Thriller – NOT!


Thriller – NOT!

It’s close to midnight
Something evil’s lurkin’ in the dark
Under the moonlight
You see a sight that almost stops your heart
You try to scream
But terror takes the sound before you make it
You start to freeze
As horror looks you right between the eyes
You’re paralysed

‘Cause this is…
when you found out that the Metropolitan Cemeteries Board (MCB)
has removed your grandfather’s headstone without your knowledge.
He fought for you to have a life
Wounded in a war to give you freedom,
and this is how they repay him.
By removing his headstone, grave and plot,
to make way for garden beds and paths….

I’m not too thrilled!

This week I was contacted by the members of Saving Graves – WA with news that distressed me greatly. It turns out that the MCB had smashed and cleared the headstone of my great grand uncle Thomas Brady to make way for new graves, gardens and paths.

I have since contacted members of his direct line and it seems that no one was informed about this in his family. It’s also my understanding that soldiers that were wounded in battle should have been exempt from removal.

Thomas Edward Brady

Tom Brady was brought up in an orphanage, now Swanleigh, in Upper Swan. He started a farm, “Rosedale” at North Baandee, which is north of Kellerberrin. Tom enlisted on April 14th 1916. His brothers Frederick and Harry were also in the First AIF. Tom’s Regimental number was 5810. Tom was a small man he only weighed 52 kilograms and was 168cm tall. He was 28 on embarkation from Fremantle, Western Australia, on board HMAT A23 Suffolk on 13th October 1916. His rank was Private and his unit name was the 28th Battalion, 16th Reinforcements.
On May 3rd 1917 Tom was wounded in action. He was shot in the arm during the Battle of Bullecourt. Although the locality was of little or no strategic importance, the actions were nevertheless extremely costly: AIF casualties totalled 7,482 from three Australian Divisions. The battle left a very sour taste in the mouths of all levels of Australian forces. They now believed they not only had to overcome very resilient German forces but also the short comings of the British High Command. Tom Spent 30 days in Ontario Military Hospital, Orpington, Kent, before transferring to Dartford Hospital for another four days.
Tom was patched up and on July 31st 1917 he re-joined his unit in France
On September 20th 1917 Tom was wounded in action in the battle of Polygon Wood, Belgium He received a gunshot wound to his right leg. On September 22nd 1917 he was transported to England. Tom was patched up and on July 17th 1918 he returned to his battalion.

For more information on Tom Brady

Now I’m not sure if the MCB did look into the background of Tom Brady or even if his wounding would have made him exempt from removal but I was very distressed to see that graveside smashing was the way the MCB dealt with the removal.

One of the members of the group Saving Graves – WA, Mr Bill Day was onsite with his camera to see the aftermath of the destruction and he was able to re-assemble the pieces of the smashed headstone on Tom’s grave plot and get a picture before it was all carted away to become land fill.
After posting the pictures to my site, I was flooded with emails and comments from people that felt that the destruction of graves in a cemetery was the lowest of acts. With great anger they explained what they would do to the mongrels if they were caught… Most didn’t know that this was the practice of the MCB contractors, and not a random vandal attack.


Surely this is not the best way to honour our dead!


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20 thoughts on “Thriller – NOT!”

  1. I currently have a submission to OAWG for a replacement headstone for Mr Brady’s grave.
    Fingers crossed it is approved.

    Bright Blessings

  2. What goes through the contractors minds when they see the Rising Sun Emblem and know this is the headstone of a man who was prepared to lay down his life so they could live in a free country.

    • I’m sure that the guys paid to do this have feelings and would feel that it’s wrong but they are employed to do as they are told. Get the decision makers to swing the hammer and maybe they would also have the feelings…

  3. It is a travesty what the. MCB have done in the past and are doing still in one way or another. The MCB and their legal team have advised me to inform all supporters of our campaign that they no longer destroy the headstones however, there is no quantitative or qualitative formation available other than their instructions that this is not the case. The boards Departments representative also informed me that headstones are relocated to another grave or area for viewing. I think we understand what my views on this are and I empathizes it’s you and your family on the disgrace that has occurred.

    • Thanks Craig, I’m sure that technology could help them a lot better than it is currently. With the right process and site, a database and the team effort of a number of genealogy clubs, groups and individuals a lot of the work would be done for them.

  4. This also happened to my great uncle who also fought in WW1. He is buried at Karrakatta Cemetery in W.A. How come W.A is one of the few states who are doing this to graves?????? I know here in vic they only remove the ashes of the desceased after a certain amount of years and try to inform next of kin AND advertise on their websites for family members to contact the Cemetery before removal of ASHES

    • Sorry to hear you are also a victim of this horrid crime Martina. I think a lot of questions are being asked by different groups, so maybe we can change the direction of future decisions.

  5. APALLING ACTIONS. I am totally disgusted in the MCB. Obviously no research is carried out and why demolish the headstone in such a violent way.
    Has there been any action or some form of communications from the MCB about this absurd practice.

    • Yes Kaz, Sandra Playle thru Saving Graves – WA on Facebook on Facebook has a submission prepared for a replacement headstone. Fingers crossed it is approved.

  6. Hi Darryl (Tan’s BF here) I went to Karrakatta Cemetry on Anzac day to find my Great-Grandparents (found them) and my Great-Great Grandfather. Where he was listed at being buried, there was nothing there. So I contacted MCB and they advised there was no headstone, but his remains are still in the same spot, and now waiting for someone else to be buried there. Was an uneasy feeling when I found out!

    • Hi Dani

      Yes William Johnstone Dunne is listed on the MCB site as:

      Grant Status: EXPIRED
      Expiry: 12/02/1978
      Renewal Status: RENEWAL COMPLETE

      So this area has been cleared to make way for other burials and future planning of the cemetery.
      I know how it makes you feel, something about a person’s burial place is very sacred in our hearts and minds and thinking of it being removed or replaced is not a good feeling.

  7. Was the headstone ever replaced and is this blog still current

  8. Darryl, as you know, the application I made in 2013 was refused.

    A plaque in the Garden of Remembrance is no justification for the lack of respect shown to Mr Brady, it is a backhanded apology and an insult in my opinion.

    Australia and Australians have a lot to be thankful for and this continual desire to remove and destroy headstones just because they are an inconvenience and in the way of money making ideals defies all that we stand for.

    Whilst there are conflicting opinions, I personally believe we went into Gallipoli as a colony and came out as a nation and proved that we were worthy of being recognised as a nation on the battlefields of France and Belgium. Mr Brady was part of creating that nation!

    A headstone is a tangible link to a deceased family member, friend or a person held in high regard. No government, government official or their representatives have the right to interfere with the grieving process. They have no legal rights to say where they should grieve, how they should grieve, when they should grieve, for how long they should or enforce laws that impede the grieving process.

    The cut off date for official WW1 war dead recognition is 31st August 1921 and for WW2 it is 31st December 1947.
    Any death after those dates may be a post war commemoration and subject to a specific criteria and is not necessarily protected.

    “If ye break the faith with us who die, we shall not sleep”.

    • Sandra Playle, First up thanks for all you do to protect and fight for every grave.
      I also agree that the plaque is in no way the apology his family should have received.
      Keep up the fight and I’m sure that the use of his smashed headstone picture and the impact it has on the viewer is something that will haunt the MCB for many years to come.

    • I am appalled to learn this desecration of our war dead, and probably many others, has been happening for many years now, and seemingly quite notably in WA. So many ANZACS set sail from WA shores in WW1, and again the convoys of WW2, and so many Diggers are buried in WA. How can this be happening ? It is incomprehensible when one considers the efforts being made in Europe to find our war dead, and even those who went missing in the SWPA and Vietnam. We rejoice when such men are found and identified, and then laid to rest with full military honours; but we abuse our beloved Diggers here in Australia. As was said, “If ye break the faith with us who die, we shall not sleep”, and, may I add, “shame upon those who break the faith, and haunted forever ye shall be”.

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