About Me

Ballarat, Victoria, Australia
In 2012 I moved back to my home town of Ballarat in Victoria, Australia. Join me as I re-discover Ballarat, one of Victoria's largest inland cities, famous for the Goldfields. You may be a resident, tourist or new comer to Ballarat. I hope to provide you with useful information about Ballarat as I re-discover my home town. I will also provide information on places which are a short drive from Ballarat. So residents and visitors come and discover Ballarat with me.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Lest We Forget

No we are not in Flanders Fields.  These beautiful poppies are growing in Sturt Street, Ballarat near the Cenotaph. ‘Lest We Forget’ on this Remembrance Day, 2012.


This week I spent a great deal of time reflecting on those who have died serving our country.  My visit to the Australian War Memorial on Saturday lasted 5 hours as we visited the Roll of Honour and the museum inside.  For the second time this year, I laid a poppy on the Roll of Honour for a distant relative on my family tree that died (presumed dead according to his service records) as a Prisoner of War in Siam, Thailand in the Second World War in 1943.  Maxwell Alfred William Benoit was a signalman in the 8 Division Signals.  Family rumours say he was beheaded.  Regardless of the circumstances of his death, I discovered his great courage when I located his citation for the award of a Military Medal for distinguished service:

“Signalman Benoit was a member of Signals wireless detachment which was allotted to an Infantry Brigade.  When the Brigade was overwhelmed, two Battalions of the Australian Imperial Forces went forward to re-establish the situation.  For a period of 5 days this detachment was continuously exposed to enemy fire and air attack, and although Benoit was three times wounded and suffering severely, he remained at his post and was instrumental in assisting the leader of his detachment in maintaining communication with Force Headquarters until the set was finally destroyed by enemy action” (Source: Service Records – Letter to E.A.J Redding, 20th March 1942).

According to one source, during this attack, Maxwell’s communications equipment was damaged and he used two wires to tap together to communicate using Morse code, instead of the usual device.  Can you imagine being wounded in the harshest of conditions with bullets firing and you manage to come up with such an innovative idea to full fill your role in a battle.  Such courage!  He is a hero in my book.
 Australian War Memorial, November 2012

Australian Ex-Prisoner of War Memorial - Ballarat
If you have never been, there is now an Australian Ex-Prisoner of War Memorial in the Botanical Gardens in Lake Wendouree, Ballarat.  This is where I first became aware of Maxwell, and so my search into this part of my family history began.  The memorial has his name inscribed there as “BENOIT MAW” (pictured).  The memorial is located on the corner of Carlton Street and Wendouree Parade.

And so as this Remembrance Day draws closer, I encourage you to reflect on our past, present and future. 
Our Past – those who have already departed us.
Our Present – those who are currently serving and protecting us
Our Future – the future of our country and our younger generations

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

‘The Ode’ comes from a poem called ‘For the Fallen’ by English poet and writer Laurence Binyon.

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