French students in Brisbane to learn about WWI troops

Carly Waters

A group of French students has arrived in Brisbane to learn more about our lost troops from World War One.

Photographs of the soldiers were taken in their home village of Vignacourt now, they're documenting their stories through the diggers' descendants.

Almost 100 years ago Australia's sons were sent to France and now, a young generation of its sons and daughters have come here to learn more about our lost soldiers.

"They know they are going to do the same journey in the other sense but in time of peace," mentor Lucile Werkin said.

"We want to have a video trace to share the story of Vignacourt and the diggers."

Glass negatives of these incredible photos were uncovered by Seven's Sunday Night program in a barn in the small village of Vignacourt - a place for troops to have R’n’R from the frontline.

"The French villagers brought the soldiers into their homes and the soldiers were larrikins as they were,” organiser Michael Fiechtner said.

The pictures were sent home to their families as postcards and for some, it was the last time they saw their loved one.

The photos are on display at the Queensland Museum and a group of French students from Vingacourt are here to document the soldiers' stories.

The teenagers are travelling around Australia to meet with the diggers' descendants like Ron Purssey, whose father was a Sapper.

"Well it's quite an emotional experience of course," he said.

They'll take the stirring stories home as a documentary is being filmed.

"(Ron) is actually the first person we met in Australia and he told us about his father,” one of the students told 7News.

Every one of these photos has a story but many will never be known. Of the 4000 glass plates found, 800 have been identified as Aussie troops and fewer than 100 have been named.