Ceremony for 10 fallen soldiers held at Bunbury Cemetery

A touching tribute was held for 10 previously unidentified World War I servicemen from Bunbury on Saturday, December 8.  

Political figures and community representatives paid their respects during the special service at the Bunbury Cemetery. 

Led by the Bunbury Returned and Services League, the ceremony saw the 10 soldiers – Edward Patrick Delaney, Phillip Hay, William Henry Jones, James Patrick McNamara, William Morgan, John Haigh Moughtin, Bertie Davey Old, Geodfrid Paulson, Edward Robinson, and Felix Leonard Simons – being formally laid to rest. 

Robinson’s great niece, Carol Lee, laid a wreath on her ancestor's grave. 

RSL representatives, Father Kuzie Tuhura, the 11/28 RWAR – Royal Western Australia Regiment, and the Bunbury 10th Light Horse Division lent their services to the ceremony.

Murray-Wellington MLA Robyn Clarke and Bunbury councillors Brendan Kelly and Betty McCleary were also in attendance. 

Bunbury RSL president John Gelmi thanked the groups involved and the attendees for their support. 

“It’s great that people have shown their respect for the fallen diggers, it was a good crowd,” he said.

“Getting Carol Lee down from Perth to lay a wreath on her great uncle’s grave was also good.

“The 11/28 representatives did a wonderful job. They made the re-dedication that much more important, in a military context.”

Three of the servicemen received official Australian War Graves, while the other seven were given headstones reminiscent of those standing in France and Belgium. 

The headstones all feature bronze war service plaques with the rising sun emblem, donated by Bunbury Cemetery board manager Pieter DenBoer.

All 10 servicemen had died after returning home from The Great War.

While putting together the Bunbury War Heroes website, local military historian Jeff Peirce was compelled to locate the servicemen’s grave sites. 

He and the Bunbury Cemetery board then pooled their resources to find each soldier’s final resting place. 

Mr Peirce was overjoyed to see people honouring the fallen soldiers. 

“The first world war was very expensive for the nation and hugely impactful for every society,” he said. 

“Prior to the ceremony, these 10 men had never been referenced as war service people.

“The event was justification for the hard work that everyone has put in.

“The old saying is ‘We will remember them, Lest we forget’, and I think we delivered on that in spades with the service. 

“It’s clear that 100 years has not changed the way in which we revere these men.”

Those looking for more information on Bunbury’s servicemen and women can contact Mr Peirce on 0407 440 497.

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