Update from the Presidents Desk – 28th Jan 2018

It seems hard to believe, but another year has gone by in our efforts for the Men of Pozieres. We have now been on this journey for 4 years, and it feels to be never ending.

We leave 2017 with mixed feelings as to what we managed to achieve.

When we first started on this effort,  we thought that it would be easy to sell 7000 bricks at $50 a brick to fund the basic Park.  We had scaled back from original plans and many items had to be put aside – no Interpretative Centre, no Memorial Wall of the names of the Men killed at Pozieres – but at least we would have purchased the land that so many of our Men still lie in, and laid a series of gardens over their resting place.

They would never be disturbed again.

With the attitude of Australians to our Fallen, the fact that there is 1500 RSL Sub Branches Australia wide with over 240,000 Members and over 55,000 Members of our Armed Forces I thought that 7000 bricks could be sold in a year.  I was so wrong.

The Government had declared the period 2015 – 2018 to be the Centenary of the ANZAC years, but this got scrapped in 2016 when it should have been the Centenary of Pozieres. The Government amended it to be the 50th Anniversary of Long Tan, and Pozieres did not rate a mention. In 2018, the Government has returned to the Centenary Years, and commemorated this year will be Villers-Bretonneux.

As Pozieres has never been commemorated in Australia (with one exception) and is not taught in our schools, it is no wonder that 90% of the people we speak to have never heard of it, and this is a disgrace.

Pozieres is the greatest loss of life ever in Battle for Australia. 1 in 8 of every Man that died in WW1 and 1 in 12 of all Men that have died in War for Australia died at Pozieres. 1/3rd of all our Fallen missing in France still lie in the fields of Pozieres.

Again, we spent a lot of time on the road telling Australians about Pozieres and seeking support for what we are doing. We managed to achieve some great moments including the sponsorship of Jet Couriers Australia and Firths the Compensation Lawyers in Sydney.  The Melbourne Storm have continued with their support and consider us to be part of the Storm Family.

But it has not been all good times. Since we started this Project, we have been abused by people who should know better, been the targets of anonymous hate mail, and the last straw for me was the day I was spat on.

For a long period I felt like a failure, I had failed the Men of Pozieres and failed those of you who have supported us. I was ashamed that I could not do more to see that these Men finally got the recognition that both they and their families deserved. For a long time I was depressed and angry.

Thankfully I had great friends who set me straight. It took guys like Tommy Hess, Tony Fryer, the Members of Merrylands RSL and many others to sit me down and remind me to focus of what I had achieved rather than what I had failed to do. They reinforced the fact that I had not failed the Men – these Men had been failed by others that should have been honouring them.

I can only say to Tommy and the others a big thank you for making me wake up to myself.

In addition I have to thank Von for not only putting up with me during the bad times, but encouraging me to go on when I know that at times she would have preferred to happily kill me.

Well – what have we achieved ???

We have paid for all the land so the final resting place of these Men will be protected for all time.

Bernard has provided a drawing of what the Park will look like when it is opened on 23rd July this year (see below). You will see that the Old German Trench 2 (OG2) runs right through the Park, and as this was the site of major fighting it will be prominently featured in he Park planning.

There will be over 40 rose gardens in the Park, and the bricks will finally get the names placed on them so future visitors will be able to find their brick.

There will be benches so people can sit and rest as they visit, and information about our Men awarded the VC at Pozieres, Aboriginal soldiers and Australian Chinese soldiers that fought at Pozieres.

In the future we hope to have an Interpretative Centre to tell the story of the Battle, and the Memorial Wall so that family Members can visit to remember the Men that fought and died there.

Above I said that Pozieres had only been commemorated once in Australia (at a major level). The Government and people of Victoria can hold there heads high.

The only State (that I know of) that commemorated Pozieres in the Centenary (2016) was Victoria.  In addition, RSL Victoria is the only RSL Organisation that fully supported our efforts, and the support from the RSL would have been abysmal if it was not for the number of Victorian Sub Branches that supported us.

AS to my own State (NSW), I can only say that I am ashamed of the response from NSW.  We were supported by the NSW Government, but after that there was no good news.

The Centenary of Pozieres was not commemorated in NSW even though the State lost 1747 Men at Pozieres (685 with graves and 1062 Missing).

Two Presidents of the RSL NSW would not allow NSW Sub Branches to support us, and the latest President would not even pick up the phone to respond to any of the dozen calls I made to the Head Office.

Of the 359 RSL Sub Branches I wrote to in NSW asking for support from Members only as the Sub Branch was not allowed to support us, there was only 20 that had Members that bought bricks. They are the only Sub Branches that deserve to use the phrase “Lest We Forget”.  The rest should amend their motto to “Lest We Forget the Selected Ones”

In total we managed to gain support from 107 of the 1500 RSL Sub Branches Australia wide, with almost 50% of that support coming from Victoria.

Finally, I want to thank all those that have cared about the Men of Pozieres, have worked to help protect the land in which they still rest and have offered their support both in financial and other manners.

We still have bricks to be sold and will continue on our efforts to educate Australians about Pozieres.

I ask all our readers to confirm what I have said and tell your friends about these Men.  They deserve so much more than what Australia has given them to date.

For those Victorians that read this page, the Melbourne Storm have given us the 17th March Game as a fund raising day (shake a tin day) and if you want to catch up with me I will be at the Suzuki Stand out the front of the ground.

For those who are interested, following is a list of who I have approached for help in the last two years and the results – it may give you cause to think (for the actual names – go to the Memorial Park page and look at tabs on the left hand side.

I will keep you updated as I get better drawings and plans for 23rd Jul Ceremony, so please stay with us and pass the word to your friends.

Barry Gracey Chevalier Légion d’honneur

                                         SUPPORT AUSTRALIA WIDE – AS AT 31/12/17

Sponsors Gained

 Suzuki Australia

Melbourne Storm Football Club

Jet Couriers Australia

Firths the Compensation Solicitors


Politicians Federal                         226 Seats                              28

Politicians State                 

South Australia                                68 seats                                  7

Western Australia                            89 Seats                                17

Tasmania                                         40 Seats                                17

Northern Territory                          25 Seats                                  3

New South Wales                          135 Seats                                 8

Queensland                                    87 seats                                16

Victoria                                           28 Seats                               17

Total                                                   572                                  85


South Australian Government on behalf of the Soldiers from South Australia

NSW Government on behalf of the Soldiers from New South Wales


 RSL Sub Branches

South Australia                                137 (includes NT)                 5

Western Australia                            130                                       3

Tasmania                                          54 Sub Branches                 3

Northern Territory                           See South Australia             1

New South Wales                            359 Sub Branches                        20 – See Note 1

Queensland                                     242 Sub Branches              26

Victoria                                            230 Sub Branches              49

Total                                                     1500                            87    Plus 20 NSW

Note 1. RSL NSW Barred Sub Branches from supporting us. This support is from Individuals at 20 Sub Branches

Note 2. I asked all State Executives to send the support request to all Sub Branches. The RSL lists that there are 1500 Sub Branches Australia wide. Level of support therefore is 87 from 1500 which is a support level of 0.58%


VIP’s- Rich-Influential                                90                                2 Responses

2 Responses signed on their behalf by a staff member – saying NO   (They probably didn’t see the request)

Australian Famous Sportsmen/Women            50        Nil

Australian Famous Entertainers                        50           1 (Scotty Cam)

Major Australian Companies                           240           1 (Suzuki Aust)

Companies that contract to Defence               157       Nil

 Suzuki Dealers                                                    90          3

 Licensed Golf Clubs NSW VIC QLD                 201        Nil

Licensed Bowls Clubs NSW VIC QLD               164        Nil

Licensed Sailing Clubs NSW QLD                     60          NIL

Licensed League Clubs NSW QLD                    71          Nil

Licensed RSL Clubs NSW QLD VIC                  101            4          (NSW 1, VIC 1, QLD 2)      

League and Community Clubs                         60          Nil

Military           55,000 approx         Army 84        Navy  30       RAAF 23       Total 137

 CFMEU QLD                                   NO REPLY   On Behalf Miners/builders who served at Pozieres

CFMEU NSW                                   NO REPLY   On Behalf Miners/builders who served at Pozieres

CFMEU VIC                                      NO REPLY   On Behalf Miners/builders who served at Pozieres

Queensland Law Society                NO REPLY   (See Below)

Law Society NSW                           NO REPLY   (32 Members VIC/NSW at Pozieres)

Law Institute of Victoria               NO REPLY   (32 Members VIC/NSW at Pozieres)

Solicitors Firms                               602     (Companies Page)               8 (1 Sponsor)






Lest We Forget?

As all our readers would be aware we set out three years ago to buy the piece of land described by Charles Bean as “the one place on earth most densely sown in Australian sacrifice”. Many of our Fallen Soldiers still lie in those fields in Pozieres France.

The Australian Government had been given the opportunity to buy the land and had declined.

I thought that buying the land and covering it with gardens to protect the Men’s resting place would be an easy matter.

After all, just looking at RSL support, there is 1500 RSL Sub Branches Australia wide with over 240,000 Members.

Protecting the land in which so many of our Men still lie is in accordance with every principle of the RSL.

The task of selling 7000 bricks Australia wide at $50.00 a brick should have been an easy matter, even if we only approached the RSL.

I wrote to the Executive of every State RSL with the following results:

  1. No response from the then National President of the RSL in 18 months
  2. No response from RSL West Australia in 18 months
  3. Fully supported by RSL Victoria
  4. Fully supported by RSL South Australia
  5. Fully supported by RSL Tasmania
  6. RSL NSW (Mr Don Rowe) advised that no Sub Branch in the State was allowed to support us.
  7. The then CEO of RSL Queensland advised us that no Sub Branch was allowed to support us;
    1. Following the departure of the CEO, the State Secretary rang and advised us that the decision had been made by the CEO without consulting the Board. He advised us that the subject had now been discussed and support approved by the Board.

As a consequence of those decisions above, we were only able to get support from 87 RSL Sub Branches in Australia, with the majority of those being from Victoria (49) – an amazing level of support compared to results from the other States.

Today I wish to discuss RSL NSW only as I am a Veteran Ex Serviceman living in that State.

As I said above – RSL NSW under the Presidency of Mr Rowe refused to allow any of the Sub Branches in the State to support us.

I wrote again to the Committee asking for the decision to be reconsidered after Mr Haines replaced Mr Rowe. The Executive again refused to allow any Sub Branch to support us.

Ten days ago, I rang the Head Office of RSL NSW asking to speak to anyone on the Executive Committee. I would even have settled for the janitor. Unfortunately I was advised that no one was available to speak to me, but they would call me back.

As with Mr Rowe and Mr Haines – I am still waiting.

Frustrated by the decision made by the Executive under Mr Rowe, I wrote to 359 Sub Branches in the State advising them that they could not support us as a Sub Branch, but asked them to tell their Members what we were doing and ask them to support us as individuals. Only 19 of the 359 Sub Branches had at least one Member who bought a brick.

I want to thank those 19 Sub Branches who showed that despite the fact that the Executive lost their way the Members of their Sub Branches were still committed to the objectives of the RSL.

During the Battle, NSW had 1747 Men killed of which 1062 were not found or identified after the Battle and still lie in the fields of Pozieres.

To summarise the attitude to this Battle from NSW:

  1. The Battle of Pozieres has not been commemorated by the State in NSW for 101 years
  2. The Centenary in 2016 of this (the greatest loss of life in Battle for Australia) was not commemorated in NSW
  3. The Executive under Mr Rowe refused to allow Sub Branches to support protecting the land
  4. The Executive under Mr Haines refused to allow Sub Branches to support protecting the land
  5. The Executive under Mr Brown either can’t or won’t return a phone call.

The amount of money reported in the papers that has been allegedly used inappropriately within the RSL hierarchy (not the current Board) is the equivalent of 10 or 12 times the value of what we set out to achieve for the Men of Pozieres.

Unfortunately, not one cent was allowed to protect the resting place of some of those 1062 NSW Soldiers still missing in Pozieres.

Overall I believe that massive damage has been done to the reputation of Sub Branches and their Members by previous RSL NSW Executives.

These actions have also shown that at the higher levels, RSL NSW has completely lost its way, and forgotten entirely the ideals, principles and objectives that have been the background of the RSL for the last 100 years.

As a result of the fact that I could not get Sub Branch support, I wrote to 101 Licensed Clubs within NSW. These are all Clubs with RSL or Ex Services in the names, who dim the lights at night and recite the Ode reaffirming their promise to these Men and all others who fell for Australia.

Even though we are registered as a not for profit charity in NSW and Incorporated, only four Clubs stepped up, Dorrigo RSL Memorial Club – Blacktown Workers Group – Smithfield RSL Club and Seven Hills RSL.

I have had a lot of difficulty in coming to terms with how little support there is for these Men. I considered that I had failed.

I have now come to realise that I have not failed – I have worked as hard as possible to achieve our goals.

These Men have been failed by an RSL system that has forgotten what it is all about and its heritage. They have forgotten that Lest We Forget means them all, not just the select few that the Government has selected for Commemoration. When the Government falls down in its duties to our Soldiers, and in this case to the Men of Pozieres, then the RSL should have stepped up to take up the slack and take action on behalf of our Fallen Men. They didn’t.

As I no longer believe that the hierarchy of RSL NSW is representing our Servicemen, Ex Servicemen and the Fallen – I ask that Sub Branches keep up their efforts in the community to re-establish the credibility of what was once a great organisation.

I still have to raise more money to complete the Park for 23rd July 2016.

Recently I was spat on when Members of the public identified me as an Ex Serviceman. This will not happen again.

On November 11, I will be placing my Army Medals up for auction on our Facebook page to raise money for the Memorial Park. If the RSL won’t support the Men then I have to raise the money in other ways.

For those that are interested the Medals comprise the Australian Defence Medal, the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal with two Bars and the Australian Active Service Medal with Bar Namibia.

For those that are not members of our Facebook page the address is


https://www.facebook.com/groups/191880644248073/ (closed group)

If you wish to bid for the Medals, apply to join the closed group and wait till 11th November.


Barry Gracey (Legion of Honor)


Pozières Remembrance Association

0419 656 480



I hope you all enjoy reading this article on our return to Pozieres for 101st Anniversary of the Battle of Pozieres.

This year Barry and I were able to enjoy a holiday for the first time as every other time we were busy organizing Commemoration Ceremonies.

We were able to relax and catch up with many friends. Many who travelled from the UK & Ireland specially to see us that meant so much to us. However I will not bore you with details of our relaxation time.

The only reason we travelled to Pozieres this year was that the Australian War Animals Memorial Organisation (AWAMO) opened the 1st ever Memorial out of Australia on Friday 21st July 2017. We were invited as part of the VIP guests.

Nigel Alsop President of (AWAMO) contacted Barry almost 2 years ago and asked if it would be possible to have a small parcel of land in the Pozieres Memorial Park to put the Memorial to all the animals that served and died during WW1.

It was our pleasure to give (AWAMO) a small plot just behind the Windmill Site. With the help of our friends David and Julie Thomson from Number 56 B & B in Ovillers-la-Boisselle who gave their pressures and valuable time helping Nigel with translation from English to French, obtaining quotes etc for various supplies and also working closely with the Mayor of Pozieres Mr Bernard Delattre OAM. So a very special thank you the David and Julie and Bernard Delattre. Nigel and Barry also worked closely together to make (AWAMO) dream a reality and a good friendship evolved.

There were two special guests that attended the opening 1st being Dr Brendon Nelson AO who is the Director of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and the other was Dr Harry Cooper OAM.  They both gave wonderful speeches.

At the end of the Ceremony Nigel announced that there were 4 special rose bushes and 2 were named after Brendon Nelson’s and Harry Cooper’s dogs the other 2 were named after Bernard Delattre (Mayor of Pozieres) and Barry Gracey (President of the Pozieres Remembrance Assn. Well done.

Barry and I were lucky to speak privately with Brendon Nelson after the Ceremony and asked if he could spare half hour of his time. He said he would be honoured.  So we took him down to see Dominique Zanardi who owns Le Tommy Café in Pozieres.  Brendon said that he and Dr Harry had a coffee there before the Ceremony.

What Brendon did not know was about Dominique’s passion for the Australian’s who fought during the Battle of Pozieres nor the research that Dominique had done on finding all the names of the men who died from the Battle and he also did not know about Dominique’s unique collection of WW1 artefacts and Museum.

He was amassed at Dominique’s collection seeing and holding pieces that the Australian War Memorial does not have. He promised Dominique that on his next visit to France he would take a few hours to return to Pozieres and spend time with Dominique to take in all of his collection.

Dr Brendon Nelson AO Director of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and Dominique Zanardi Director and owner of the Pozieres Museum.

Dr Brendon Nelson AO Director of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and Dominique Zanardi Director and owner of the Pozieres Museum. Taken out the back of Le Tommy Café.

On the 23rd July the 101st Anniversary of the Battle of Pozieres a Ceremony was held at 1st Division Memorial and the first EnglishFrench Mass was held in the Pozieres Church.

After all the (AWAMO) departed and we only had a couple of days left before we departed. The Mayor Mr Bernard Delattre AOM asked Barry if there was a way that he could organise for Dominique Zanardi to be at the Town Hall. Everything was organised and after picking Dominique up he had no idea where we were going till we arrived at the Town Hall.

Bernard showed Dominique a Statue of a Bronze Horse called “The Charge of Bathsheba”. Dominique was saying how beautiful it was etc. The next thing Bernard and Barry presented the Statue to Dominique saying it was a gift from (AWAMO) to be put on display at Le Tommy Café. All I can say is Dominique was overwhelmed.

Dominique looking at the Bronze Horse

Barry, Dominique and Bernard presenting the Bronze Horse he is almost in tears.

Bronze Horse on display at Le Tommy Café

We meet up with Sculpture and Artist Susan Bahary from USA who made the Bronze Horse for (AWAMO) she was so pleased to see us again. Photo Barry, Dominique, Susan and myself at Le Tommy Café before Dominique put “The Charge of Bathsheba” statue on display.

It was time for us to depart but we did one last thing before flying out. Barry and I took some time in Paris to visit Tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte and Légion d’Honneur Museum both truly amazing.

Now we are home and after the jet lag and us both getting that terrible flu that is going around. We are sort of back to work.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and hope that you enjoy the photos.

New Major Sponsor on board

We are proud to announce that today Barry had a meeting with Mr Brett Ralph, Managing Director of Jet Couriers located in Melbourne Australia.

Jet Couriers are also proud sponsors of the Melbourne Aces Baseball Club and the Melbourne Storm.

Mr Brett Ralph presented Barry with an outstanding donation and said that he will continue to support the Pozieres Remembrance Assn. Inc. on a yearly basis.

Unfortunately we don’t have any photo’s as this came as a shock to us all.

On behalf of the Committee and members of the Pozieres Remembrance Assn.  I can tell you Mr Ralph you had Barry and Von in tears today. Thank you so much for your support.

Barry’s April 2017 Trip

Finally I am feeling well enough and rested enough to update our web page on my latest trip.

I set off on the 5th Apr and arrived home on the 27th Apr (22 days) after a marathon trip around the Eastern States where I drove 5165 Kilometres.

During that trip I travelled to three States, visited 3 RSL Sub Branches in NSW, 39 RSL Sub Branches in Victoria, spoke at one Primary School and one Secondary College, marched in three ANZAC Day Parades, presented a bayonet to the Port Adelaide Football Club, spoke on the South Australian RSL Radio Show and visited the Melbourne Storm Football Club.

David Lyas Keith Thomas (CEO Port Adelaide Football Club) & Barry Gracey

The visit to the Storm was the highlight of the trip.

I was proud to be invited by the Storm to toss the coin for the ANZAC Day Match, and privileged to be a guest in the Storm Corporate Box for the Game.

For those people who don’t know it, the Melbourne Storm is the only organisation in Australia who has commemorated the Battle of Pozieres for the last 5 years, with the ANZAC Day Game being played in their memory.

Cameron Smith (Captain of The Melbourne Storm) Barry Gracey Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Captain of NZ Warriors) and the Referee. This was taken just before Barry tossed the coin for the game.

How do I feel after the trip and my efforts in the last two years to fund the Park in France?

Embarrassed and ashamed.

I set out to sell 7000 bricks Australia wide and to bring the story of the Men of Pozieres to the people of Australia for the Centenary.

Just looking at the Ex Service Community which has 1500 RSL Sub Branches in Australia and 250,000 Ex Service Members, along with 55,000 current serving Members, raising the money for the bricks from within the Ex Service Community should have been easy.

I failed.

In two years I have only been able to sell 3200 bricks to date, and can’t seem to get anyone to care.

To the best of my knowledge the only State that commemorated the Battle of Pozieres for the Centenary was Victoria, and in the case of my own State, NSW, not only was the battle not commemorated by the RSL, but the RSL Executive even barred all Sub Branches in the State from supporting us. 

Of the 1500 RSL Sub Branches in Australia, I was only able to get support from 74 Sub Branches, with 14 Sub Branches in NSW having individual Members support us, a total of 88 Sub Branches or 0.7%

If I can’t even get Ex Service Members to commemorate these Men or contribute towards protecting the land in which so many of these still lie, then I have failed in what I set out to do.

Last year I was honoured by the French Government with the award of the Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur (National Order of the Legion of Honour) for my efforts to commemorate the Men who fought at Pozieres and the work I have done for the Village.

As I was only able to get one State to Commemorate the Men, then I am not worthy of wearing the Medal as I failed the Men.

At the ANZAC Day Match I handed my Legion of Honour to the Melbourne Storm Club. They have done so much more to commemorate and honour these Men than I was able to do.

With my failure to get support from the RSL Sub Branches, Ex Service Members or current Serving Members I am also embarrassed to wear my own medals.

If I can’t get the level of support I need by the 23rd July, I will be putting my medals up for sale to the highest bidder on our Facebook page.

At this stage we will still have to sell our house to finish the project. If we had been able to sell the crosses used Pozieres for the Centenary, it would have put us in a position of only needing a second mortgage. Unfortunately, this was not to be.

I won’t give up at this stage though.

I will be going back on the road at the end of May and be away for about another two weeks.

My schedule will be posted on Facebook and this web page, and I would love to be able to catch up with our supporters who have helped us to get to the stage we are at, and who have remembered those Men.

Open Facebook link is https://www.facebook.com/pozieresremembrance/ and should you wish to join our closed Facebook page link is https://www.facebook.com/groups/191880644248073/?ref=bookmarks

Finally I have to apologise to the families of the Men who fought and died at Pozieres.

As a nobody, I wasn’t able to get these Men the recognition they deserved.

I failed these Men – but I will go on trying.

Should you wish to contact me personally my email address is mailto:barryg1954@bigpond.com

Barry Gracey President                                                                                                                                                                        

Pozieres Remembrance Assn. Inc. 1st May 2017                                                                       






We have great news, thanks to the Australian War Animals Memorial (AWAMO) and Nigel Alsop (President).

AWAMO have given us a painting fully framed and painted by Sharen-Lee McLachlan.

Sharen-Lee has done a great deal for the AWAMO having illustrated one of Nigel’s books Smoky the War Dog. She also did a painting of Stan the Ram (8/9 RAR’S Mascot) based at Enoggera Qld that has been valued between $5000 to $10000.

We are proud and honored that (AWAMO) has given us this painting and you could be the proud owner of this painting of the Windmill of Pozieres with Australian Soldiers depicted after the Battle of Pozieres.

Please give some thought about what are you going to get someone for Easter. Consider giving a piece of history by purchasing them a brick in the Memorial Park.

Any one that purchases a brick for $50 or makes a donation will go into a draw to be the proud owner of this fantastic painting.

The draw will be done on 3rd September 2017 the last day of the Battle of Pozieres.

Painting of the Windmill at Pozieres after the Battel

Painting of the Windmill of Pozieres with the artist Sharen-Lee McLachlan

Pozieres Suzuki & Barry Gracey Hits The Road Again

I have finally got home from my latest tour in the Pozieres Suzuki after another 4000 Kms on the road.

I started the journey on Mon 27th Feb, heading off from Coffs Harbour to the Neath Hotel outside Cessnock in NSW.

The hotel is the home for the Miners lamp owned by Harry Littlefair, a miner who went off to war in 1915 and was badly wounded at Pozieres. He was later killed at Lys in 1917 and his body was never found.

Brett and Michelle take down Harry’s lamp and light it each ANZAC Day in memory of all Fallen Soldiers. A great tribute to Harry and his mates.

Tod, Michelle, Brett & Chris at the Neath Hotel

I had the opportunity to present an entrenching tool to the Hotel from the battlefields of Pozieres where Harry fought, and appropriately two Members of the CFMEU Northern Mining & NSW Energy District Branch, Todd Hardy and David Simm presented the shovel and certificate to Brett and Michelle.

Many thanks to the CFMEU Northern Mining & NSW Energy District Branch for their help in saluting the service of a man that would have been one of their Members in his day, but who gave up everything to serve his country.

To see more on Harry go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GgcTx_Ywcy0

I had a quieter day in Sydney on Tuesday, but still had the opportunity to catch up with John O’Brien from the City of Blacktown RSL and Phil from Castle hill RSL. John told me about possible support for us from the City of Blacktown RSL CLUB, and I will let you know more when things are confirmed.

I also had the time to get to the CFMEU NSW and the Law Society of NSW with requests for support (many miners and construction workers signed up for WW1, and the legal profession in NSW and VIC had 31 Members who fought at Pozieres with 16 of the 31 killed, 5 with no known graves)

Off to Merrylands RSL on Wed morning to attend the 50th Anniversary of the White Ensign.  Had great pleasure in catching up with LTCMDR Parton of HMAS Waterhen, I took the opportunity to remind Alan that white uniforms are normally worn by stewards.  I am sure he will get me back.

50th Anniversary of the White Ensign at Merrylands RSL with LTCMDR Alan Parton

After the ceremony I was off to the Granville Historical society to catch up with June Bullivant. They are a group of amazing people and their research into all things Granville is a great public service. June told me about the 10 Soldiers from Granville who fought and died at Pozieres, and I am glad that we are able to do something to honour these Men.

The formalities for the day were not finished, and I was off to Carriageworks to attend a French Embassy affair to celebrate French Culture in Australia. The address was given by the French foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and highlighted the relationship between France and Australia. It was a great night.

Barry with the French foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault

Unfortunately I had to leave Sydney right after the function and drove through the night down to Yenda. Arrived at 0130 hrs, and settled in to doze in the car until daylight arrived

Barry’s bedroom for the night at Yenda NSW

Thursday I was able to sit and talk with the President of Yenda RSL, a traditional Sub Branch with 12 Members. He spoke of the difficulties that smaller Sub Branches have out in the country and I could sympathise with him. Hopefully they will be able to work out a way to keep the Sub Branch alive into the future.

At lunchtime I was on the road to Leeton to meet Mr Peter Mooney from the Leeton RSL Sub Branch. I got to spend some time at the Leeton Soldiers Club, a great Club with good staff.  Hopefully I will be able to get back there in the near future.

Back on the road again, I headed to Euroa to meet Pierre Durand from the Euroa RSL Sub Branch. They are a traditional RSL, but have a great War Memorial.  They are the only town in Australia that produced three Victoria Cross winners, and the town lost 27 Men at Pozieres and another 7 at Mouquet Farm.  This district really gave a lot in WW1.

Finally able to take a break I met up with David Lyas, one of our South Australian Members who was visiting Euroa, and enjoyed a great dinner and some sleep.

Friday I was on the road at 0500 heading for Melbourne. Even though I had limited time I managed to get to the CFMEU Victoria and the Law Society of Victoria with requests for support, as well as catching up with the President of Bentleigh RSL Mr Ian Butcher.

Just after lunch I was back on the road again, this time heading up to Shepparton. Pierre Durand from Euroa had arranged for me to attend a gun show weekend there, and I had the opportunity to speak to people about Pozieres and distribute Handbills.

Pierre relieved me at 1400 and offered to look after out display for the remainder of Saturday and Sunday so I could get back on the road to Sydney.

I arrived in Sydney at 2030 on Saturday night and took a day off resting on Sunday (thanks Jackie for the offer of a bed).

Monday I headed off to the Granville Diggers club, and then left for the Club Palm Beach where I met up with Russell Marsh, the Secretary of the Palm Beach RSL Sub Branch.

Russell Marsh, Secretary of Palm Beach RSL Sub Branch.

I tried to give the club a donation via the poker machines but was up $25 when Russell arrived. Had the opportunity to explain what we were doing and why to Russell, and then enjoyed a great lunch at the Club.

Following lunch I was back on the road again heading home, arriving at 2130 hrs totally exhausted.

I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone I met along the way who helped make the trip as pleasurable as it could be when driving for six days. While these trips are hard on the body, I love being able to meet a great range of people who all have the same basic interest in ensuring that our Soldiers are honoured for the sacrifice they made.

Federal Member’s Awards

Thank you Luke Hartsuyker MP  Barry and I were very humbled to receive this award

This afternoon I had the great pleasure of presenting Barry Gracey and Yvonne Hall with Federal Member’s Awards for their outstanding efforts in ensuring the battle for Pozieres is always remembered. They also tirelessly work to raise funds for the building of a Pozieres memorial park, which will include an honour roll of all Australian soldiers who are known to have died in and around Pozieres, commemorating this terrible loss of life 100 years after the battle.

Barry Gracey, Luke Hartsuyker MP, Yvonne Hall and Tom Stedman  

Our Efforts and Results for 2016

2016, the Centenary of Pozieres, is over, and we made it to 2017.

I want to express my thanks to all those individuals who supported us around Australia, and apologise that I was not successful in getting the word out to all Australians.

In particular, I want to acknowledge the great support we received from Suzuki Australia and the Melbourne Storm, without whom we would not have achieved the results we have to date.

As you would all know, we have worked very hard for the last two years to make more Australians aware of the Battle for Pozieres, to ensure that these Men were finally truly recognised in their Centenary, and to purchase and protect the land in which so many of our Men still lie.

We set out to sell 7000 bricks Australia wide to raise the money to buy the land and fund the gardens, and we thought that this would be easily achieved.

I wrote to:

  1. The 44th Parliament Federal Politicians (226 Seats) of which 28 Members bought a brick
  2. The New 45th Parliament Federal Politicians (43 Seats) – still waiting to hear from anyone (Wrote to all on 7th Nov 2016 – as at 19th Jan no replies)
  3. All State Politicians (572) of which 79 supported us by buying a brick
  4. RSL Sub Branches Australia wide (contacted 1152 with over 250,000 Members) – supported by 86 Sub Branches
  5. VIP’s, Influential (Mr Stokes, Ms Reinhardt, Mr Harvey etc) – 90 written to with no responses
  6. 50 well known entertainers (Keith Urban, Troy Cassar Daley, Russell Crowe etc) – supported by one that bought a brick – Mr Scotty Cam – thanks Scotty
  7. 50 of our Best Known Sportsmen and Women (Australian Cricketers, Rugby League and Union Players) – got no responses – Many thanks to the Melbourne Storm who have saluted the Men of Pozieres on the last five ANZAC Day matches.
  8. 240 Major Australian Businesses (Westpac, BHP, Mining Companies, Holden/Ford, Woolworths etc) – only Suzuki Australia came on board to support us, and none of what we have achieved in the last four years would have been possible without them.

In addition I tried to get the word out of what we were doing to the Members of the Military Australia (55000). I was able to get support from:

  1. Army – 4 Units – 62 Individual Members and 3 Unit Social Clubs
  2. Navy – 1 Base – 2 Ships – 13 individual Members
  3. Air Force – 2 Squadrons – 18 Individual members and 1 Unit Social Club
  4. Total of individual Members 93 Members. With those numbers of people with an intimate relationship with our Military history it should have been so easy to protect this land, the resting place of our Men.

The biggest disappointment for me has been the reaction of the RSL, and I do not mean the Sub Branches but the hierarchy of the RSL. Results of my initial request for support to the Presidents of the National body and the State Branches were:

  1. National President (not the current President) – chose not to action our request for 18 months
  2. Board RSL South Australia and Northern Territory – supported our efforts
  3. Board RSL Victoria – supported our efforts
  4. Board RSL Tasmania – supported our efforts
  5. Board RSL WA – chose not to action our request for 18 months
    a.     I asked all Sub Branches to tell their Members and ask them to support us as Individuals.  I ended up with more support from the Military Brotherhood Motorcycle Club WA (3 Chapters) than  I did from Sub Branches (1)
  6. CEO RSL QLD – advised us immediately that no Sub Branch in the State was allowed to support us.
    a.     When the CEO left twelve months later, the Secretary of the Board contacted us. He advised that the Board was not consulted by the CEO when he made the decision.
    b.      The Board reversed the decision, but the damage had been done.
  7. Old Board NSW – voted to not allow any Sub Branch in the State to support us.
    a.       That Board was the same Board who, according to reports in the newspapers and the ABC contained “the four current and former members of the RSL NSW State Council who received a share of more than $300,000 a year from RSL Lifecare, for at least three years (ABC News updated 5 Oct 16)”
    b.       An update by the ABC on 8 Nov 2016 stated “New documents obtained by the ABC reveal that the amount of consultancy fees paid to the LifeCare directors is far greater than originally thought — totalling more than $2 million since 2007”
    c.       The Sydney Morning Herald reported on the 13 Dec 2016 that “An investigation has revealed the former president of RSL NSW, Don Rowe, withdrew more than $200,000 in cash from a corporate credit card over six years while he was in the role” and “The report reveals Mr Rowe claimed expenses of $475,000 dollars between 2009 and 2014, including $213,000 of cash withdrawals”
    It appears that the Board of the NSW RSL at the time had sufficient assets to spend (whether appropriate or not) $2.5 Million to pay consultancy fees, and could afford expenses for the State President of $475000 in six years but would not allow the Sub Branches to spend $1 to protect the resting place of our Men described by Charles Bean as the one place on earth most densely sown in Australian sacrifice.
    d.      If you total the “consultancy fees” and the Presidents Credit Card the RSL spent enough money on those two factors alone to have built NINE Memorial Parks for Pozieres.
  8. The New Board NSW – was asked to re-examine the previous decision, but again chose to not allow any Sub Branch in the State to support us.
    a. In addition, the Board also advised that we were not allowed to submit an article for Reveille, meaning that the Sub Branches could not be told what was going on.
  9. I listened to the current President Mr Haines speak on November 11 and the importance of remembering our Fallen.
    a.      This is difficult to balance with the fact that while he chose to refuse support to the Men who fought at Pozieres he is the Chairman of the Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway
    b.      In this its Centenary year, Pozieres was again not commemorated by the RSL NSW and was condemned to a “generic” one minute silence on Remembrance Day.
    c.      The President RSL NSW is the Deputy Chair of the Hyde Park Trustees, and again the Memorial chose not to commemorate the Men of Pozieres in this the Centenary year.
    d.     It should be noted that the Battle of Pozieres is the greatest loss of life in Battle for Australia, but even though 1747 Men from New South Wales died in the Battle, and 1065 have no known graves and still lie in the fields of the Village, this is not important enough to be commemorated as an individual event by RSL NSW or the Hyde Park Memorial Trustees.

We did have success though, in that we managed to raise sufficient money from individuals throughout Australia and Overseas to buy the land. No matter what else happens now the resting place of so many of our Men is now protected.

Even though organisations such as the NSW RSL Head Office have made our efforts so difficult, the French Government recognised our work by awarding Yvonne and I the French Legion of Honour, appointing us both as Chevaliers of the Order.

This is the first time in history that the award was made to a couple since Napoleon instituted the award. We are both proud and honoured that the French Government honoured us in this manner.

Two years ago, the Australian Government was given the opportunity to buy this land and protect our Men’s resting Place. They chose not to.

I stood in the fields of Pozieres and promised the Men who still lay there that I would finish the project and get them the recognition they deserved.

We took over the Project and downsized the plans proposed to the Australian Government, but I still failed to raise the necessary money.

I am ashamed of the fact that I was unable to get the story of Pozieres out to all Australians, and will be going back on the road at the end of January to again try to get support throughout Australia.

We will not fail the Men of Pozieres or their descendants.

We will be selling our house on the 23rd Jul 2017 to make up the shortfall if we have not been able to raise it by that date.

We intend to keep the promise we made to the men.

The Park will now be completed for the 23rd Jul 2018, as we have had to push the date back due to lack of support, not from the people of Australia, but from the Government and Organisations that should have been fighting for these Men.

Barry Gracey, President



Hi all, on Monday evening 5th December during the intense storms our house was hit by lightning. All good no damage to the house or us thank God.

All can be fixed but the worst is that we don’t have our NBN internet and in this day and age it goes without saying very difficult to survive. I have a Telstra dongle that I am using but as you all know that runs at a snail’s pace.  So answering emails will take some time.

Telstra inform us that it could be 7 to 10 working days before all is fixed.

Our land line is out as well so over the next couple of weeks it will take a while to answer emails etc. I am so sorry about this may be it was a sign to take some time off.

Thank you all for your support and understanding and hope that this does not cause any one problem.