THE tradition of planting white crosses to remember falln diggers began after World War I and has continued at the Orange Cenotaph in Robertson Park ever since.
Chairman of the Orange Anzac Day Committee, Terry Irwin, said they had planted 246 crosses for local servicemen who died in the wars of South Africa, World Wars I and II, Korea and Vietnam.
“The whole idea of it is to remember people who sacrificed their lives in warfare,” Mr Irwin said.
“They were put in by relatives to see the names of their loved ones on the cross.
“It is only for servicemen killed in action,” he said.
There is also a section for private crossed to be placed in the memorial area and Legacy representatives will also place crosses before Anzac Day on Wednesday.
The official program for Anzac Day begins with the Dawn Service.
People taking part are asked to assemble at the Memorial Hall in Anson Street at 5am, with the Dawn March from 5.15am and the service at the Cenotaph in Robertson Park at 5.30am.
Cars leave Memorial Hall for the pilgrimage to the Cemetery and Lone Pine at 8.45am.
The Commemoration to the Fallen begins at 9am with Holy Trinity Church Holy Communion. Participants will assemble outside St Joseph’s Church at 9.15am and the Anzac Mass begins at 9.30am.
The Anzac Day March starts at 10am. All ex-servicemen and women, community and school groups are asked to assemble at the corner of Summer and Sale streets, under the supervision of Geoff Fox, at 10am.
The march moves off at 10.30am via Byng, Sale and Summer streets to McNamara Street, ending at the Cenotaph in Robertson Park.
The civic commemoration ceremony for Anzac Day at the Cenotaph begins at 11am.
WWI cabelgram saves Private Keid
By Max Blenkin, AAP
THE cablegram of November 1917 was terse but its message was clear. Find Prvate Harry Keid.
“Relatives of Private HC Keid No 1154. First Anzac Headquarters strongly desire his return to Queensland. Five of his brothers been on active service 4 killed.”
This was Australia’s own World War One version of Saving Private Ryan, the movie which told the story of a mission to find a soldier whose three brothers have already been killed in battle.
But the hunt for Private Keid did not involve a foray behind enemy lines.
It did involve the big guns - Australia’s High Commissioner to Britain and former prime minister Andrew Fisher, Commander in Chief of Australian forces General William Birdwood and the Keid family’s federal Labor MP William Finlayson.
Finding Private Keid was not especially difficult.
By that time, December 1917, he was in England in hospital, recuperating from his latest bout of the lung disease pleurisy.
He sailed back to Australia and was discharged in March 1918. At that time the war still had most of a year to run and the odds of an original Anzac making it the full distance must have been slender indeed.
Harry Keid took home his war bride Laura, an English lass he met in hospital. They settled in Queensland to raise a family, producing two sons and three daughters. He died in 1968.
Over all those years he seldom mentioned the war.
Family members knew he had been injured on Gallipoli but he hated Anzac Day.
“He refused to march and would refuse to do anything on that day. He would mope around and be generally grumpy,” his great grand-daughter Tracey O’Hara of Canberra recalled.
It was a chance visit to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra five years ago which sparked Ms O’Hara’s interest in her family history.
Her research revealed the startling and tragic story of the six Keid brothers - her great grandfather Harry, 31 when he enlisted, Bill, 29, Leonard, 28, Ted, 25, Walter, 22, and Guy, 19, - who went off to the First World War.
Two joined on the same day and had consecutive service numbers. Four were original Anzacs who served on Gallipoli. Two died on the same day in the same battle in France.
It’s hard not to believe the Keid family of Graceville, Brisbane, was not swept away by the excitement and patriotism of war, officially declared on August 4, 1914.
Bill enlisted on August 21, followed by Guy on September 2 and Harry and Ted on October 5.
Leonard, then married to Eliza with three children, delayed enlisting to May 5, 1915. He was followed the next day by the sixth and last Keid, Walter.
By this time the news of the Gallipoli landing of April 25 was in every newspaper and the family would have been well aware that Harry, Ted, Guy and Bill were in the thick of it.
What they would not have known was that Harry, a member of the 9th Battalion, had been wounded on that first day and evacuated to England. He returned to Gallipoli on September 19 and remained there until the evacuation.
“Pop landed on Gallipoli on April 25 and was wounded and evacuated the same day,” Ms O’Hara said. “My mother said she remembered he had a hole in his thigh, maybe from where he was hit by shrapnel.”
Worse was to come. Bill, a member of the 2nd Light Horse was mortally wounded on June 23 and buried at sea. There are no details of how he came to be wounded.
However Trooper Keid performed his duties with sufficient merit to be mentioned in despatches. He is commemorated on the Lone Pine Memorial on Gallipoli, one of 960 Australians buried at sea.
With the evacuation from Gallipoli in December, the Anzacs went to France. Quickly dispelled were any illusions that the Western Front would be easier than the heat, dust and stench of Gallipoli.
Australian forces suffered almost 7,000 casualties in their first battle of Pozieres in July and August 1916.
A short distance from Pozieres lies Mouquet Farm, better known to the troops as Mucky Farm, which became the focus of nine separate Anzac attacks between August 8 and September 3, 1916.
Two casualties on that final day were Lieutenant Leonard Keid and Sergeant Walter Keid, both members of the 49th Battalion.
Neither has any known grave and official records convey no indication of the circumstances of their fate.
The family legend is that Leonard was killed on almost his first day in battle and he had only been on duty because his captain was drunk. It’s suggested that one of the boys died when he threw himself on a live bomb to save his comrades.
Attached to the 49th Battalion was the 3rd Field Ambulance and the youngest Keid brother, Guy, 19. He is said to have searched the battlefield in vain for his brothers.
Many World War One service records are brief and cryptic, conveying the details of life and death in a few terse handwritten words. Those of Walter and Leonard fall into this category.
Not so for Guy. He contributed to the Anzac legend by amassing a fearsome record of disciplinary offences.
That included being drunk in the field and “using obscene language within the hearing of French women folk”, resisting arrest, insulting an officer and striking an escort.
He received repeated terms of field punishment.
The misbehaviour continued right up until his unit went into action.
The official record gives no indication as to why he would be returned to Australia soon after the Battle of Mouquet Farm and discharged on March 15, 1917.
That left Harry and Ted, a sergeant in the 9th Battalion.
Both would have been participants in some of the bloodiest and most futile fighting of the war in what is collectively known as the Battle of Passchendaele, launched on July 31, 1917 and called off on November 10 after appalling casualties.
Ted was mortally wounded on November 1 and died the next day. He is buried in the Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery in Belgium.
Harry, who served as an escort to General Birdwood at Anzac headquarters, was plagued by bouts of pleurisy. He was admitted to hospital on November 3, 1917 and evacuated to England, probably without knowing his brother had died.
The death of the fourth Keid brother clearly produced waves back in Australia and there appears to have been intense political pressure for Harry to be brought home.
The authorities were willing to oblige.
It’s hard to imagine they would have happily established such a precedent any earlier in the war.
The Great War tore asunder the once closeknit Keid family. Now Tracey O’Hara is seeking to organise a reunion and would like to hear from other descendants.
She found the research a moving experience.
“I feel sad because I have never known this history and because the children and grand-children haven’t grown together,” she said.
“It astounds me that such a story has not been told before now.”
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