”Thanks for your support’,
from Lambis Engelzos AM
Lambis Englezos is presently in Fromelles and following his appointment as a Member of The Order of Australia for ‘Service to the community through research and advocacy roles relating to Australian soldiers of the Great War buried in Fromelles, France’ (click here for details) he has sent the following message to FFFAIF members and his supporters:
“I’d like to acknowledge and thank you for your messages of congratulations and endorsement. Over the years I have needed the encouragement and help. Our work in our common cause of commemoration and remembrance continues.
Any work that I have done, I dedicate to the memory of the veterans that I have met, the “19th of July men”. I consider myself very fortunate to have met these men, the survivors. Men like Charlie Henderson, Tom Brain and the wonderful Bill Boyce. I cherish that memory. In a very real sense, my recent work has been fired and energised by them.
2008 was a remarkable year. Pheasant Wood was confirmed, Jim Bourke and his team continued their work to recover our Vietnam ‘missing’ boys and HMAS Sydney was found. Our commemorative legacy and history is tangible.
As mentioned, I have needed help. My thanks go to Ward Selby, John Fielding and Tim Whitford, fellow amateur historians, a badge we wear with honour. It has been a journey: our process and advocacy continues. I would also like to acknowledge the Australian Army for establishing and maintaining the process that has brought us to the present recovery phase. If for no other reason, we needed to pursue this resolution for the message that it sends to our current serving people - it will be a moving sight when ‘our boys’ are carried by them, to dignified burial.
It was Robin Corfield who saw the need to commemorate the 75th anniversary of a little known battle called “Fromelles”. We met at that service and Robin established the “Friends of the 15th Brigade”, established a calendar of commemorative events, researched and wrote a book called, “Don’t Forget Me Cobber“. Robin planted a flag; I picked it up.
So there is a collective ownership of the site at Pheasant Wood. Each of the soldiers will be given their dignity and, hopefully, their identity. Our boys will be in the care of a village that will honour them – the villagers are respectful of their sacrifice and are their custodians; ‘our boys’ are in good hands.
Once again, thank you for your endorsement and encouragement. Our process continues.
We have almost found Harry [Private Harry Willis] and Jack [Lt. Jack Bowden]
Bye for now,
The Families and Friends of the First AIF thanks the Australian, UK and French governments for affording Australian and British soldiers – presently buried in mass graves at Pheasant Wood – dignified individual reburials in a new CWGC cemetery at Fromelles, and applauds Minister Snowdon and his British counterpart, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence and Minister for Veterans, Kevan Jones MP, for their joint decision to DNA test the remains at exhumation and use every reasonable method to attempt identification of each soldier.