Saturday, 25 April 2009

Wounded Soldier's Return

The following is an exerpt from the Goondiwindi newspaper. It's an account of my grandfather's return from war (after being injured at Gallipoli) on 15th December 1915. This man was the first in Goondiwindi to enlist & the first wounded to return.
I reproduce it in loving memory of
Private Stanely Graves
1895 - 1974

Goondiwindi last week did honor it's fist wounded soldier, Stanley Graves, son of Mrs. and Mr. J. B. Graves. Not through the fact he was wounded was the welcome bestowed, but owing to the fact that he had returned after doing battle for us - actually fighting for each and every one of the inhabitants of Gooondiwindi.

He fought that we and ours
Might still be free;
Young, ardent, brave, he shared
He went where duty bade him go,
He risked his life against the foe,
Then - crippled in the strife -
Returned from camp and warfare grim,
Where foed had robbed of a limb,
To those who welcomed him

And the form the wecome took showed a real mark of appreciation. The welcome was accorded an unassuming youth; not a braggart; not a person seeking notoriety. He had left Goondiwindi some twelve months agao after having lived a free and unfetted life. It was for the principal of the liberty of the individual against the despotism of the State that he enlisted, and in doing so, he not only responded to the call of the motherland, who called her sons from the uttermost parts of the earth - right from the ragged ends of civilisation - but pleased us, and the extent of our gratification was vented upon his return.

Arriving on Tuesday night, he was met at the station by the Mayor of Goondiwindi (Ald. F. Baker) and many of the leading citizens , and needless to say innumerable friends. Alighting from the train Private Graves was escorted to a motor car placed at his disposal by Mr. Norman Low, where the Mayor formally welcomed him, remarking that he regreetted having to welcome him as a returned wounded soldier, his wounds were only the scars of honour.

On Wednesday, Private Graves was accorded a civic welcome in the Town Hall, where the large room was packed by representative genlemen of the town and district. His worship, the Mayor presided, and several persons spoke to the "health of the guest." The proceedings were most enthusiastic, and were patriotically carried out.

Private Graves in responding made a sensible appeal for the stimulating of recruiting, tracing events to show the necessity for enlistment of every available man.

On the following evening a public welcome was extended the returned wounded soldier, and the seating capacity of the School of Arts was taxed to the utmost. Mr. Fred Gore (Chairman of the Waggamba Shire Council) presided on this occasion, and was supported by several town and country representatives. During the evening, several sons were rendered, being interspersed with dancing.

On Tuesday evening, the 21st, Private Graves was accorded a welcome by the member of the Oddfellows Lodge of which order he is a member. Private Graves will remain in Goondiwindi for some time, and is the wish of all that during his stay he will still further recoup.


Lili Bear said...

Un très bel hommage, Felicity!

Daughter of the Midwest said...

Very moving, thank you. And thank you Private Graves!