A daughter of Donald Stewart (who joined the Coo-ees at Wellington) contacted me recently via the blog, so I have posted transcriptions of some of the letters he wrote home to his family while he was a prisoner of war in a German prison camp during the First World War, which were published in the family’s local newspaper The Wellington Times.
We are discovering through our research on the Coo-ees that several of them were held as prisoners of war during the First World War, including Donald Stewart from Wellington, Joseph Armstrong who joined the Coo-ees at Dubbo, and Allan Collquhoun and Cecil Roy McMillan, who both joined the Coo-ees at Parramatta.
Letters sent home to family and friends by the Coo-ees – whether they were training in camp, on a troopship, prisoners of war, fighting on the front, or behind the lines – provided information about their experiences during the war, and their thoughts and feelings at the time. It is great that some of these letters were published in local newspapers during the First World War, so that we can read about their experiences today.
Some family members have also sent me a photograph of their Coo-ee relative, with permission to include it on the individual blog entry for their Coo-ee, and it is fantastic to be able to be able to put a face to the name of individual Coo-ees.
Newspapers also published individual photographs of some of the Coo-ees during the war years, which I have been collecting, but I may not have found all of these yet. If more photographs become available, I will add these to each individual Coo-ees blog entry.
If anyone has personal letters, diaries, or photographs of the Coo-ees, I would very much like to hear from you. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.