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
‘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.
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!