Big crowd cel­e­brates heroes of Beer­sheba

Campaspe News - - NEWS - By STEPHANIE HOR­TON

AROUND 250 peo­ple con­verged on the Nan­neella War Memo­rial on Oc­to­ber 29.

They were there to cel­e­brate the life of Cap­tain Nor­man Rae, of the Light Horse Bri­gade in the Bat­tle of Beer­sheba.

The bat­tle in the First World War is recog­nised as one of the finest mo­ments in in­ter­na­tional cav­alry his­tory.

The 4th Aus­tralian Light Horse Reg­i­ment played a piv­otal role in that op­er­a­tion and two Nan­neella men, Cap­tain George Rankin and Cap­tain Rae, were lead play­ers with the Light Horse.

In­deed, Cap­tain Rae was awarded the Mil­i­tary Cross for his courage un­der in­tense fire dur­ing the op­er­a­tion.

Both Rankin and Rae were mem­bers of the 17th (Cam­paspe Val­ley) Light Horse troop based in Rochester when war was de­clared and were among the first to en­list in the First Aus­tralian Im­pe­rial Force.

Of the 20 men from Rochester who en­listed at that time not all would join the Light Horse but all played their part in a tu­mul­tuous pe­riod and three failed to re­turn home.

The day and the life of Cap­tain Rae were cel­e­brated with Ma­jor Gen­eral the Honourable Jus­tice Greg Garde at­tend­ing.

Sally Samp­son from the hall com­mit­tee co­or­di­nated the project.

“This is ex­cit­ing and I can feel the emo­tions start­ing to surge as I con­tinue to hear in­spi­ra­tional sto­ries from some of the de­scen­dants,’’ she said.

‘‘Hav­ing them come to Nan­neella is a huge priv­i­lege for us all.’’

Sally’s ex­cite­ment was shared by Rochester RSL pres­i­dent John Glover.

“Not many new memo­ri­als are built these days and the op­por­tu­nity to hon­our those who gave their all a cen­tury ago is very spe­cial,’’ he said.

‘‘This memo­rial is not only about WWI, though; it hon­ours all from the Nan­neella district who have served in ev­ery con­flict.

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