RSL gives chance to remember
GYMPIE Region war hero Gilbert Harry, all but forgotten for nearly a century, will be among the first to be remembered forever in the latest addition to Gympie’s Memorial Lane.
The Miva farmer who became one of Australia’s greatest war heroes, World War I lieutenant Gilbert Harry, languished for years in an unmarked Gympie grave, despite being one of the most highly decorated soldiers in our history.
Now, in addition to his grave at Gympie Cemetery being properly marked, Gilbert Harry will be among those remembered in a new series of memorial pavers, being attached to the walls of the Memorial Lane Reef Street entrance.
The new plan is to give all of us the chance to commemorate our relatives or friends who have passed on and who have served in the Australian armed forces.
Gympie RSL sub-branch president Ivan Friske said this week that the plan would be formally launched on Saturday, the evening before Anzac Day, with the lighting of the Memorial Flame at 6pm.
And he said it doesn’t matter where they were born, lived or died or whether they served here or overseas, as long as they served in the Navy, Army or Air Force, whether in time of war or peace.
Names on the columns at the end of Memorial Lane were part of Gympie’s proud memorial tradition, as were the images of real Gympie Region people on the ceramic plaques that line its walls, he said.
Now, up to about 1200 service men and women will be able to be remembered forever, with individually marked pavers.
Mr Friske said the sub-branch would be inviting families who have had members or friends serve in the military to purchase a paver for $50, showing the person’s service badge, service number, name, initials and post nominals, date of birth and date of death.
The memorial will be formally announced on Saturday, at the lighting of the Memorial Flame at 6pm.
“It isn’t necessary for these deceased ex-service persons to have been a member of the RSL or to have served overseas, the fact that they have served is enough.
“It doesn’t matter where these people were born, lived or died.
“The only criteria is that the person must be deceased and must have served in the Navy, Army or Air Force, during wartime or peace.”
In some cases service for allied military forces other than Australia’s might also be sufficient.
“Persons who served in other than Australian Military Forces will be considered on application.” Tradesman Wayne Sellick was finalising preparations this week.