel remembers his father and uncles fondly from when he was a little tacker nipping at their heels.

"Those boys always got along from what I remember," Mr Gorman said.

"They had their rows but that is just something that happens. They were always with each other.

"Even when I was a young bloke about seven or eight they would let me sit with them and join in on what they were doing together. They were all terrific blokes."

"It's just a shame that after the war when they were all meant to come home, they just scattered across the country."

The Gorman family owned a homestead on the outskirts of town where all the family was raised and where Thomas began raising his own family.

Noel can remember being raised in a shed on the side of the home-stead and being constantly surrounded by family.

"We had a homestead down what they used to call Gormans Lane.

"I don't know if that is what it is called now or if the house even exists anymore. The house was right on the corner of the lane. It wasn't a big place but it was big enough for us."

"After a while we shifted from the homestead further into town in Queen St and that is when the boys left for the war."

"My father went down to Sydney with the AIF (Australian Imperial Force) but I don't much know what he was doing for them. He wasn't in the army for long before he returned back home."

For Noel Gorman, who also served his country, there is a great pride in coming from a long line of military men.

"Damn yes, I am proud of them," he said. "I thank all of the boys that served this beautiful country in the wars."

Topics:  soldiers war ww1

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