Remembrance Day – Gumeracha’s Fallen Heroes

“On the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month
we will remember them”

After more than four years of continuous war, at 11am on 11 November 1918 the guns of the Western Front fell silent. From that moment the “11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month” has attained a special significance, and has became forever associated with the remembrance of those who had died in World War 1 and subsequent wars as well.

Remembrance Day (sometimes also referred to as Poppy Day) is a day that has been observed throughout the Commonwealth (Australia included) since the end of the First World War, to remember the members of the armed forces who have died in the line of duty.

There wouldn’t be any town in Australia that wasn’t affected by the Great War on one way or another. So many young men, more of often than not eagerly signed up to do their duty. And sadly not all came home.

Gumeracha hospital foundation stone was laid on the 25th October 1921

Gumeracha is a tiny town in the Adelaide Hills region of South Australia. A typical country town, with a population of few hundred (back then), and one where everyone knows everyone. And it was a town that saw its share of tragedy and despair with a number of men who went to fight for their country, and never returned.

Throughout Australia, in the cities and the country towns, the brave men and women were honoured on thousands of memorials and honour boards that were created, so as to “never forget those brave souls”.

Gumeracha certainly did just that. They have honour boards for both WW1 and WW2, and even a small one for the Korean War. But their ultimate memorial is the Gumeracha District Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital.

In the “Gumeracha District Soldiers Memorial Hospital Diamond Jubilee 1922-1982” book it quotes the following …

“Following the cessation of fighting in World War I the local community held a public meeting in the Gumeracha Town Hall to discuss the formation of a war memorial to commemorate the men who had given their lives in conflict … The meeting unanimously agreed that a memorial pavillion would be built and a Committee was formed to plan fund raising efforts for the building. Dr Rex Matters was through Gumeracha about this time as he spoke with both Mr W.J. Hannaford and Mr J.H. Hynes concerning the advantages to be gained if a larger hospital was built in Gumeracha. The two gentlemen agreed that this would have far greater benefits for the community than the planned pavillion. The site selected would bring the building into prominence and give the ailing persons recuperating at the hospital one of the most glorious views of the surrounding area. The hospital was to be built on top of the hill overlooking the town. Mr J.B. Randell, a local grazier and orchardist, was approached and asked if he would sell the piece of land on the top of the hill so that a hospital may be built thereon. To this he agreed, and £100 was paid for the site.”

Gumeracha District Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital – 1922

Gumeracha District Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital – 2015

The hospital was officially opened on 22 July 1922, and is still running to this day. When you enter the hospital one of the first things you see is the WWI Honour Roll, and alongside that is one for the fallen heroes from World War II and the Korean War.

Gumeracha WWI Honour Roll

Gumeracha WWI Honour Roll
(click for a larger image)

Our Fallen Heroes – WW1
Lieut. T.M. Pflaum
Corp. W.H. Green
Pte. C.C. Ahrens
Pte. L.G. Bennett
Pte. R. Blain
Pte. J. Bronha
Pte. W. Burton
Pte. T.F. Constable
Pte. W.J. Coombe
Pte. G.M. Crook
Pte. B.C. Crouch
Pte. V.P. Crowhurst
Pte. L.W. Fitzsimons
Pte. T.J. Hicks
Pte. W.J. Hodgson
Pte. E. Jeffery
Pte. M. McGough
Pte. J.A. Menz
Pte. R.R. Palmer
Pte. T.G.W. Palmer
Pte. R.H. Pflaum
Pte. V.L. Robinson
Pte. R. Turner
Pte. W.R. Wood

Gumeracha WWII Honour Roll
(click for a larger image)

Our Fallen Heroes – WW2
Colbey, R.S.

Bleeze, C.C.
Bowen, P.H.
Cook, R.J.
Dempsey, N.L.
Dunn, A.
Gower, J.G.
Hardwicke, F.W.
Hannaford, R.
Kerber, A.C.
Kain, L.
Loechel, A.E.
Mewett, T.M.
Stott, L.G.
Stocker, H.R.
Schlein, D.A.

Air Force
Cornish, H.N.
Hannaford, H.R.
Hanna, C.L.
James, G.S.
Quinn, E.
Rollins, J.R.
Thiele, M.A.

Our Fallen Heroes – Korea
Sq/Ldr McGlinchey, L.T.

So while we take a moment in our busy lives to remember those who served, and the sacrifice they made for us and our country, we also think of those in the small town communities who made sacrifices to be able to honour their friends and family who never returned.

Gumeracha is a community town. The hospital was paid by the generosity of those in the community combined with the extraordinary efforts of the fund raising committee. So the Gum hospital was largely built by those in community, for the community – and stands as an incredible memorial to those who never returned.

“Lest We Forget”


3 Responses to “Remembrance Day – Gumeracha’s Fallen Heroes”

  1. GenieJen says:

    Great post, Alona

  2. Kathleen Wells says:

    Thank you!!

  3. Tim Hanna says:

    Th centenary of the hospital is next year and I have been asked via Bob Brooksby at the RSL to assist with organising:
    a. a replica event of the 1922 opening (including reception for the Governor and guests)
    b. an update of the history book written by John Norsworthy in 1982 which covered the first 60 years.
    Anybody with any photographs or stories can contact me.

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