Bundaberg soldier remembered at war memorial

Sunday, 24 June 2018

The life of Bundaberg’s Private David Gray Findlay – who was killed in action in Belgium during the First World War – has been remembered at a special ceremony at the Australian War Memorial.

Each day the memorial farewells visitors with its Last Post Ceremony where the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour is shared.

Yesterday, family members of Private Findlay attended the service, along with Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt and Minister for Veterans Affairs Darren Chester.

“It was a privilege to meet Private Findlay’s descendants at the service and pay tribute to the sacrifice he made for all Australians,” Mr Pitt said.

“More than 1.5 million Australians have served in defence of our nation, with more than 100,000 paying the ultimate sacrifice.

“Without the sacrifice of every soldier that has served this nation since the First World War through to those deployed overseas now – our lives would be vastly different,” he said.

The Last Post Ceremony to be held tonight will pay tribute to Private Edward George Hazel of Urangan, who was killed during the Korean War.

INFORMATION ON PRIVATE DAVID GRAY FINDLAY:

Private Findlay was born on 23 October 1887 in Yengarie, Queensland to John and Jessie Findlay. He grew up on the family farm at Maroondan and attended Sharon State School and Bullyard State School.

After leaving school, he worked on the family property as a farmer.

He enlisted in Bundaberg on 20 June 1916 and was sent to Brisbane for his initial training and was allotted to the 6th reinforcements to the 47th Battalion.

He embarked on 27 October 1916 aboard the transport ship Marathon, bound for England, arriving in early January 1917, where he was sent to a training battalion to prepare for fighting on the Western Front.

At the beginning of February he was hospitalised for a month with an illness, and in late March he was sent to France and joined the 47th Battalion at the beginning of April. He again reported sick in mid-April and spent the next six days in hospital, missing the battle of Bullecourt.

The 47th Battalion next took part in the battle of Messines where it suffered heavy casualties, one of who was Private Findlay.

The manner of his death was not recorded and although he has reportedly been buried by his comrades, his grave could not be located following the war. A court of inquiry established he had been killed on 7 June 1917. He was 29 years old.

He is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres.

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