Tenterfield RSL Sub-branch member Ray Holmes has been treading the pathways of the Tenterfield cemetery of late as part of the process of updating digital and printed records on servicemen and servicewomen with a Tenterfield connection, contributing to the new book on this subject.
“Ray has walked the entire Tenterfield cemetery,” Sub-branch president David Stewart said.
Mr Holmes checked every headstone for markers or wording to indicate if the interred had served in the military, and if so checking to see if they were already on the database.
He also checked records to identify those lying in unmarked graves or with plain headstones.
One find was the grave of Frank Hill who served in the Royal Navy in WWI and in the Australian Army in WWII and was present at the Nuremberg Trials, but was a part of Tenterfield and is buried in its cemetery. It also turned out he was the Regimental Sergeant Major at the London Bridge Army Camp in the early 1940’s.
Mr Holmes’ efforts will contribute towards an updated and accurate record of Tenterfield’s part in world conflicts as WWI centenary commemorations continue to roll out.
Those involved in WWI have been fairly thoroughly investigated through council’s ANZAC Centenary Committee, and tracing Vietnam vets has been relatively straightforward as it is Mr Holmes’ era and he was familiar with many of them. The final resting places of many who served in WWII or Korean conflicts, however, tend to have been overlooked and they are a focus of Mr Holmes.
The project to record military-related graves has now gone online, thanks to the efforts of Anne Lane who is overseeing the military gravesite database on behalf of the RSL’s New England District Council. It can be accessed at www.rslnedistrictcouncil.com.au/Sub-Branches/tenterfield.html or via the council website under ‘Tenterfield RSL Cemetery Project’.
“This project is nowhere complete as I now need input from the public to add to the list and also to provide additional information or corrections where applicable,” Mr Holmes said.
Updates to the committee’s Sometime We’ll Understand have now closed as the book is prepared for its November launch, but additional information will be added to future editions.
Meanwhile Mr Holmes is setting out to give all cemeteries throughout the district a similar treatment, and would also like to include military personnel buried on private properties if that information can be supplied.
He encouraged anyone with family ties to the district to check the database and email him with any corrections and additions. A link to his email address is included.
“Get on and have a look,” he said.
“We only have to get it right once, and then it will be there forever.”