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Memorial plaques unveiled for forgotten soldiers

Division 4 Councillor Russell Milligan, RSL Ipswich Sub Branch secretary Debbie Wadwell, Ipswich Veteran Matthew Rennie OAM, Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding

After a year of fundraising the new memorial walls have been unveiled at a moving ceremony at the Ipswich General Cemetery on Saturday, 30 October.

There are now 165 shiny plaques on the memorial wall and while they won’t be shiny for long, they will remain on the wall for centuries to come as an enduring reminder to the generations after them, of their sacrifice.

The Adopt a Soldier campaign began to cover the cost of the plaques after local veteran Matt Rennie OAM noticed there were many soldiers buried in the cemetery that either did not have a headstone or were not recorded in official records in the first place.

The community was invited to adopt a soldier by paying for their plaque to go on the memorial walls.

Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding said after more than a century, these soldiers have now been recognised appropriately with a plaque on the newly extended memorial wall.

“The Ipswich community has really got behind the Ipswich RSL Sub Branch and this memorial extension with donations both of cash and in-kind donations of building materials and labour,” Mayor Harding said.

“These plaques provide an opportunity to remember those who served the nation, including those who came home carrying the physical and psychological scars of conflict.

“Mr Rennie said he has spent almost 20 years piecing together the mystery of who these men were and how these most iconic war veterans were forgotten, and now we know who they are and that they lay to rest here, their stories can finally be heard.

“It was an incredibly emotional dedication service and an honour to acknowledge their sacrifice, on behalf of the city.”

The Ipswich RSL Sub Branch identified soldiers who were not recorded as well other veterans throughout the cemetery, through detailed research and cross checking of cemetery and military records with their search continuing.

Council lodged the development and building applications on behalf of the Ipswich RSL Sub Branch and have provided ongoing support with project planning and maintenance.

Many local businesses also came on board donating materials and labour.

Read more:

>>> New Civic and Ceremonial Events Policy to celebrate our city


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