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                                                                       

 

 

 

 

EASTER IS ONLY TWO WEEKS AWAY WHY NOT GIVE A PIECE OF HISTORY

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”
    c.      
    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

 

URGENT UPDATE.

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.

 

Memorial Service for Foundation Member of the Assn. Mr Robert Finch

Yesterday our Patron Hon Luke Hartsuyker MP held a Memorial Service on the 2nd Anniversary the passing for our good friend Robert (Rob) Finch.

It was on the 13th October 2010 that Rob, Barry and I started the Pozieres Remembrance Assn.  Barry and I wore our Legion of Honour award as without Rob we certainly would not have come as far as we have. May be if Rob was still with us he too would be wearing the Legion of Honour award.

It was only a small gathering of the neighbours that became friends with Rob while living here in Coffs Harbour.

Luke and Rob became very good friends and had one thing in common they loved to ride motor bikes. They did this often just riding off to some place and enjoying each other’s company.

I would personally like to thank Luke and his wife Irene for doing this Memorial Service in their own home. After the Service Luke planted a tree to remember our beloved Rob this was followed by a morning tea and we all talked about our own funny experiences that we had with Rob.

Luke and Irene Barry and I would like to personally thank you for what you did for Rob and also on behalf of the members of the Pozieres Remembrance Assn we all thank you. I feel that I was able to truly say my good buys to Rob he will always be in my heart he was a wonderful friend to me more like a big brother and I miss him so much.

So photo’s of the day.

Hon Luke Hartsuyker MP Planting a tree in Rob’s Memory

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Hon Luke Hartsuyker MP with Barry Gracey & Yvonne Gracey-Hall

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Irene & Hon Luke Hartsuyker MP with Barry & I

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Irene & Hon Luke Hartsuyker MP with the small group who attended the Memorial Service.

Commemorate the ANZAC Centenary and Australia’s experience in World War 1

The Pozieres Remembrance Assn is proud to announce a partnership with History.com to raise funds for our Memorial Gardens project at Pozieres.

This amazing photo taken on hallowed ground near the Old Windmill Site at Pozieres shows the crosses that commemorated the Battle100 years ago that were installed for the inauguration of the Park Project earlier this year.

You can have a photo of a relative overlaid (like the example on this page) on to the image and printed on the finest of photographic paper for display at your home or workplace. As seen here it comes available in a number of backgrounds.

At the moment two sizes we offer A3 (16.5 inches x 11.7 inches) $140 and A2 (23.4 inches x 16.5 inches) $170 cost includes print, postage and GST

Please support us raise much needed funds for the Memorial Park.

Please contact David Bailey at davidbailey9@me.com

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Pozieres Suzuki Hits The Road Again

Pozieres Suzuki Australia is hitting the road again. They are heading to St Johns church Spring Fete on the 15 Oct 2016 in Gordon NSW, 9am til 2pm where Barry and the Pozieres Suzuki will have a display all set up.

While you are there a must see in the church is the original 18th Battalion cross from Pozieres and the kneelers with all the battles of the battalion are similar to the ones made by the ladies from the church that Father Keith Dalby took to Pozieres and presented them to the Church and the people of the Village of Pozieres at a special service on Sunday 24th July this year.
We have had fantastic support from Pat (one of the organisers) has asked that Barry be security guard again so will be sleeping on his stretcher with all the comforts of home that he now has for when he and the Pozieres Suzuki hit the road. Click on the links for all info http://stjohnsgordon.org.au/event-items/st-johns-annual-fete/ and http://www.kmc.nsw.gov.au/Current_projects_priorities/Initiatives_and_campaigns/Centenary_of_Anzac_in_Ku-ring-gai/Pozieres_-_our_Sister_City#.V8_auW7Grd4.email 14333038_1174023776003858_1582604959210177767_n 14344320_1182192161853686_1765122152380161178_n