George Hatchman (middle), Ian Dainer (left) and Edwin Habben at the Honour Stone’s new location.
George Hatchman (middle), Ian Dainer (left) and Edwin Habben at the Honour Stone’s new location. Rob Williams

Memorial finds home at RAAF base

FOR two years the Amberley Honour Stone cut a lonely figure standing on the side of Rosewood Rd in front of the abandoned Amberley State School.

The stone's plight, which recognised the Amberley boys who served in World War I, worried ex-serviceman and Willowbank resident George Hatchmen.

Along with another ex-serviceman, Ian Dainer, he worked with Warrant Officer Steve Holland to find the stone a new home on Amberley soil.

The stone was moved to the Memorial Gardens within the RAAF base, where it will remain under the watchful eye of serving air force personnel.

The families of soldiers remembered on the memorial will gather to commemorate Remembrance Day tomorrow and mark the stone's official handover to RAAF base Amberley.

As Willowbank Area Residents Group president, Mr Hatchmen felt the RAAF base was the best location for the war memorial, which was erected in 1919 and holds a special place in the hearts of the Amberley community.

"As we were custodially responsible for the honour stone we decided that we needed to find a suitable place for the stone so it could be looked after," he said.

"We respectfully contacted families and got a lot of opinion on it. We all came to agree that the Amberley boys should stay on Amberley soil."

Following the Remembrance Day service, beginning at 10.30am, Cr Charlie Pisasale will hand over the honour stone to Warrant Officer Holland.

The Remembrance Day ceremony will also act as the launch for military historian Edwin Habben's new book, The Amberley Honour Stone, which tells the stories of Amberley soldiers in World War I and II.

Mr Habben sifted through old newspaper reports and military records to piece together a story for the 23 servicemen.

"They are all special to me. Everyone has something special about them. Everyone has a different story and something to tell. The fellows that died and sacrificed their lives they are the ones I'm most passionate about.

"Getting the information to the families they would not have known about. I found a lot of reports on soldiers and a lot of families appreciated it," he said.

The book will be available to purchase at the ceremony.

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