Shellharbour poppies land at Gallipoli

2/05/2018
 
Shellharbour City residents Donna Brotherson and Sandra Huer have returned from their life-changing journey to Gallipoli after taking with them six poppies knitted by Mayor Marianne Saliba.
 
The ladies were part of a group of volunteers selected by the NSW Rural Fire Service volunteers to assist the Department of Veterans Affairs with Anzac Day commemoration services in Gallipoli.
 
While not all Shellharbour soldiers who died at Gallipoli have a known grave, Ms Brotherson and Ms Huer were able to locate the headstone of 19 year-old Percy Uden, who was killed in action. They laid a poppy to honour his sacrifice.
 
Ms Brotherson said the names of two other soldiers, Robert Jones and Edward MacFarlane, were on the wall at the front of the memorial at the Lone Pine cemetery.
 
“We suspect the fourth name, Leonard Bandfield, was also on the wall, on a different panel but we ran out of time to locate that one,” Ms Brotherson said.
 
“I was also able to lay one poppy on the main memorial at Anzac Cove after Dawn Service with the wreaths.
 
“I actually brought one back to give back to Council to include in future Anzac Day events. I have photos of the poppies at the Lone Pine Memorial, as well as on Percy’s grave and Anzac Cove.”
 
Ms Botherson and Ms Huer thanked Council for the opportunity to take the poppies to Gallipoli.
 
“It made it more purposeful to be able to search out the grave of a local digger and leave a poppy in his memory,” she said.
 
Ms Brotherson got in touch with Council after seeing a social media post asking people to make red poppies for its Anzac Day display.
 
She asked if she could take a poppy or two with her and said she would go in search of local soldiers’ graves. The ladies ended up taking six poppies knitted by Shellharbour Mayor Marianne Saliba.
 
Cr Saliba was touched and honoured that Ms Brotherson and Ms Huer were able to take some of the poppies she made with them to Gallipoli.
 
“Ms Brotherson’s kind offer to take handmade poppies to Gallipoli in honour of local soldiers who fought and died for our country was just beautiful,” Cr Saliba said.
 
“To know that some of my poppies made it to Gallipoli to honour the local men who sacrificed their lives on our behalf is very special.”
 
Council records show 29 Shellharbour soldiers served at Gallipoli. (A * marks those killed in action. Not all soldiers have a known grave.)
 
For more information visit: http://www.shellharbour.nsw.gov.au/anzaconline/ANZACindex.html
 
Media enquiries: Kelli Wells 0448 361 008
Donna Brotherson: 0421 418 517