A hundred years ago this week, amid the carnage of a major World War I battle, a distraught Australian soldier buried his beloved older brother. The tragedy set in train a series of events that would reverberate among one Queensland family for generations. Story by Greg Callaghan of Sydney Morning Herald

All this for one lousy strip of shiny tin. It's the first light of dawn in West Flanders, Belgium, and Private John "Jack" Hunter is crouched behind a charred tree trunk, clutching his rifle, his grey eyes peering out into the morning mist. Somewhere out there, in this corridor of death between opposing trenches they call no man's land, his enemies lie in wait behind reinforced concrete bunkers, nests of machine guns at the ready. Some of the trenches out here are so terrifyingly close you can occasionally hear the enemy talking, catch the clack clack of them loading up shells or smell their cooking. But on this autumn morning, all is deafeningly quiet.

Only minutes earlier, Jack had received the most dreaded command of all: to go "over the top", to leave the earth-rammed safety of the trench to retrieve a pesky piece of tin reflecting the morning light back into the eyes of the troops further down the field, making it impossible for them to target the enemy. Any second now, this handsome 28-year-old soldier from the small, rural town of Nanango in Queensland, alone in this desolate patch of no man's land, expects bullets to be whizzing past his head...

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