Thank you readers for taking the time each week to read my posts. A year has now passed since I launched this blog on 25th December 2015 and it has become much bigger than I initially imagined it to be.
Unfortunately, I never had the pleasure of knowing my Great Grandfather and much of what I write is a matter of joining the dots with the little information I possess and bucket loads of imagination. And, by putting my posts out into the world wide blogisphere, I have become acquainted with family members I had no idea existed, who have provided me with invaluable information.
Recently, I had a conversation with my sister about my portrayal of William Lyons. She said “It would be interesting to know how close you are to the truth.” Through my studies on how to write family history stories, I have had to analyse his actions and the reasons behind them. For instance, “why did he enlist in 1914?”, “was he a selfish man?”, “what was he like as a man?”, or “was he a respected officer?” Without personally knowing a person, it is a very difficult task, it has been a weight of responsibility on my shoulders. If I were creating a fictional character I could choose any number of scenarios, however, in writing about a real person, I need to be careful with my deductions.
In “The Desert Column”, written by Ion Idress, he mentions the various officers in the Fifth Light Horse Regiment. He gave a favourable account of most, however said there were two who he didn’t care for at all. On reading his account, I wondered which category William Lyons came under. Of course, one doesn’t want to believe the worst about an ancestor, especially when one has placed so much effort into researching their life.
I needn’t have worried as this week I received a newspaper article about William Lyons that paints him in a very good light. An article in the Charters Towers Newspaper on 18 May 1910, announcing his retirement from the forces, lyons_wmj_goes-a-sugaring said the following:
Sergeant Major William Lyons of the instructional staff, Commonwealth Military Forces, Q, had decided to retire from the service much to the regret of all concerned, as he is considered one of the most capable officers in the Commonwealth.
Another article written in the Ipswich Herald about Williams impending wedding, lyons_wmj_presentation-for-wedding-3 dated 30 October 1902, refers to his personality as modest and retiring.
These articles have reinforced my former belief that he was indeed respected by his men. When I read the latter article, his son Bill came to mind. This helped me create a living picture of my Great Grandfather. Bill was a quiet intelligent man who also possessed a seemingly retiring personality. Obviously, William was well respected and his quiet, modest demeanour belied a core of steel that was required to perform his tasks on the battlefields of the Boer War and World War One.
Finally, I thank those who have assisted my research and welcome anyone’s input that might help paint an accurate picture of my Great Grandfather. I liken it to a jigsaw puzzle. The more pieces I can find, the more complete his final portrait will be.