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Posted by: Charles Apr 25 2018, 09:48 AM
Anzac Day 2018: Remembering Daniel Hodgekiss 100 years after the battle at Villers Bretonneux

ABC Mildura-Swan Hill
By Damien Peck

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An unmarked grave lay in Nichols Point cemetery for 88 years. (Supplied: Lisa Cooper)

For almost a century, an unmarked grave lay unidentified in red Mallee soil and dirt, unrecognised for the gallant acts that saved a Victorian battalion during the infamous Battle of Villers-Bretonneux.

The body of World War I soldier Private Daniel Hodgekiss was laid to rest in 1934, but little was known about his heroic story of defending his battalion in France.

In 2012, 88 years since the burial, that changed when a headstone was placed to mark the life of Private Hodgekiss in the Nichols Point cemetery, a 10-minute drive east of Mildura.

Private Hodgekiss' was just one of thousands of unmarked graves across Australia — but the story of this Indigenous soldier was so unusual that it was included in teachers' kits and is now shared in classrooms across Australia

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The headstone was made in 2012 to mark the life of Private Hodgekiss. (ABC Regional & Local: Damien Peck)

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Photo: The Mildura RSL helped historian Lisa Cooper with information about the unmarked grave to get a headstone placed. (ABC Regional & Local: Damien Peck)

Historian Lisa Cooper came across the story of Private Hodgekiss in about 2009 and with the help of the Mildura RSL, connected the dots to an unmarked grave that lay alone at the cemetery.

"He was essentially anonymous for more than 80 years in death, so it was really sad for any veteran," Ms Cooper said.

"The fact that he had an unmarked grave here and that as a returned veteran who came home severely wounded, I thought he'd be entitled to some sort of plaque on his grave."

After contacting the Office of Australian War Graves in Canberra, Ms Cooper and the Mildura RSL got the long-awaited headstone for Private Hodgekiss.

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Gallery: Private Daniel Hodgekiss archives show that he was enlisted in 1916 for service abroad. (ABC Mildura-Swan Hill)

Silencing the gunner at Villers-Bretonneux

While many facts remain a mystery about his life after he returned from service, Private Hodgekiss' brave act from the Battle of Villers-Bretonneux in World War I is a reminder of his heroism, as noted by official Australian war historian Charles Bean describing an event in France a century ago on 24 April 1918.

In an extract from his twelve-volume series, the Official History of Australia in the War of 1914–1918, Bean wrote:

The most serious resistance came from in front of the right immediately after this trench [the main German trench] was passed.

Here a machine-gun was firing from beside a haystack, while some member of the post threw flares to keep the Victorians illuminated.

A number of men were killed, and that part of the line was forced to ground until a daring soldier, Private Hodgekiss, ran around the stack and killed the gunner.

As part of the 59th Australian Infantry Battalion, Private Hodgekiss single-handedly eliminated the gunner — one of the turning points of World War I.

Upon returning from the war, what is known is that he lived with a severe disability and lived an isolated life until he died of war wounds in 1924.

A month after this heroic act, he was severely wounded, leaving him with what his record states as a work capacity reduced to one third.

"I can't imagine how he would've been when he came home," Ms Cooper said.

"He had a severe disability and obviously whatever he came home with — physical wounds as well as mental wounds, we have to remember — led to an early death for him.

"He's home in 1919 and five years later he's dead — it's hard to imagine what he lived with and how he managed ... so it's really sad to think."

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Photo: More than 3,800 men and women from Mildura have served on the behalf of Australia. (ABC Regional & Local: Damien Peck)

An isolated life makes history hard to research

Private Hodgekiss grew up on an Anglican mission in Port Willunga, South Australia as the eldest of the family with five younger sisters.

By the time the war came around when he enlisted in Mildura, he had only one surviving sister and no parents.

For many soldiers, returning home to Australia meant returning to unequal and uncomfortable lives as they readjusted to society.

"I think we can't escape the fact that Daniel was an Indigenous soldier and we have to remember that at the time he enlisted in February 1916, people with Indigenous heritage were not actually permitted to join the services," Ms Cooper said.

"Obviously people slipped through, so Daniel was one of them and that law didn't change until October 1917.

"The law was changed for people of Indigenous heritage to join the services but the medical officers upon enlistment had to be sure that the applicant had at least one parent of European origin.

"So as much as they were fairly desperate at that stage for fit young meant to fight — 1917 being our bloodiest year of the war as well — they were still not open to people with 'full Indigenous heritage' enlisting."

The Australian War Memorial estimates "about 1,000 Indigenous Australians — out of an estimated population of 93,000 in 1901 — fought in the First World War (though the real number is probably higher)."

"Daniel was quite remarkable in that he enlisted and served before these laws even changed," Ms Cooper said.

"He wasn't the only one, but we can't escape the fact that he did that — he enlisted when he wasn't supposed to and fought in this horrible war only to be wounded and die not long after he came home.

"That's significant … something we should be proud of as well."

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Photo: A commemorative plaque was created in Mildura to honour Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander soldiers who fought in wars. (ABC Regional & Local: Damien Peck)

Lest We Forget

Posted by: Bear Apr 25 2018, 10:01 AM
I am shocked by how many unmarked graves there are, thank God there are those amongst us who go out of their way to make sure that these graves are identified.

Great story Charles, a rep up in thanks.

A Brisbane man is on a mission to identify the unmarked graves of soldiers who fought in the Great War to give their families closure and respect.

Lutwyche Cemetery in Brisbane's north opened in 1878 and is home to numerous unmarked graves of soldiers from World Wars I and II.

"These people need to be recognised as they are our national treasures," he said.

Lest We Forget - the many who seem to have been forgotten are being found and honoured as they all should be, it is a great shame that it has taken so long.

Posted by: scepo Apr 25 2018, 11:08 AM
Comedian Catherine Deveny slammed over Anzac Day tweets

A MELBOURNE comedian and feminist who labelled Anzac Day “bogan Halloween” claims she has received rape threats.

Rohan Smith@ro_smith
April 25, 201810:36am

A MELBOURNE-BASED comedian who tweeted that Anzac Day is “Bogan Halloween” and a celebration of Australia’s “fetishism of war and violence” has been slammed for her comments.

But like most pile-ons on social media, many took things way, way too far.

Catherine Deveny tweeted on Tuesday that “serve” is not the right word for our armed servicemen and women.

“Why do people in the armed forces use the word ‘serve’ to describe their work despite it being no more dangerous or prone to upheaval than many other jobs?” she wrote.

“It’s just a job and work. Throw the term ‘serve’ in the bin. It’s part of the fetishism of war and violence.”

Later, she wrote that it was a “hilarious notion” that our Diggers fought for our right to free speech and that “Australians who have worked in the violence industry have fought wars to suck up to the US and British”.

On Tuesday, a former soldier wrote to Deveny: “Catherine, I served my country, as a soldier, for 26 years. How many did you serve? Zero.”

The comedian responded: “You didn’t serve your country, you chose a job in the violence industry.”

“I abhor Anzac Day and can’t wait til it’s over. I am so delighted to hear the chorus increasing every year saying ‘Anzac Day is bullshit. It’s a Trojan horse for ­racism, sexism, toxic masculinity, violence, homophobia and discrimination’.

“ANZAC Day is f***ing disgusting and should have gone in the bin decades ago. As it gets closer my head feels tighter and tighter and I feel more and more nauseous. I blame the collective cognitive dissonance seeping in.”

She finished with a third tweet late on Tuesday night: “ANZAC Day. It’s Bogan Halloween.”

Deveny, who was sacked as a columnist by Fairfax after tweeting that she “hopes Bindi Irwin gets laid” at the 2010 Logies, has been here before. She is an outspoken critic of Anzac Day and previously wrote that she expects the “yearly hate explosion over my Anzac Day opinions”.

“My views, that Anzac Day does not reflect the inclusiveness of all those affected by war, nor our more sophisticated understanding of the true machinations and motivations behind war are neither rare, radical or new.”

In recent years, she wrote: “Anzac Day. A celebration of a society so f***ed up it saw no other option than to go to war. Kill, rape and invade. Then glorify it.”

The response is almost always the same. Some support her, many are disappointed.

“It must be that time of the year again,” Guy McRedmond wrote on Twitter.

“When you try to convince yourself that you are somehow relevant by tweeting more uneducated rubbish about ANZAC Day and serving members of the ADF.

It’s easy to post crap to get a reaction. Certainly a lot easier than serving one’s country.”

Another wrote that Deveny has “the right to free speech but this is vulgar. Would you say that to the face of an elderly soldier?”

Journalist Tom Steinfort tweeted simply: “Catherine Deveny. Yawn. Don’t give her the attention she craves.”

3AW host Tom Elliot said he was “upset” by Deveny’s comments.

“Bloody hell, she is an absolute nutcase,” he said. “This idea that fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan where you could be killed at any time is riduclous. What on earth would Catherine Deveny, a left-wing, alleged, not very funny comedian know about such a thing?”

The Australian Defence Association told The Australian Deveny was being “deliberately provocative”.

“(She) ignores that serving in our Defence Force means accepting the obligation to ‘work’ in an unlimited liability occupation,” the Association said. “That’s why it’s serving, not just working ... “Moreover, Australia has a Defence Force, not ‘armed forces’.”

But others responded with threats of rape and violence and ruined any chance for sensible debate.

After a series of tweets in the lead up to Anzac Day this year, Deveny wrote that Anzac “trolls” are “ignorant and uneducated and prove my point better than I ever could ... Show Some Respect = Shut The F*** Up Or I’ll Threaten To Rape You”.

She’s not the first Australian with a profile to speak out against Anzac Day. Former SBS presenter Scott McIntyre was sacked in 2015 after referring to Australians marking Anzac Day as “poorly-read, largely white, nationalist drinkers and gamblers”.

The Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull responded on Twitter, saying it is “difficult to think of more offensive or inappropriate comments” and that the “despicable remarks deserve to be condemned”.

That didn’t stop him from posting a bunch more tweets on the subject in 2016.

Yassmin Abdel-Magied sparked a major backlast last year when she tweeted, “Lest We Forget (Manus, Nauru, Syria, Palestine).”

Last week, she doubled down on those comments, saying “you don’t even need to mention the diggers (to get a response). You just need to ask for people to extend their empathy to others”. has reached out to Deveny for comment. | @ro_smith

A progressive, lefty feminist view of ANZAC day.

While I would never condone threats of rape or violence, seriously what on earth does this cretin expect to receive on social media?

No doubt she enjoys every bit of it.

I want to make clear that I in no way wish to detract from the wonderful story that Charles has posted. It just made my blood boil when I saw this article and I wanted to show what a contrast it is to the excellent story of Private Daniel Hodgekiss finally being recognised in a fitting and respectful manner.

Posted by: Bear Apr 25 2018, 07:50 PM
Just another far left troll, they feed off insults, ANZAC day and Australia Day bring out the worse.

There were plenty of disgusting posts on Twitter, degrading comments about ANZACS.

“You didn’t serve your country, you chose a job in the violence industry.”

This comment shows us how mindlees she is...idiot!

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Aftermath ... Sergeant Michael Lyddiard in the Intensive Care Unit at Tarin Kowt in Afghanistan after being blown up by an insurgent bomb. Picture supplied.Source:Supplied

Michael Lyddiard was 12 years into a planned 20-year career with the Australian Army in early November 2007 when his world was shattered by two kilograms of insurgent explosives in Afghanistan.

The former Sergeant and bomb disposal expert with the Townsville based 3rd Combat Engineer Regiment was “quartering” (gently uncovering an improvised explosive device on a grid pattern) in the Chora Valley.

Fortunately only about a third of the six kilogram main charge deflagrated (subsonic explosion), but that was enough to blow off the brave sapper’s lower right arm, remove half of his left hand, take out his right eye and inflict severe lacerations to the rest of his head.

“I remember the incident clearly, but I never understood the extent of my injuries,” the former soldier said.

“I wanted to get back up to help but my mate told me to stay down.”

Fast forward three-years and nothing could have prepared the loyal soldier for the email he received in August 2010 advising that there was “no requirement for Sergeant Lyddiard to be promoted to Warrant Officer”.

That was followed by a medical discharge notice in October 2011 that advised him to identify a new career outside defence.

Not just a job!

Posted by: Alicia Apr 25 2018, 09:34 PM
Catherine Deveny is no sort of comedian, she is, in my opinion, a self indulgent exhibitionist, look at me, am I not clever! Not very clever.

Posted by: charka Apr 26 2018, 06:49 AM
Look what happened to the so called comedian in america with trumps head never worked since now crying about it the same will happen

Posted by: Flin Apr 26 2018, 07:23 AM
I thought a comedian was someone who was funny. She doesn't qualify

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