Previously unrecognised Veterans of the First World War whose graves are unmarked will now be acknowledged, thanks to a grants program funded in the October 2022-23 Budget.
Following a successful pilot, Minister for Veterans Affairs’ Matt Keogh said the First World War Unmarked Graves grants program is being formally established with an initial $1.5 million, which will help recognise veterans interred in private graves who are not eligible for the Australian Government’s program of official commemoration.
“Following the First World War, many veterans were separated from their families for a variety of reasons: some took up the offer of a Solider Settler farm, while others may have chosen to live an isolated life. When these veterans passed away, some may have been buried without a funeral or permanent headstone,” Minister Keogh said.
“This program recognises those veterans of the First World War who returned home with the memories and scars of their service, and passed away with their final place of rest unmarked.
“More than 331,800 Australians served during the First World War with 271,800 service men and women returning home to Australia.
“Official commemoration in the form of a graveside memorial managed by the Office of Australian War Graves was provided to more than 30,000 of these service men and women, whose death was accepted as directly related to their war service.
“The remaining 240,000 First World War veterans were buried privately, some of whom are at rest in unmarked graves. This grants program will help recognise these veterans, by providing funding for individuals, non-commercial organisations or community groups planning to arrange a graveside memorial.”
The program will be administered by the Office of Australian War Graves, however ongoing maintenance of these private memorials will rest with families or arrangements with the relevant cemetery authority.
To learn more visit the DVA website www.dva.gov.au.