Preserving a Family's History

Framing my great grandfathers service medals seemed like the right thing to do, but to my grandfather it was something he wanted to do but wanted to ensure it was done properly, otherwise not at all.

These days there is a stereotype that children don’t want to listen to their relative’s stories, but I’m rarely given the opportunity to even hear my grandfather’s stories. My grandfather never speaks about his dad (my great grandfather) because of the pain it still causes him from losing his father at a young age, but on the rare occasion when he does my ears are always tuned in. My great grandfather (Major Keith Charles Collins) was a genuine war hero, but I never knew why. Recently for the first time I finally had an opportunity to hear what my great grandfather did for our country.

Major Keith Charles Collins was a phenomenal man and loved by his family. He was (at the time) the youngest man to ever be promoted to Major in the army, at the age of just 22. He served in the Second World War, Borneo, The Philippines and the Battle of Leyte. In the Battle of Leyte, Australia wasn’t actually there. Major Keith C Collins was there with the US Marines to gain an insight into how they executed their amphibious landings and bring back the information, so the Australian Army could implement the same techniques. He was also one of a few, who were mentioned in dispatchers during the Second World War which was a rare recognition. But unfortunately, that’s where the story ended.

Major Keith Charles Collins died at the age of 49 and his stories died with him. We don’t know what he did to deserve the mention in dispatchers or if he got other awards throughout his military career. My mum was only two, as she grew she wished she could have had the opportunity to hear his stories and now I wish I could too. My grandfather spoke about how the war changed his father, how after the war he refused to mention his stories and memories of the war. My grandfather has tried time and time again to find out more about his father’s military career but to little prevail.

It’s so important to me that my family’s stories aren’t lost. I never want my great grandfather to be forgotten and when I have kids I want them to grow up hearing what he sacrificed for us. That’s why this Anzac Day I’ve organised to give my grandfather a custom-made frame from Frames Now to display his father’s medals, so our family’s history will never be lost or forgotten.

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