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Community eager to adopt war graves

The public has answered the call to make sure WWI Diggers in Rochester cemetery are not forgotten on Anzac Day.

ELAINE COONEY April 11, 2014 3:10am

Sapper FW Billett was born in Rochester but migrated to New Zealand where he enlisted. He is buried in the town of his birth. Photo: submitted


The Rochester and district community has taken on board adopting a veteran’s grave for Anzac Day.

Rochester RSL member John Glover said he was amazed and heartened by the expressions of interest he received from the community.

‘‘I knew that this was an appealing concept but I had overlooked the passion with which people regarded the sacrifices made by our early citizens,’’ he said.

‘‘So many people have said to me that, despite the relative youthfulness of those young men, they had contributed so much to our community.

‘‘I suspect that the loss of their lives caused many to evaluate how they might contribute to the community.’’

Mr Glover said the criteria used to determine if an individual was entitled to a war grave included a note that their death must have been determined to have been ‘‘service related’’.

‘‘Many veterans are not in war graves, but the RSL can only work with information given.

‘‘The issue of entitlements continues to be stressful and contentious.’’

He said the Rochester RSL’s focus on Anzac Day was to ensure all war graves were marked and treated with the dignity they deserved.

 

Mr Glover supplied a list of names compiled by the Office of Australian War Graves to help the Rochester and district community to adopt a grave at the dawn service.

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