A very brief note today in lieu of a blog post – I’ve spent all my time and energy emailing so there’s none left for uploading military records.
Dennis’ mates in Tamborine Mountain, led by Geoff Baldwin of Tamborine Mountain Electrical Services, and generously funded by the Bowls Club on Beacon Road, are organising a headstone for Dennis.
They are planning an unveiling at Tamborine Mountain Cemetery, around the 40th anniversary of his death (between 20th and 24th October). They are insistent that this is at no cost to the family. I’m talking to Geoff about the headstone and the wording on it – any suggestions are very welcome.
The trauma of missing people goes beyond just one generation and has consequences that affect the lives of others, many years after the disappearance. Knowing that Dennis is no longer going to lie in an unmarked grave, unknown to his family, his military service unremembered, will bring closure to some of that hurt. Even better, if we can give him what they might call “a good send off.” Do it right.
So, I have spent today contacting every military organisation in the whole wide world to see if they can send somebody out to the service.
I am going to represent the family, his Tamborine Mountain friends will go, I think, but it would feel a bit weird if his military service wasn’t represented. My dream would be to get somebody there from the army to play the last post for him, and do whatever else they do at remembrance services.
I’m the least qualified person in the world to organise a military service of any description, so I really hope they want to help do that too.
So, feeling optimistic today, I emailed all of Dennis’ army units: the Royal Artillery, the Royal Essex Regiment, the Leeds Rifles.
And I also emailed veterans organisations: the Royal British Legion, the Queensland Veterans Association and the Australian Veterans Association.
And for good measure, I thought, well, in for a penny… so I wrote out a card congratulating Prince Harry on the birth of his son, and I wrote him a letter about Dennis too. He is interested in veterans and mental health, so… anyway, I’m back from posting it there now. What’s the worst that could happen? Absolutely nothing.
Fingers crossed, somebody will come back with at least somebody who can attend in uniform and give him a salute or something.
Whilst I was feeling bold, I also emailed Manchester Grammar School’s old boys club with a picture of Dennis in their cricket team. It might be interesting to see if they can identify anybody else in the picture, and there might be an old boy in Queensland who might want to attend.
Cross your fingers!