Great War veterans service recognised
11 Jan 2018 Ovens and Murray Advertiser, Wangaratta VIC (General News) by Jamie Kronborg BEECHWORTHS Burke Museum will benefit from a $5656 Victorian government grant to Indigo Shire Council to commemorate the war service of a prominent Great War veteran. Jaclyn Symes (MLC, Northern Victoria) said the Anzac Centenary Grant program funding for the museum was designed to encourage community recognition of service and sacrifice. It is to be used for an exhibition of the Great War (1914-18) images and diaries of Beechworths William Forrest, a 26-year-old signals specialist and former Victorian railways engineering draftsman who was the son of Finch Street residents Balfour and Jeannie Forrest. He left Melbourne for Egypt towards the end of 1915 and was serving in France a year later. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in August 1917 and promoted to lieutenant within four months. British Expeditionary Force Western Front commander Sir Douglas Haig on November 8, 1918 just three days short of the wars formal end mentioned Lt. Forrest for conspicuous service in a despatch but for action which had taken place three months earlier. After the war Lt. Forrest was employed for a short time in signals development by Londons Metropolitan Railway before he returned to Australia. Ms Symes said the funds for the Burke Museum would be used to create a permanent record of the officers service. Country Victoria has a proud wartime history its important we give our veterans the support and tribute they deserve, she said. This funding will help educate future generations and allow people to better connect with the moments that shaped our history. Our veterans have selflessly protected us, so we have to do everything we can to protect them. Theyve earned it for the rest of their lives. Burke collections manager Linda Peacock said the museum proposed to develop and mount an exhibition of Lt. Forrests poignant and exceptional reflection on the Great War that captured a unique, and at the same time universal, Australian experience of people, places and coming home. The exhibition will coincide with Armistice Day commemorating the service of an individual representative of many of the country conscripts who captured his experience through the lens and in his diaries, she said. The images reflect the experience of World War I, the poignancy but also the beauty of the early 20th century, (and) the encounters of first travel through the keen eye of William Forrest, from enlistment in 1915 to his return in 1919. Ms Peacock said the funds would enable the museum to capture a story and information while it remained in the living memory of Lt. Forrests family and enhance the museums permanent military display. What I find interesting about his images is how they illustrate the travel and times that these young country boys experienced for the first time and how beautifully William documented them, she said. This project is supported by the Victorian Government and the Victorian Veterans Council. Victorian Veterans Minister John Eren said the government had an important role to play in sharing the story of veterans service with the younger generations. This project is a fine example of the impact of this support, he said. Lt. Forrests sister, Eliza Netta Forrest, was a staff nurse in France for two periods during the war. She was awarded the Royal Red Cross 2nd class for her nursing service and invested with the insignia by King George V at Buckingham Palace on June 14, 1919. The state government committed $5 million to the Anzac Centenary, which ends in November this year, and $1 million to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War battle of Long Tan. POIGNANT: A page of beautifully crafted photographs from one of Lt. Forrests Great War period albums. Caption Text: LIVING MEMORY: Beechworth-born Great War veteran William Forrest Licensed by Copyright Agency. You may only copy or communicate this work with a licence.