|Four new trees were planted and dedicated and a new plaque unveiled on an existing tree in the World War One section of the Avenue of Honour in Dimboola on Sunday afternoon, acknowledging servicemen who had previously been omitted or incorrectly recorded on the town’s memorial.
A crowd of around 60 people, including descendants of the servicemen being honoured, was present at the ceremony which was held at the Avenue of Honour at the Dimboola Memorial Secondary College.
Local historian and R.S.L. member Charles Rees discovered these errors whilst researching those commemorated on the Dimboola Honour Rolls and took on the challenge to find out their stories and ensure that they take up their rightful place in the local memorials.
The ceremony included brief presentations by John Horan, the vice-president of the Dimboola sub-branch of the R.S.L. and Charles Rees who spoke about the history of Avenue of Honour and gave the background to the need for the ceremony and the biography of Roy Smith on behalf of the members of his family.
A new plaque was unveiled in front of the tree commemorating Alfred Gerhard Kuhne who served with the 57th Australian Infantry Battalion and was killed in action in Belgium and is commemorated at the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Belgium, although the Dimboola memorial lists him as returned. His nephew, Charles Kuhne addressed the gathering with a biography of Alfred.
New trees were planted for four former district servicemen who were either incorrectly noted as returned or were not originally recognised at all.
The intention will be to make the corrections on the granite tablets at the front of the Memorial building when funding becomes available.
The following former servicemen have now taken their place in the Dimboola Avenue of Honour with their own tree.
Walter Alexander Brown served with the 57th Australian Infantry Battalion in France and was killed on the 29th of September 1918 and is buried in the Bellicourt British Cemetery, Bellicourt, Picardie, France. Walter’s nephew, Headly Brown, gave his biography.
John Glatz enlisted under the name of Alexander Glades and went ashore at Gallipoli on the 25th of April with the 10th Australian Infantry Battalion and fell in battle that day. He is commemorated at the Lone Pine Memorial, Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey. Robert Glatz, great nephew of John Glatz, spoke on behalf of his family.
Leslie Parker served with the 12th Australian Field Artillery Brigade and was killed in France and is buried in the Crucifix Corner Cemetery, Picardie, France, and his story was told by Dru Parker who is married to Leslie’s great nephew.
William Roy Smith, who is listed as Roy Smith on the local memorial, served with 44th Australian Infantry Battalion and died of wounds on the 5th of March 1917 and is buried in the Trois Arbres Cemetery, Steenwerck, Nord Pas de Calais, France. Charles Rees spoke on behalf of a number of Smith’s descendants who were present.
Descendants of William Roy Smith planting his tree in the Avenue of Honour are (from left) Margaret Smithyman, Judy Smith, Dot Haby and Catherine Haby.