Remembering unnamed fallen soldiers

Evan Donohue, Siranne Hose Gordon, Geoff Traill, Bruce Murray, George Ballas and Graham Christi at the grave site of PTE William Charles Dunk. (Ivan Kemp) 393330_19

Queenscliff Cemetery will host the Victorian Headstone Project to uncover the identity of unmarked military graves.

Queenscliff has more than 30 unmarked graves of military personnel, with the pilot project looking to provide dignity to people at their burial places.

Chaplain Geoff Traill said it was essential to identify the buried servicemen and women and remember their service by marking their graves.

“It’s a community-based project that would engage local people in recognising the service of men and women in the Defence Force who are buried in unmarked craves,” he said.

“A number of them died as a result of war injuries or mental health issues, so they have basically just fallen off the record.

“The most important part is about letting the family know that we’ve found their great, great, great, great grandfather’s grave.”

Mr Traill said he would speak about the headstone project at the Point Lonsdale Primary School Hall on 22 Bowen Road at 11am on March 22, with the public welcome to attend.

“We’ve got a number of people from the Queenscliff Historical Association who are heading up the Committee of the Headstone Project,” he said.

“We’ll be telling some stories of the soldiers, with three stories that we will tell just to illustrate what’s happened and why the pilot is important.”

Mr Traill said that if the pilot is successful in Queenscliff, it will be expanded to Melbourne and regional Victoria to uncover the identity of the state’s unmarked graves.

The Headstone Project looks to establish a “model works program” to support the Office of the Australian War Graves (OAWG) and Victorian RSL – War Graves Working Group.