Relatives and descendants gather to keep history alive

Relatives and descendants gather to keep history alive

Kerri Statton’s long-term dream of gathering the descendants of all 15 of Tasmania’s Victoria Cross (VC) recipients together has miraculously come to fruition.

The Glendevie woman, a great-grandaughter of Percy Clyde Statton VC MM, has long been an advocate for local war heroes and keeping history and the memory of their bravery alive as we move further and further away from those pivotal World Wars of the 20th century.

“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.”

Originally planned for August last year, the luncheon was postponed and had a venue change due to COVID-19, and will now take place at the prestigious Tasmania Club, supported by the Australian Defence Force.

With Teddy Sheean finally awarded a posthumous VC in December last year, 78 years to the day since the 18-year-old was killed fending off Japanese aircraft from a rapidly sinking HMAS Armidale, Kerri had additional invitations to extend and continuing difficulties in locating descendants of Lieutenant Guy Wylly VC CB DSO and Captain James Newland VC.

Now, four weeks out from the big event, Kerri said she is thrilled to have descendants from all 15 Tasmanian VCs coming together for the first time ever.

“Having been told it would be extremely unlikely to locate them all, I have now found descendants of all 15 Tasmanian VCs,” said Kerri.

“I have family members ranging from a daughter, grandsons, great granddaughters, nieces and cousins flying in from interstate and travelling from up north.

“Some of the descendants have never been to Tasmania before.”

Kerri said that this is a truly historical military moment for Tasmania, as the families have never been together in one place before.

“From a dream of mine from years ago, to finally be able to bring these families together to share their memories has really been emotional for me,” said Kerri.