News

Anzac DNA link

NOT FORGOTTEN: Gympie’s Sue Forrest tells of her family’s search for a lost soldier.
NOT FORGOTTEN: Gympie’s Sue Forrest tells of her family’s search for a lost soldier. Renee Pilcher

PRIVATE John Robertson Forrest did not know what he started when he migrated to Australia, but his Gympie relatives still remember the great uncle who helped get their large and extended family started.

Gympie's Sue Forrest says she is delighted that the family she married into has at last found out what happened to the man they still call Uncle Jack, an Anzac hero killed in action in the First World War.

It has taken 96 years of history and the latest in DNA technology to find out what happened to the man who sponsored the migration of a brother and sister - founders of a huge extended family that now includes a long list of prominent Gympie surnames.

Pte Forrest was killed in action at the Battle of Fromelles in 1916 and was buried in a mass grave at Pheasant Wood.

He was 25 and unmarried. His brother, who fought with the British Army, died in London of war wounds.

Now, just in time for Anzac Day this year, the truth has been revealed.

Private John Robertson Forrest was only recently formally identified as a victim of the fighting at the French battlefield of Fromelles.

The latest DNA technology used samples from four of his family's descendants.

He was formally identified only last month at the recent Joint Identification Board held in London.

He is one of 250 diggers buried in Pheasant Wood, near Fromelles, by the Germans and was one of nine men identified at last month's identification board.

Former Gympie woman Katrina Giebels says the family, which has connections with some of Gympie's best known surnames, are all descended from the sister and younger brother sponsored to Australia by John Forrest.

Family names such as Grant, White, Wilbraham and Hall are among members of the huge extended family which owes its genetic history in Australia to Pte Forrest.

"My father, a Forrest, managed the National Bank for about 11 years and I worked there for a while," Mrs Giebels said yesterday.

"His sister Elizabeth came out by herself at 15 to join him in his business in Sydney.

"She wrote in her memoirs that she was looking for him in civilian clothes and when she saw him in uniform, realised he would not be there for her.

"She wrote that her heart sank.

"When she realised he was never coming home, she sent for her younger brother Samuel.

"They both moved to Gympie .

"Eliza married Harold White and Samuel married Harold's sister Gladys."

It was a prolific relationship.

"Samuel and Gladys, my grandparents, ended up with nine children.

"My dad also had nine children."

Harold and Eliza's daughter married into the Grant family and there are also links to the Whites, Wilbrahams and Halls.

"Barbara was one of Harold and Eliza's five children. Her DNA was important because she was in a direct female line.

"Three male descendants also provided samples which helped in the identification."

Gympie Times

Topics:  anzac dna



How to survive a bushfire in your car

IT SOUNDS like a nightmare, but it can happen.

Eight reasons to join the RFS

SPREAD across 93% of Queensland, the Rural Fire Service has about 36,000 volunteers. And you could be one of them.

What if my insurer gives me grief?

CLAIMING your insurance cover after a natural disaster can go one of two ways. It can be a breeze, or like pulling teeth.

You're too predicta-Bill

Nothing better describes Bill Shorten than his response to the 11th hour result concerning the Backpackers Tax, according to Colin Claridge.

Cynical and predictable, that's what Colin thinks of Labor

Stuck for Secret Santa ideas? There are plenty in Gymipie

LOVING THE LOCALS: Euphoria owner Lynn Wake has a number of secret Santa ideas.

Scott answers the age-old question: What to buy for secret Santa?

The Kandanga Hotel comes back from the ashes

TAKING SHAPE: Doug Greensill standing where the start of the new Kandanga pub will stand.

A year after the fire, the new Kandanga Hotel takes shape.

Local Partners

End-of-year break-up for OWN

GUNABUL Homestead was the place to be for 62 members of the Older Women's Network on December 1.


Your definitive Gympie guide to school holiday fun

HANDS ON: Get the chance to create your own clay animals at the Gympie Regional Gallery.

Check out the amazing things to do over the school holidays.

GARAGE SALES: Where to grab a bargain this weekend

Several sales are being held in Rockhampton on Saturday as part of the national Garage Sale Trail.

Take a look at these treasure troves

Kernaghan's a 'boy from the bush' with a timeless quality

Country music singer Lee Kernaghan.

Lee Kernaghan is celebrating the 25th year of his breakthrough song.

Justin Timberlake stuns students with secret class

Justin Timberlake stunned high school students in Sydney

Carrie Fisher says Ford will be bugged by affair confession

Carrie Fisher is sure Harrison Ford is annoyed at her

Dakota Fanning rekindles romance with childhood sweetheart

Dakota Fanning rekindles romance with ex

Jennifer Lawrence apologises to the people of Hawaii

Jennifer Lawrence sorry for 'offensive' story

Cruz Beckham's single a 'one-off'

He is not planning to launch a full-time music career yet.

Louis Tomlinson's mother dies aged 42

Louis Tomlinson's mother has died.

The apple and the worm

Gympie journalist Arthur Gorrie.

Progress leaps along, so let's look first

Essential to get new Maroochydore CBD fundamentals right

LOOKING AHEAD: The central business district at Maroochydore is planned to be the heart of the Sunshine Coast.

SunCentral reports good progress on 53ha Sunshine Coast city heart

'Crucial' farm land eyed by defence department

Lawson Geddes moving the Brangus cattle to higher ground - which is the land the Defence Department is interested taking for the Shoalwater Bay expansion.

"You can't have one without the other.”

Former Shark Show for sale for $1.3 million

Vic Hislop at the old Shark Show.

TALK about a jaws-dropping real estate opportunity.

There's a whole lot of luxury in this home

The Endeavour Foundation's latest prize home in Mountain Creek.

WHEN it comes to desirable homes, it's hard to go past a prize home.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!