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June 22, 2024 3:30 AM

Cemetery Showcase Service

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Rex, Jack and William Wicks are just three of the graves in Merriwa that will be adorned with an Australian National Flag on Anzac Day. While all three have served Australia, only Rex has the General Services Badge on his headstone, which is common amongst servicemen from a variety of organisations.

Residents of Merriwa and Cassilis will have the opportunity to recognise servicemen laid to rest locally this Anzac Day.

Rod Wicks is a member of the Merriwa RSL Sub Branch as well as a director on the board, and he has spent months scouring through records to track down all servicemen in the local graveyards.

“We are putting an Australian National Flag on the grave of each person who is interred at the cemetery who served in the forces,” he said.

“We all remember who we lost and the sacrifices, but we don’t seem to remember those who came home and died from other problems – PTSD etcetera.”

Some of the around 60 plots identified don’t have the returned serviceman headstones, if they were reservists, CMF, Militia or light horseman pre WWI they were not marked with the crest which has added to the challenge of identifying sites.

There are also individuals that have served in Australian armed forces but as they are not Australian citizens they also have been laid to rest without the General Service Badge marking their headstone.

These individuals are just as entitled to recognition for their service to our nation, whether they left Australian shores or not, and regardless of how they passed upon return.

“I hope the community understand that there is more than just us guys who walk up the street and more than the memorial,” he said.

Graves in the Merriwa Cemetery on Flaggs Road and Cassilis Cemetery will be marked with flags in what will hopefully become an annual activity.

At 1700 (5pm) on Anzac Day the local church bells will ring out in Merriwa for the families of those who have been lost to conflicts over the years.

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