Families plan to remember war dead
THE plan to hold a private commemoration of Anzac Day at a memorial in East Bundaberg has struck a chord with the Highland family.
Local solicitor Warren Highland said his Uncle Charlie, whose name appears on the memorial, was a prisoner of war on a Japanese ship when it was torpedoed by an American submarine on July 1, 1942.
Charlie Highland was in No. 1 Independent Company, a commando unit raised in World War II.
In 1942, about 250 members of the company set off for Rabaul, where they were captured.
About 150 members of the company were placed on the Japanese ship Montevideo Maru and were on their way to Japan when the ship was sunk.
A handful of Japanese survived the sinking, but about 1000 prisoners of war died.
Mr Highland, a Vietnam veteran, said his father, Jack, served in the RAAF and his Uncle Bob was in the infantry.
He said he had long known about the memorial in a small park in East Bundaberg and had been there several times.
Mr Highland said his Uncle Bob would always make a point of going to the memorial on Anzac Day.
“It didn’t matter where he was, he would pack up and come home without fail to visit the memorial on Anzac Day,” he said.
Mr Highland plans to attend the private commemoration on Anzac Day and expects several other members of his family to be there too.
The planned commemoration is the brainchild of former Bundaberg man Ross Eastgate, one of whose uncles has his name on the memorial.
Coincidentally, Mr Highland and Mr Eastgate attended Bundaberg State High School together.
Mr Eastgate said yesterday he had received calls from the families of several former East Bundaberg residents whose names appeared on the memorial.
Many of them planned to attend the private ceremony, which he said would probably be held about 5.15am on Anzac Day.
Moves are also under way to restore the memorial.