LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: ’You will never be forgotten’
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Remembrance day - 11 November. Lest We Forget.
My name is Stuart Reid, and on this Remembrance Day, I homour the memory of my Uncle William Henry Reid (Will), who was killed on the Western Front near Villers-Bretonneux in the Flanders region of France (thus the Flanders Poppy) on 25 February 1917, at the age of 25 years old.
Will had had his civilian life ahead of him.
He grew in a rural family in northern New South Wales, and he had a property, that had a newly built house, and he was to return from the war, marry his sweetheart, and move in there.
Like so many others, he enlisted for what he considered to be an honour to serve his king and country.
In one of his last letters home, he says in part "Dear Mother....just a few lines to let you know that I am well and hoping that this will find you the same. Well, we are getting some wet weather again... The French say it is colder this winter than it has been for years... I want a spell now. I have not got my leave yet. It was stopped for a week or two, but I think I will get it soon..."
On the morning of March 17, 1917 Will's parents received news of Will's death.
The telegram read: "Officially reported that Number BR46218 2837 Lance Corporal William Henry Reid, 9th Batallion, killed in action 25th February. Please inform Mr J Reid, "Fairfield" Woodenbong and convey deep regrets and sympathy, Majesties, King, Queen, Commonwealth Government in loss that he and army sustained by death of a soldier." (Signed Colonel Luscombe).
According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in Canberra, my uncle has no know grave.
This means that his body was never recovered, but as such, his name is incribed on a plaque at the Viller-Brettoneux Memorial in France.
I had the good fortune of going to that memorial in October 2007, and located his plaque.
It is the most stunning memorial that I have been to, and the residents of Vilers Bretonneux still honour the ANZAC soldiers to this day.
It is quite possible that two fellow soldiers of Will dug a temporary grave, and erected a cross or headstone in a lull of battle. We must then assume as the front went backwards and forwards across the French countryside that the grave was lost. This was a very common occurence. Amelia Hartney of the War Graves Commission advised that although it was not officially allowed, many men removed their identity discs (American: dog tags) before heading into battle.
Will's name is located at panel 57in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial. Will's identity tags were found and returned to his family.
And so, my brave Great Uncle, you may be gone, but your spirit lives on, and you will never be forgotten!
Stuart Reid, Rockhampton
SMS TO THE EDITOR
WE. Well done Hooper you done a Bradbury second place, Doblo third. Williams now all you have to do is make Rocky great again the true toursist center of Qld. Hooper we need the greatest idea anybody could have come up with.
ANON. Complete roofing is still being replaced on many homes at considerable expense to insurance companies following damage from R'ton hail storm on April 19 this year. It's probably a convenient time for astute home owners (to save future expense) to ensure that their dwellings will comply with Queensland's new smoke alarm legislation requiring "interconnected" photoelectric smoke alarms; especially for those homes that do not have "manhole access" to the ceiling space from inside the dwelling. Visit the Qld Fire and Emergency Services' website for more information on the rollout and it's requirements.
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