Lest we forget

‘Sacrifice’ is a word that gets a lot of use at this time of year, as we remember all the men and women who have served our nation during war and in peacetime.

For many families across our district this ‘sacrifice’ is not an abstract concept – in fact it hits very close to home.

Like the descendants of Arthur Rupert Rathbone, from the Narromine district. Arthur enlisted not once, but three times to serve his country. Arthur was shot and injured many times but eventually returned home and married his sweetheart, but his brother Harry never returned, killed in action in the 2nd battle of Gaza.

On Anzac Day 2021, Arthur’s descendants marked his grave with a military cross. His mother Keturah’s grave also acts as a memorial to Harry – descendants say she never quite recovered from his death. Read more: https://dugaldsaunders.com.au/lest-we-forget-arthur-and-harry-rathbone/

Then there is the story of the Dowling brothers, Ted and Claude, who were drapers by trade and both fought in Gallipoli and survived. Both men were awarded Military Medals, Ted for his work as a stretcher bearer in Palestine and Claude for his bravery in attending to the wounded under heavy artillery fire at a time when stretcher bearers were unavailable. Sadly, Claude was killed in action in 1917 while Ted returned to Dubbo in June 1919. Read more: https://dugaldsaunders.com.au/anzac-day-2021-edward-and-vivian-dowling/

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These are just some of the stories of incredible sacrifice made by families across our region, and on Remembrance Day I think it’s appropriate to honour their service.

But I also want to pay tribute to all the men and women of the Australian Defence Force still serving today, like the team from Operation COVID-19 Assist which flocked to western NSW in August this year. These men and women put their own health and safety on the line to help administer vaccinations, deliver emergency relief packages and assist police with welfare checks. In doing so they’ve spent months away from home, and exposed themselves to the greatest domestic threat we’ve faced in living memory. It’s not often we get to see firsthand how our servicemen and women risk themselves to protect us and the freedoms we hold so dear.

I want to express my constant admiration for those who served, and those who continue to preserve their memories. We live in the best country in the world, and we have these men and women, and their families, to thank for it.

Lest We Forget.

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