Here is an update on the re-dedication of Private George Storey’s final resting place in ButtesNew British Cemetery, Polygon Wood, Belgium from the Department of Defence.
Photo: Mr Warren Snowdon at re-dedication service, 30 September 2008 [Dept. Defence]
Wednesday 1 October 2008
91 YEARS ON: RE-DEDICATION OF PRIVATE STOREY’S HEADSTONE IN BELGIUM
On September 30 1917, 21-year-old Australian soldier Private George Richard Storey fell in the Battle of Polygon Wood, and now his family has been able to pay their respects at his gravesite on the anniversary of his death.
Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, the Hon Warren Snowdon MP, attended the Buttes New British Cemetery, Belgium, where the headstone ‘Known unto God’ was today re-dedicated to Private Storey.
“This has been a long journey for Private Storey’s family, particularly his two nephews who are here today, and I am pleased they now have the opportunity to lay this brave soldier to rest under a named headstone,” Minister Snowdon said.
“The commemoration of our war dead is a significant responsibility that the Government takes very seriously, and moments like this confirm the importance of honouring our fallen soldiers.”
During the intimate ceremony, the celebrant officially dedicated Private Storey’s headstone, and the Australian Army’s Major General Mike O’Brien recited the Ode following a moving rendition of the Last Post. The service complemented the full-military funeral which took place when Private Storey’s remains were re-interred, along with four of his comrades’, last October.
“The ceremony to re-dedicate Private Storey’s headstone was a dignified event which recognised his sacrifice on behalf of the Australian nation,” Minister Snowdon said.
“The memory of this brave young man, and the loss borne by his family, will live on for future generations, and it was my great honour to join his relatives here today.”
Minister Snowdon is in Belgium to attend Private Storey’s re-dedication ceremony, and will also take the opportunity to lay a wreath at Menin Gate during the daily commemorative service.
Photo: David and Geoffrey Storey laying a wreath on their uncle’s grave. [Dept. Defence]
The Department of Defence website hosts an Image Gallery which contains hundreds of ‘download-able’ photos, in ‘hi & lo’ resolution: including re-dedication of Private Storey’s grave; the 2007 archaeological dig at Pheasant Wood, Fromelles; The Minister’s recent visit to Fromelles.
Whilst in France the Minister also met with his French counterpart to discuss the reburial of the fallen soldiers from the Battle of Fromelles. From the Department of Defence:
01 October 2008
The Hon Warren Snowdon MP meets with French counterpart Monsieur Jean- Marie Bockel
On Tuesday 30 September 2008, Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, the Hon Warren Snowdon MP, met with his French counterpart, Secretary of State attached to Minister of Defence and Veterans’ Affairs, Monsieur Jean- Marie Bockel, to discuss the recovery and re-interment of up to 400 Australian and British soldiers at Fromelles, France.
The meeting provided an opportunity for Minister Snowdon to thank the French Government for their crucial support of the limited excavation at the site earlier this year, which determined beyond doubt that the soldiers’ remains had laid in-situ for over 90 years.
It was also a chance for the two Ministers to discuss the joint agreement required between Australia, Britain and France for the exhumation of remains to commence. The three countries are currently negotiating a suitable timeframe and process for the recovery and re-interment of these First World War soldiers at Fromelles.
To view photos of the meeting click here.