Clayton shares story of Watherstons

Lee Clayton

Lee Clayton

Port Lincoln writer Lee Clayton is ready to launch the fruit of nearly a decade’s worth of labour with his book about the Watherston family to be launched today.

Rising Sons: Watherston soldiers 1914-1918 is Mr Clayton’s first full length book and will be launched at the Port Lincoln Library at 2pm.

Mr Clayton said excitement hardly covered his feelings about the launch.

“It has been a project that covers more than seven years of research and a further two and a half years of writing and editing,” he said.

The book looks at the Watherston family, who lost five young men in World War I.

It goes back to before the Watherston family came to Australia, starting with the birth of Alexander Watherston in Scotland in 1810.

Six of Alexander’s grandsons enlisted as infantry and served overseas at Gallipoli and the Western Front in World War I, but only one returned alive.

The book explores themes such as the impact of war on families and the early years of South Australia’s development.

Mr Clayton said no other Australian family lost so many grandsons.

“All of these men and their four sisters and their many cousins were born in Port Lincoln, hence first and foremost it is this small town’s own story,” he said.

“However the enormity of the tragedy creates an Australian national story.”

Mr Clayton said he felt lucky to have been able to tell this story and meet with members of the Watherston family.

“I hope that readers will share my admiration of this family’s commitment to the birth of the province of South Australia and of their exceptional gift of so many of their soldier brothers to the defence of the nation,” he said.

“I would like people to read my contribution to the history of this great state and the story of one family that epitomises the strengths and enterprise of its people.”

People are invited to meet with Mr Clayton at the book launch, which will include afternoon tea.

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