Where Light Horsemen Lie…
by Honor Auchinleck with Ken Curnow, OAM
If any one asked me if I knew where returned Light Horsemen from the First and Second World Wars are buried, I couldn’t answer, except to say that my grandfather General Sir Harry Chauvel who died on 4th March 1945 was cremated at Springvale Crematorium. Grevillea Plot, Garden 1, Bed A16 and Rose 38 marks the place where his ashes lie. As Melbourne had been his home in retirement and gardening had been one of his passions, it was appropriate, if not entirely understandable. I have often wondered why his ashes were not taken to his childhood home at Tabulam on the banks of the Upper Clarence River in northern New South Wales. Perhaps it was simply because that in 1945 fuel rationing and wartime privations made such a journey difficult and possibly even inappropriate. After all, fuel was needed for other essential services. Or was it that my grandmother did not wish such distance to separate them even in death? After her death in 1979, she followed Sir Harry to Springvale Crematorium. Those who might have been able to answer my queries have long since passed away.
Perhaps for reasons of family privacy the final resting places of some other returned soldiers are known only to a few. I wonder how many personal memorials to these brave men are now all but forgotten? We tend to remember those who were killed in action or died of their injuries or disease and had no homecoming. But we often don’t notice or forget those who have passed on from our midst. For all sorts of reasons, some who returned did not want to be remembered. Sometimes, sadly, their families don’t wish to remember them either. Conflict has its hidden tragedies which ran on into the decades following the Armistice at the end of both world wars. While subsequent generations might carry the legacy of the past, it is also important to remember that those who served gave their tomorrow for our today.
For all these reasons and more, many of us only begin to find where the Light Horsemen lie on overseas battlefields on Gallipoli, Egypt, Palestine and on the Western Front.