Declaration holds significance for sisters Aileen and Marie

THE arrival of news that Australia was at war has special significance for sisters Aileen and Marie Howard.

While the pair were not born at the time of the declaration, their father William Howard was in Bendigo and took it upon himself to enlist. 

He was 23. 

"They didn't talk that much about what happened overseas," Marie said. 

"They talked about people but not events as much."

Mr Howard was sent to Gallipoli and was part of the push in which Wedderburn's Albert Jacka became the first Australian to win the Victorian Cross.

He was injured in battle and evacuated to Malta and then England, but recovered from his injuries and returned to battle only to become a prisoner of war in France and Germany. 

Aileen said the soldiers felt it was their duty to enlist and support the British empire. 

"They were all enthusiastic about going," she said.

"I suppose it was, to a degree, although not really, an adventure.

"Dad ran into a friend who said he had enlisted and thought, 'right I am going to enlist, too'," Marie said. 

Marie and Aileen shared their father's story at The Capital theatre earlier in the week. 

The pair gathered at an event organised by the Returned Servicemen's League of Bendigo to commemorate a century since Great Britain declared war on Germany on August 4, 1914.

Marie said it was nice to listen to the stories of other people who had relatives fight overseas. 

For more photos and a video from the re-enactment, visit www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au

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