William Isaac Arnold was a son, husband and father from Lilydale, Tasmania.
On 8 April 1917, William was killed by an aeroplane bomb while serving in France.
Growing up in the shadows
When William died, Alice lost a husband. Gladys, Lucy and Olive lost a father. Children living in the Lilydale area, at the time, grew up in the shadows of men who were willing to give everything for their families, friends and country.
The townships of Lilydale and Derby lost a worker, a friend, a brother and a son. But all of these people also gained an understanding of the value of giving something of yourself for others. This awe they felt in regards to the sacrifice of William and his fellow fallen, turned them into better people. People more willing to give, knowing that William will have always given more than they. This sense of empowerment and self-worth was a value that these people developed so strongly, and felt was so important, that they passed it on to the next generation. They used stories of the brave and devoted heroes to inspire in their children a sense of community and selflessness. Such is the success of this passing on of values that the people, places and stories to which they are attached have maintained their significance.
Kingston High School teacher John Bennett accompanied the Frank MacDonald Memorial Study Tour to the Western Front in 2018.
John Bennett researched William Isaac Arnold and shared his thoughts about visiting William's headstone.
So with William’s headstone at my hip I feel the swells of certainty and validation as I look at six young, interested faces. It’s not the body in the ground that matters, I’m sure. He can’t know we are even here. It’s the fragile art of selflessness that is being preserved by these white stones, and it looks like they’re doing a stellar job to me.
Read about Williams Isaac Arnold. (PDF, 1.31MB)