Soldier buried in dignity
“May the sun that rises and sets shine on this place where our loved one rests.”
HE HAD lain anonymously in an unmarked grave for 94 years, but now former Lismore resident Jack Parker has finally received an official resting place.
Jack, a lieutenant with the 30th Battalion of the 5th Division, was one of 5533 Australian casualties during the WW I battle of Fromelles, which raged 94 years ago.
His grave, which has the above epitaph inscribed on it, will be unveiled today in Pheasant Wood, near From-elles, France, by Governor-General Quentin Bryce in a new cemetery containing the remains of Australians who were initially classified as missing in action.
A mass grave built by the Germans following the battle was found last year with the help of an Australian school teacher and after DNA analysis Jack Parker’s remains were finally identified.
For his family, whichincludes his 80-year-old niece, Betty Ann Turner, the opening of the cemetery marks the closure of an emotional chapter.
“It’s something very special for us,” the Lismore resident said. “There were nine children in the family, including Jack. My grandmother and grandfather never got over him being missing.
“His war medals were in a cedar case and when we asked ‘what happened toUncle Jack?’ they would just say he was killed in the war.
Betty Ann’s brother, David Parker, and his son Robert represented the family at the Pheasant Wood ceremony.
“It’s been pretty raw for the family,” Betty Ann said.
“There was never any closure. They received his dog tags back from Germany in 1920, but there was on grave.
“Every Anzac Day thefamily would despair. We would always lay a wreath in his colours, purple and gold, but we didn’t know what had happened to him.
Jack’s remains was exhumed last year and the family notified of the DNA match in March this year.