|The production started in 2007. First step was to secure interviews with those whose lives were touched by John “Spike” Whitworth. Each new interview shed new light on the life of this exceptional young man. John had an impact on the lives of many people even before he enlisted in the Army. All these people had one thing in common and that was that they had never found out what had happened to “Spike”John’s whereabouts were unknown and his ultimate fate remained a mystery.
Eventually we were to discover John’s story. It was a story that cried out to be told and it needed to be told well. John deserved that.It was decided to re-enact the events leading up to John’s disappearances and these very dramatic re-enactments were organized with major participation by Surf Lifesavers – we felt John would have liked that very much particularly due to the fact that the majority of those portraying the events were Coogee Surf Lifesavers. Bundaberg and Hervey Bay Surf Lifesavers also made major contributions. The Fraser Coast Council provided wonderful support and volunteers caught up in the spirit of the story contributed because they all felt they wanted to pay tribute to a young man who was typical of the hundreds of thousands of men who volunteered to defend Australia.
Technical advice was constantly being provided by men qualified to provide such information so that the re-enactments were accurate. Those portraying Z Special unit men were attired after extensive consultation with Z Special unit operatives and by studying the various photos they provided to us.The walk by John’s mother Stella every Sunday was re-enacted accurately by a family member closely related to Stella and John. In fact the coat this lady wore was actually Stella’s coat and she departed from Stella’s actual house In Surry Hills.War is an obscene and grotesque thing. It is no less than hell on earth and we would never glorify war.We are driven by a fascination with the behaviour of those caught up in war and the effect war has on them. War brings out the best and worst in ordinary people.
The most important thing for making this film was to show that for every soldier that is lost there are countless other lives destroyed. Families and loved ones suffer immensely and this suffering can continue into subsequent generations. This is very much the case in the story of John Hayes Whitworth and the effect that war has on ordinary people will soon become obvious to those watching KNOWN UNTO GOD.