Invitation to descendants of World War 1 enlistees to attend
AN event of significant historical interest to the community is set to happen in Foster on Remembrance Day, November 11, an event which has been in the Foster RSL Sub-Branch’s planning pipeline for years and is now finally reaching fruition.
For many years the absence of a Roll of Honour in the district’s war memorial hall in Foster showing the names of all the former Shire of South Gippsland enlistees to the 1914 – 1918 World War has been sadly lacking. This was probably due to the huge amount of research required to compile such an all encompassing list.
But on Remembrance Day 2018 all of these names are to be revealed on a New Roll of Honour.
The Foster RSL Sub-Branch and the Foster Historical Society are hoping descendants of these South Gippslanders will attend the unveiling. Some of the family names are still to be found in living descendants around the district. So if your ancestor from this area was in World War 1, please come to the unveiling which will take place in the Foster War Memorial Arts Centre following the 11am Remembrance Day commemoration ceremony at the cenotaph in Foster. There you will see your ancestor’s name along with the other 540 names of enlistees. All interested members of the community are also invited to attend.
Foster RSL President Bruce Lester is keen for as many descendants as possible to be present for the unveiling, whether they be local residents or from other places. And he hopes the message that the current local custodians of Australia’s war history are dedicated to keeping alive the record and memory of those who fought in the First World War.
Working together over recent years the Foster RSL Sub-Branch and the Foster Historical Society have uncovered the names of 541 volunteer enlistees from this area who stepped forward to represent their country in the First World War. The enlistees came from right across the entire shire between Hedley in the east and Buffalo in the west, including the towns of Fish Creek, Foster, Toora, Port Franklin and Welshpool. They also came from the coastal areas and from the hill districts as well.
Sadly, 73 of these young men were killed in action or died as a result of their battle wounds. Others were left unable to work again due to their injuries. Special named crosses for the 73 who paid the supreme sacrifice will be on display prior to and on Remembrance Day at the cenotaph.
Now, one hundred years after the end of that war, the names of those from across the whole district will be collectively honoured on the new Roll of Honour at the Foster War Memorial Arts Centre. Many of these names are already on honour rolls in various places, but the new Roll of Honour brings them all together in one location.
For some young men living in the early twentieth century, the war represented an adventure, and little did they know, nor could they imagine the horrific experiences they would endure in various theatres of this Great War. Altogether, Australia lost more than 60,000 men serving in places such as German New Guinea, at the Western Front in Belgium, Germany and France; in the Middle East in Egypt and Palestine and at Gallipoli in Turkey.
They fought on land, at sea and in the air. They were on foot, on horseback, on naval ships and in the fledgling aircraft of the Australian Flying Corps. Many were gassed, received horrendous and often fatal shrapnel wounds or died in trenches from unsurvivable diseases. Others lost their lives when their ships were attacked or their aeroplanes were shot down.
They were the unsung heroes whose families would never recover from their loss. They were sons, brothers, husbands, fathers, whose loved ones would mourn them forever.
This year is the centenary of the end of the 1914 – 1918 war, and although 100 years have passed, it is never too late to remember and respect those who fought to save our country, our freedom and our way of life. If you know of someone who is a descendant of a First World War enlistee from the former Shire of South Gippsland, would you please mention to them the Remembrance Day unveiling.
The unveiling is to be performed by World War 11 veteran Bruce Crowl of Foster. Bruce, a signaller in the Royal Australian Navy, was on active duty aboard HMAS Australia when it came under enemy air attack, which culminated in an enemy plane crashing on to the ship in kamikaze style.
Foster RSL would like to thank the FWMAC committee for facilitating the Roll of Honour in the foyer of the hall, where it is in the appropriate location and on view to the public. Special thanks must go to the Foster Historical Society who took on the very large task of researching and compiling names. The Roll of Honour has been funded by the Foster RSL through a grant from Anzac House, with grateful thanks for their support.
Following the unveiling a light lunch will be served at the RSL clubrooms.
Foster RSL Sub-Branch