In Their Footsteps: June 26
George Hannaford served as a runner on the Western Front during the First World War requiring courage, commitment and a lot of luck to survive.
This week’s episode of In Their Footsteps profiles George Hannaford who served as a runner on the Western Front during the First World War requiring courage, commitment and a lot of luck to survive.
He was awarded the Military Medal for his extraordinary efforts running messages between the front line and the commanders during the battle of Polygon Wood in 1917.
Private Hannaford also had enough good luck to make it through the war that took the lives of 60,000 Australian men, come home, marry and establish a dairy farm that is still in the family. Kristy Cooper grew up on George’s settlement farm and has spent her whole life in the district of Katandra in Victoria.
Now the mother of three wants to know how her family came to be there, how the war shaped her great-grandfather’s life, and how it also shaped their destiny. Kristy is motivated by love for her grandfather George Jr, George’s son. He is growing old and she wants to be able to tell him what his father endured and achieved on the battlefields of France and Belgium.
George Jr remembers a few war stories but it’s hard to sort fact from myth. Like so many men who survived the Great War, George never really talked to his family about what he saw, what he did, and how the carnage left a mark on him. Her great-grandfather’s war medals have been lost but Kristy wants to ensure that his war story is not.
On her first major overseas trip, she wants to bring the missing pieces of the family history back to life and understand what it meant to serve in the mud and mayhem of the Western Front for George Hannaford, a remarkable survivor.
In Their Footsteps airs Sunday, June 26, at 6.30pm on Nine.