Me­mo­rial for miss­ing Mid­ship­men

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

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.

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