Leeton Family and Local History Society holds unique cemetery walk

Leeton Shire Council mayor Paul Maytom lays a posy on one of the graves visited. Photo: Christoper Senti

Leeton Shire Council mayor Paul Maytom lays a posy on one of the graves visited. Photo: Christoper Senti

SPOOKY, dark and scary are often words associated with cemeteries, but they are also places of incredible history. 

With this in mind, the Leeton Family and Local History Society recently held a cemetery walk for National Trust Heritage Week. 

Titled “Voices from the Front”, more than 30 people took part in the event, visiting the graves of returned servicemen and women who served in France during World War I. 

“We visited the graves of Lance Corporal C C Tayt, who won the Military Medal in November 1917 for Bravery in the Field,” society secretary Wendy Senti said. 

“Sergeant Bullock, Captain Eckley, Sapper Robertson, Privates Fullgrabe, Manuel, Noad, Sieben, Watters and Dunn and others were also among those visited.”

The group also stopped by the grave of nurses Buxton (Robertson) and Burg (Locock), and Sgt H Mallaby, who was manager of Murrumbidgee Irrigation for a time in the 1940s.

Small biographies of their service abroad and their connections to Leeton were presented for those whose graves we visited.

Family members ,if present, or society members, were invited to place a small posy with a sprig of rosemary in remembrance on their loved ones graves.

Mark Jaegars represented the RSL and placed a poppy on behalf of them.

Snippets from post cards and excerpts of letters from France were read out during the walk.

One such snippet from a school teacher to his pupils read “I have been here a year and seven months, on the long nights I can picture a paddock near the school with many boys racing about”.

Another described the conditions in the field in February, 1917

“It’s the coldest crib in the world. The only time we are warm is in bed, 14 of us cuddled up together in a small bell tent. Everything is frozen, no water for washing it’s all frozen, we fill our water bottles and in a few minutes it is frozen”.

The soldier went on to say ‘”it is six weeks since I had my clothes off, so a change when it comes will be very acceptable”. 

Mayor Paul Maytom was in attendance and thanked the committee for its efforts in recognising the veterans in this way.

Following the event, the committee received several phone calls telling them how much visitors had enjoyed the day learning about the brave men and women who served their country admirably.

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