Descendants of nearly all of Tasmania’s 15 Victoria Cross (VC) recipients will meet for the first time over lunch, just after ANZAC Day this year.
Originally scheduled to be held last August, the gathering had to be postponed due to COVID-19 public health restrictions.
Since then, the guest list has had to be expanded to include descendants of Teddy Sheean, after he was posthumously awarded the VC late last year.
The search is now on to locate descendants of Lieutenant Guy Wylly, who was awarded the VC in 1900 for his heroic actions at Warm Bad Transvaal and Captain James Newland, who was awarded the VC in 1917 at Boursies and Lagnicourt, France in World War I.
The reunion lunch is the personal project of Glendevie resident Kerri Statton, a great-grand- daughter of Percy Clyde Statton VC MM.
The event is a first for Tasmania and unique in the nation.
“I feel so strongly that our history is gradually fading into the distance,” said Ms Statton.
“Our VC recipients and all those who gave their lives for our freedom should not be forgotten.
“Our history is important, and both current and future generations should be aware of the ultimate sacrifice made by our countrymen.
“Thinking about this, I wondered if it would be possible to organise a VC luncheon for family members and descendants of our Tasmanian VC recipients, for us to all get together, as we’ve never actually met one another.
“My initial thought about such an event came about after I first marched on ANZAC Day in 2006, to represent my great-grandfather.
“I began to form a plan to bring descendants of our Tasmanian VCs together.
“At home at the beginning of 2019, with just my mobile phone, I started making lots of phone calls and tracking down the family members.
“After tracking down so many of the descendants, I put my case to (Minister for Veterans Affairs) Guy Barnett MP and RSL House Tasmania and they agreed the event should go ahead.”
Descendants from as far north as Cairns will be attending.
Support has also been received from Minister Barnett and RSL vice president Geoff Leitch.
For more information contact Kerri Statton on 0427 188 173.