Bendigo Masons Honoured in Field of Remembrance

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Bendigo Freemasons who paid the supreme sacrifice in World War One were among more than 40 people honoured when new crosses added to the city’s Field of Remembrance in November. Fifteen members of Golden and Corinthian No. 7 served in the war, including Lt-Col Robert Henderson and Private Victor Eliason who were both killed in France in 1918.

Golden and Corinthian Worshipful Master WBro. Andre Clayton and Secretary VWBro. Ken Crouch joined community representatives and descendants for the ceremony that brought the total number of crosses in the field to more than 300. Bendigo’s Field of Remembrance is an ongoing Centenary of ANZAC project that encourages today's generations to discover the selfless sacrifice and service of young men and women a century ago, and also for descendants to rediscover stories in their family history. The Field also provides a sanctuary for reflection and remembrance in the centre of Bendigo around ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day.

The bugler for the ceremony was James Earl, the recipient of this year’s Freemasons Foundation Victoria music scholarship, the Dr Robin Gray Memorial Award. James, now a student at Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, has played the Last Post at every Field of Remembrance commemoration since the project commenced in 2015.

Private Victor James Roy Eliason, service No. 913, embarked from Melbourne on October 19, 1914, with the 7th Infantry Battalion per HMAT Hororata A20. Prior to his enlistment on August 18, 1914, 24-year-old Victor was employed as a labourer in the Bendigo suburb of White Hills. Private Eliason served with the Australian Machine Gun Corps and was killed in action in France on 16 May 1918.

Lieutenant Colonel Robert Oswald Henderson, a Bendigo draper and merchant, had been a pre-war militia officer with the 67th Infantry, later the 38th Battalion, and became commanding officer of the 39th Battalion in 1916. He arrived in France on November 1916. Lt-Col Henderson was mentioned in dispatches by General Haigh and also awarded the Distinguished Service Order in January 1918 for conspicuous gallantry. He was killed during operations at Bony-Le Catelet on the Hindeburgh Line on 29 September 1918.

 

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