Gordon Iles was my great uncle. My grandfather, Tom Iles, was Gordon’s younger brother. My mother, Bev Croome, was his niece.
When I was a child I heard stories about my great uncle Gordon. On Remembrance Day or ANZAC Day I spent my minute of silence struggling to imagine his life before and during the Great War.
Only when I was about the same age Gordon went to war, did I discover and begin to read his letters. I took heart from his cheerful and calm disposition in the face of adversity. I was curious to know who this kind, articulate, high-spirited and sometimes wistful fellow really was. I was also moved by the depth of grief over his death, grief that was passed down through two generations of our family.
Three decades on from that first direct encounter with Gordon Iles, and to commemorate the centenary of his death, I decided to copy and catalogue all the wartime correspondence to and from my great uncle, and exhibit it on this website. My hope is that this will better inform my family members about Gordon’s life, provide a useful resource for historians, and lead to a permanent display about Gordon’s war service at an appropriate Tasmanian museum.
Most of all I hope it will provide others with precious insights into Gordon Iles, his family and Tasmania at a time of great tribulation.
Thanks to Geoff Iles for sharing the Iles family’s war-time correspondence with me, Bev Croome for her advice on Iles family history, Mik O’Leary for advice on this website, Susan Reid for the site cover photo and Nicole Clarke for her timely encouragement.
Rodney Croome, April 2018