Refurbished mortar back in time for service
THANKS to staff and students from Wollongbar TAFE a longabsent feature of the Maclean War Memorial will be reinstalled this Remembrance Day.
A German trench mortar that had been gifted to Maclean after World War I was removed from its place at the memorial several years ago due to severe deterioration.
But with the centenary of the Armistice fast approaching the mortar was traced from where it had been stored at the Maclean Historical Society, to being sand-blasted at Harwood Marine and finally forgotten in a shipping container at the TAFE campus.
In addition to the assistance provided by Clarence Valley Council, Kevin Hogan MP and the Department of Veterans Affairs, members of the Maclean RSL sub-branch have nothing but praise for the teachers and apprentices in metal fabrication and automotive painting at Wollongbar TAFE who volunteered their time and skills to refurbish the century old weapon.
The mortar was originally captured by the 20th Australian Infantry Battalion at the village of Warfusée-Abancourt on August 8, 1918.
This date is significant because it marked the opening phase of Allied attacks known as the Hundred Days Offensive that ultimately led to the end of World War I.
RSL sub-branch president Steve Walton said that returning the mortar to its original position will serve as a reminder of the sacrifice of Australians during World War I.
From a population of fewer than five million at the time, just over 400,000 men enlisted of whom more than 60,000 were killed and 156,000 wounded, gassed, or taken prisoner.
REPIECING HISTORY: Teachers and apprentices at Wollongbar TAFE repair the World War I German trench mortar.