MEMBERS of the Royal Tasmanian Regiment stood stoically still yesterday as headstones for nine World War I veterans were unveiled at a Hobart cemetery.
The nine diggers were previously laid to rest in unmarked graves at the site, but now have their service clearly marked for their families and countrymen to remember and honour.
The men were the beneficiaries of a project aimed at identifying and recognising returned soldiers buried without headstones.
Tasmanian Headstone Project chairwoman Andrea Gerrard said yesterday in some cases the men had no family, had become estranged or their relatives could not afford a headstone.
‘‘Others had moved from interstate or were ineligible for a Commonwealth-funded war grave because of the nature of their death years after service,’’ she said.
‘‘Our role is not to judge why he should lie in an unnamed grave, but to make sure he is honoured.’’
Attending the equally solemn and celebratory ceremony yesterday were descendants, acting servicemen and women and local, state and federal politicians.
Among them was Speaker Elise Archer.
‘‘For a number of veterans who died in Tasmania after they returned from the war, their personal or financial circumstances meant that their graves were never marked or that since their interment, the marking of their grave has been lost,’’ Ms Archer said.
‘‘The ceremony was an opportunity to recognise and honour the nine men, all who enlisted some 100 years ago.’’
There are at least 240 other nameless graves of World War I veterans across Tasmania, with headstones costing about $400.
Volunteers continue to work with RSL sub-branches to secure donations for the headstones, after the project’s submission for Centenary of Anzac funding from Canberra was rejected.
There are now 33 similar grave sites at the Southern cemetery, with 15 more to be unveiled next year.
A member of the 12-40th Battalion guards the grave of a World War I veteran.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.