Historic troop train carries digger's name

VIVIAN Archer is an enigma.

The First World War soldier battled the Turks in Gallipoli but very little else is known about the Winton district pastoralist's service history.

Like thousands of Australian soldiers, the father of three who died in 1944 at 68 never spoke about his experiences with his family.

What we do know is the Tasmanian-born farmer left his property in the Winton district to serve his country in Gallipoli.

He survived the trenches and returned home to father a third son - John Archer - who followed in his father's footsteps.

John was the first Queensland man to enlist in the army for the Second World War.

And like his dad, John Archer rarely revealed his experiences in the war zones.

While Vivian's role in Gallipoli is a mystery, his heroics have been remembered in a rare way.

The first carriage on the historic troop train re-enactment through central Queensland carries his name.

Rosemary Archer, who met and married John Archer after he returned to Australia, is Vivian's oldest living relative.

The 89-year-old grandmother of 17 took pride of place in the carriage named after her father-in-law for the train's Winton to Longreach leg on Monday.

"I think it's wonderful," Mrs Archer said of the tribute.

"It makes me very emotional.

"I never expected this."

Maranoa MP Bruce Scott gave Mrs Archer an Australian flag during a wreath-laying ceremony at Winton's war memorial and said the Archer men would have only shared their war horror with their veteran mates.

"Horrific things would have occurred in the trenches of Gallipoli," Mr Scott said.

"When they came home, one of the ways they coped with it was not to talk about it.

"They would have lived in constant fear after witnessing the mass destruction of human life and property."

Topics:  anzac centenary wwi

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