Mervin Eastgate. Submitted photo
Mervin Eastgate. Submitted photo

Family plans tribute to war dead

A MEMORIAL to 13 servicemen from East Bundaberg who died in World War II sits forlornly in a park off Princess Street, so chipped and neglected many of the names are unreadable.

But the family of one of the names on that memorial is determined to keep the memories alive and pay tribute to the men who gave their lives in war.

Ross Eastgate’s father Harry and four uncles served in uniform in World War II and the former Bundaberg man now plans to hold a service on Anzac Day with as many relatives of the men whose names appear on the monument as can be gathered.

After the war, the then Bundaberg City Council commemorated all the fallen from East Bundaberg by naming streets after them.

Mr Eastgate said his uncle, Mervin, served with the RAAF in North Africa and was shot down and killed in Tunisia, where his grave still lies.

“My Uncle Stan was the baby of the family but he’s 86 now and he would like to attend an Anzac Day ceremony at the memorial,” Mr Eastgate said.

He said a number of other members of the family, including himself and his son, were military service veterans.

“I remember when I was a kid I used to fly the flag there on Anzac Day,” he said.

Mr Eastgate said the family had contacted the RSL, Member for Bundaberg Jack Dempsey and Bundaberg Regional Council and was receiving support for the idea.

Bundaberg RSL Sub-Branch president John Wilson said the Anzac Day calendar was already full with official commemorations.

However, he said there would be no problem with the family and relatives of others whose names appeared on the monument holding a private service at the site on Anzac Day.

Mr Eastgate said yesterday Mr Dempsey had already offered to pay for the restoration of the monument, which had been estimated to cost about $500.

“We will organise the full details later on, but at this stage it looks like the ceremony will be held at 6.30am or 7am,” he said.

“And we would really like to see as many people from the other families there as possible.”



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