What is the purpose of the blog?

The purpose was originally to aid my own understanding of the First World War by researching individuals who fought in the war through all available sources from the time. This was to enhance the fiction I've been writing for many years.

Over time, though, the research has grown to stand independently, and now asks some considered questions about the Western Australian experience of the First World War. The simple purpose remains: to uncover and describe the war stories of individual soldiers from this state.

What qualifies you to research this material?

I'm a professional researcher with a background in historical archaeology and cultural geography. That's where I get my research skills, but my interest in WWI Australian soldiers comes from my own family's experiences, which inspired me to start writing my novel many years ago. See the Between the Lines tab for more information.

While the blog began as a hobby, as of 2015, I'll be undertaking the work in an academic capacity as a PhD candidate in History at the University of Western Australia, with the focus on my Landscape of Loss work in the Perth suburb of Subiaco. The study will be complete in 2018, and the aim is to produce a thesis, a book, and a proper website to showcase the findings.

Is it Greer or Gregory?

I go by both, for different purposes. I use Greer for my academic research and professional work, while Gregory is used for fiction-writing, blogging, and social media.

How are you choosing the people you research?

The methodology has changed over the last couple of years, and I've been selecting individuals in a range of ways.

I began with the plaques in Perth's Kings Park Honour Avenues, intending to choose one at random each Anzac Day to investigate further. That work is now being undertaken by the University of Western Australia to develop an interactive app- a very exciting project which you can see more about here.

I then decided I wanted to work on this research a bit more consistently, so I turned to the original 11th Battalion embarkation roll- the list of the first 1000-odd Western Australian soldiers who went to war in 1914. Part of my interest came from a curiosity to know what became of those who survived the Gallipoli campaign in 1915, so I began randomly selecting individuals from the roll to examine their experiences.

Later, the Landscape of Loss project grew to fruition, and the research has become much more systematic. I'm investigating every house in every street of the suburb of Subiaco, checking out the stories of enlisting soldiers and their families from before, during, and after the War.

Overall, I've also investigated individuals who have come to my attention through other means. If I happen across an interesting story while researching in the Trove digitised newspaper archives on another matter, I'll make a note of it and come back. I'll also use those ideas as a foundation to expand into further research. As a result of that, I have two smaller-scale but distinct studies currently in progress- one examining stories of soldiers who returned from war and committed acts of violence, and the other looking at the lives and service of men who worked in remote areas of Western Australia.

During 2013- 2014, I was also privileged to be included in the research teams for the Gallipoli Dead from Western Australia project, and the 11th Battalion AIF- Cheops Pyramid project, both supported by the WA Genealogical Society. I was also a contributing author to the social history of the Blackboy Hill training camp, produced by the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers' Centre in 2015.

Where do you find the information?

All information is publically available online through a range of sources, including (but not limited to) the National Archives of Australia, the Australian War Memorial, the National Library of Australia, and the State Records Office of Western Australia.

Please see the Research Sources tab for a full rundown of how to do this research yourself, including links to all the most important sources and suggestions on how to search.

You've already researched an ancestor of mine- can you send me the source information you found in your research?

I can indeed, and would be delighted to. Just send me an email and I'll reply providing links to the original sources, plus any screen captures or copies I have of anything discussed in the blog post.

I'm a relative of one of your subjects, and I note that some of your facts are wrong.

If you spot any errors in fact, please let me know and I'll happily amend or remove them. These posts are based on the available facts, but they are not in and of themselves a complete story without input from descendants.

You've researched my ancestor, or probably will, as they lived in Subiaco. Do you want additional material relating to their war experience?Yes! Definitely. I am keen to hear from anyone whose ancestor lived in Subiaco during the First World War, and am particularly interested in any photographs of individuals, houses and streets from the era. This project works best when the details are collaborative, so please send me an email at:

claire.greer @ research.uwa.edu.au (spaces removed)

if you'd like to discuss any of the soldiers featured on The Road to War and Back, or in the Landscape of Loss project.