Dimboola family honours fallen soldiers

A DIMBOOLA family has commemorated 100 years since two of its own were killed in Belgium during the First World War.

Judy Neagle and her daughter organised a service for Mrs Neagle’s uncles Harold and Walter Tom Gooding, who died in battles near Polygon Wood and Menin Road Ridge.

The soldiers were the eldest sons of Ned and Polly Gooding, and lived at Arkona, near Dimboola.

Mrs Neagle said about 35 people attended a commemoration service at Dimboola Cemetery in September.

“The two brothers were killed within a few days of each other,” she said.

“Harold was killed on September 30, 1917 in a gun turret on Menin Road. Walter was was killed three or four days earlier a few miles away. 

“Harold’s remains were buried at the Vlamertinghe New Military Cemetery, and Walter’s name is on the Menin Gate at Ypres.”

Mrs Neagle said people traveled from Merimbula, Lilydale, Moonee Ponds, Stawell, St Arnaud, Geelong and Nullawil for the service, which included a wreath-laying.

“Two nieces, Janet McRae of Dimboola and Myra Walsh of Lilydale, laid the wreath at the world war memorial stone in the Dimboola Cemetery,” she said.

“The wreath consisted of Australian natives but also had sprigs of red geranium, which had been grown from the boys’ original homestead at Arkona by great niece Carolyn Hogan.”

Mrs Neagle said great niece Carmel Bennet of Lilydale read the poem In Flanders Fields, and Willem Hogan read the ode.

“Dimboola Cemetery staff flew the Australian flag at half-mast for us – a big thank you to them for this gesture,” she said.

“After all singing the National Anthem, we retired to our home for a light lunch and shared lots of memories.

“Some visitors unexpectedly produced a suitcase of photos, personal family albums and files of family history to end a great day.”