Peace at last for Strathfield's war heroes

After a decade with no home, 350 plaques bearing the names of Strathfield’s war heroes have a new home. Strathfield Council will unveil a new memorial wall at Davey Square with a rededication ceremony of plaques that were once housed at the Homebush Strathfield RSL Sub Branch.  

The council launched a search for surviving relatives and at least one family member is flying in from South Australia for the rededication ceremony.

When the RSL was closed, local historian Marlene Doran became the caretaker of the memorial plaques, storing them at her home.

Now, thanks to funding from the federal government, there is once again a place for family members to pay their respects. 

Heather Mead, her brother David Bonhote-Mead and their cousin, Henry Brown from South Australia, will be attending the ceremony to remember their uncle, Max Brown, who served during World War II.

Mr Brown, who once lived on Loftus Crescent, was 19 when he joined the army. He lied about his age so he could enlist.

He was taken as a prisoner of war by the Japanese and was transferred to the Japanese ship Montevideo Maru. He died when the ship was sunk by the American submarine Sturgeon in July, 1942.

“Our uncle, Max Brown, originally had a plaque at the Homebush RSL premises.
We’re looking forward to being there to remember our uncle who we never met, but heard so much about from our mother,” said Mr Bonhote-Mead. 

Mrs Doran has been working on the project for more than a year with the help of Reid MP Craig Laundy.

“Graham, my late husband, and I catalogued the names of all the soldiers when they were still in the memorial garden,” said Mrs Doran.

“Since they closed the branch and then the site was sold a few years ago, we’ve had to remove the plaques to keep them safe and intact.”

Mrs Doran said she had received many calls over the years from relatives asking where they could see the plaques. She has had to turn them away, until now.

How you can remember

• 10:30am November 8. Memorial unveiled,
Davey Square.

• 2:30pm November 10. Coo-ee Memorial Service, Strathfield War Memorial.

 

“This is such an important part of Homebush’s history and we need to do as much as we can to preserve it from being forgotten,” said Mrs Doran.

She and other members of the community have been knitting poppies over the past year to place on the new memorial.


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