War hero’s story told

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War hero’s story told

 

AN audience gathered at Leongatha Library on Wednesday to hear Dr Ross McMullin talk about his biography of a soldier who left his mark in Leongatha.

Mr McMullin spoke of his book Pompey Elliott, which explores the life of the remarkable soldier and the man who unveiled Leongatha Memorial Hall, Harold ‘Pompey’ Elliott.

“Pompey was Victoria’s most notable ‘unveiler’ at the time and was responsible for opening a number of memorials including the hall in Leongatha,” Mr McMullin said.

“Pompey had character, courage and capacity. He was a fierce fighter and he was remarkably brave.”

Pompey was a commander in the 7th battalion in World War One.

“He would never send his soldiers anywhere he was not prepared to go himself,” Mr McMullin said.

“There was nothing austere or aloof about Pompey. He was a larger than life character and he was the epitome of a fighting leader.”

His infantry was deployed on the Western Front during the infamous Battle of Fromelles where the army sustained 5533 Australian casualties in a single evening.

Pompey miraculously survived the battle where 1800 of his own soldiers were injured.

“He showed loyalty and profound regard for the men he lead,” Mr McMullin said.

“He always did what was necessary to look after his men throughout the war. He was a tempestuous leader. No fewer than four of his soldiers received the Victorian Cross for their work at the Battle of Lone Pine.”

Pompey later returned to his wife and two children in Australia at the end of the war when he became a notable Senator in the 1920s prior to his suicide in 1931.

Mr McMullin began his research of Pompey in the 1980s when he could speak to returned soldiers who remembered the infamous character.

“Pompey was a superb subject for a biographer,” he said.

“My main objective for the book was to share the previously untold story of Pompey’s life and use his story as a vehicle to tell the story of the Great War and the devastation it caused.”

Mr McMullin also gave a presentation on his book Farwell, Dear People to the Leongatha Historical Society last Wednesday in the lead up to Anzac Day.

Sharing stories: from left, Leongatha Library principal librarian Michael Hogan and guest author Dr Ross McMullin spoke to an audience at Leongatha Library last Wednesday.

Sharing stories: from left, Leongatha Library principal librarian Michael Hogan and guest author Dr Ross McMullin spoke to an audience at Leongatha Library last Wednesday.

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Posted by on Apr 19 2016. Filed under Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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