Re­mark­able one-man of­fen­sive

Yarrawonga Chronicle - - Front Page - BY ROBERT MUIR

D C on the Lake man­agers Craig and Deb O’Cal­laghan have read and ad­mired so much about Craig’s great un­cle, Pri­vate Robert Mac­tier from the first World War.

a statue built in his name in tatura is to be com­mis­sioned by the Rsl in septem­ber this year. Pri­vate Mac­tier was one of 64 aus­tralians to re­ceive the Vic­to­ria Cross, the high­est in­di­vid­ual award for gal­lantry in the face of the en­emy.

Dur­ing the Bat­tle of Mont st Quentin France on septem­ber 1, 1918 Pri­vate Mac­tier was a bat­tal­ion run­ner serv­ing with the 23rd Bat­tal­ion, aus­tralian Im­pe­rial Force.

He was sent for­ward to de­ter­mine the cause of de­lay in the bat­tal­ion mov­ing into its jumping off po­si­tion. the cause was a well placed en­emy ma­chine gun.

On his own ini­tia­tive, Pri­vate Mac­tier jumped out of the trench and charged the gun, killing its crew of six. He then charged two other ma­chine guns, killing more crews and caus­ing at least 40 to sur­ren­der.

aged 28 years, Pri­vate Mac­tier was killed by fire from a fourth ma­chine gun, but not be­fore en­abling the bat­tal­ion to form up on time. He was buried at Clery but in 1924, was rein­terred in France’s Hem Farm Mil­i­tary Ceme­tery near Peronne.

the O’Cal­laghans, and friends elaine and Reg Whe­lan of D C on the lake are amazed at the heroic tac­tics of Pri­vate Mac­tier and his com­mem­o­ra­tions.

“He took on three trenches sin­gle hand­edly and got shot in the last trench,” an emo­tional 92-year-old World War 2 pi­lot Reg said.

“He let aus­tralians and Bri­tish sol­diers get through some time, to moved to their jumping off trench.”

Born in­tatura, Pri­vate Mac­tier has been re­mem­bered in var­i­ous ways, in­clud­ing a stain glass win­dow in st an­drews Church tatura ded­i­cated to the mem­ory of he and his par­ents and there’s the Robert Mac­tier VC Me- mo­rial Gar­den com­monly known as ‘Mac­tier Gar­den’.

the O’Cal­laghans have been man­ag­ing the well ap­pointed ac­com­mo­da­tion park along- side lake Mul­wala for 12 years af­ter be­ing on the farm at sav­er­nake for 12 years. they were in­vited to the big day in septem­ber by the French Gov­ern­ment. tatura shire Coun­cil is to co-or­di­nate the com­mis­sion­ing of the statute.

“We feel priv­i­leged to be in­vited to see our great un­cle’s statute,” Craig, 55, said. “Mum would have seen it as a spe­cial priv­i­lege but un­for­tu­nately she passed away last year.

“It’s par­tic­u­larly pleas­ing to be in­vited by the French Gov­ern­ment.” Deb ex­pressed her ap­pre­ci­a­tion at au­thor­i­ties and or­gan­i­sa­tions for­mally ac­knowl­edg­ing Robert’s self sac­ri­fice in prom­i­nent and ev­er­last­ing ways.

“We think it’s great that our kids and fu­ture gen­er­a­tions will have some­one, who gave so much and paid the ul­ti­mate price, to look up to,” she said.

Craig and Deb O’Callaghan, with Reg and Elaine Whe­lan are de­lighted the name of Pri­vate Robert Mac­tier will live on in so many ways.

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