Memorial for missing Midshipmen
PLANS are underway for the erection of a memorial in Cannonvale to honour five young officers of the Australian Defence Force who lost their lives in a storm off the Whitsunday Coast in 1963.
The project is the brainchild of the Operation Pilgrimage Group – a group of ex-servicemen who have been planning, undertaking and completing projects in the national interest since 1993.
Head of the Operation Pilgrimage Group planning team, Allan Miles, said the five young officers were out training on a whaler or ‘life boat’ from the HMAS Sydney, when they were caught in the storm in October 1963.
“There were eight on board and five of them died – and they were never really recognised,” he said.
Mr Miles and the two local members of the Operation Pilgrimage Group “picked this up” and decided to pursue the erection of a me- morial for the men. Mr Miles said it would consist of a memorial rock and an anchor from the decommissioned HMAS Sydney, as well as an informative plaque.
He said the proposed location was in the parkland opposite the police station in Cannonvale.
Whitsunday Regional Council voted last week to contribute $5000 by way of a community assistance grant to the cause.
Mayor Jennifer Whitney said the Opera- tion Pilgrimage Group had submitted its grant application “out of round”, however due to the nature of the project and the benefits to the broader community it had been assessed as appropriate, with all of the key criteria met.
“The memorial will pay tribute to every service member of the Defence Forces who have paid the price of their service by active training [and] in particular, ‘The Missing Midshipmen of ‘63’,” she said.