Digger died after eight months at war

ANZAC day is such a significant day in Australian history. It's a day where we reflect on the past, honour those who served and remember the fallen.

As a child for me it was just another day about a war that didn't concern me. But as I've gotten older and learned more I've found my ties, and can now honour them with pride.

I've found 12 relatives among three family trees with service across navy, army and airforce. But this is the story of a young man named Robert Benjamin Footner Junior. Private Footner served during World War One.

Born in Port Augusta to Mary Ann Paxton and Robert Benjamin Footner senior. He also had a brother Albert Osscar Herman Footner who served as an army trooper of the Ninth Light Horse Regiment.

Private Footner was born in on March 7, 1895. His schooling is unknown but if he did any would have most likely taken place at the original Catholic school. Today it has become the Wadalata Outback Centre.

While home he had a job working as a baker before being enlisted. He spent some time working for a Mr and Mrs R Smith of Yudnapinna station and a Mrs Massey from Glenelg. He enlisted into the military's army branch on February 24, 1916. During the war he fought in the 50th infantry batalion. He entered the war aged 20 and was killed just eight months later aged only 21.

He is buried at the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery in France, along with 94 Australian soldiers. On home soil he has a small plaque at the Port Augusta RSL and his name is also on the war memorial monument in Adelaide off North Terrace.

I may not have known Robert or any of the other serving Footners, Hemmers, Kittles, Reick or Davis and Clarkes as the family tree branches out. But I take honour and pride in those I've been able to have the privilege to research and learn about. To know their names, stories and keep them alive to not be forgotten.

I believe we should all take pride and honnour in learning about or military history and passing these teachings down through the generations. - CHELSEY FOOTNER