Major Jeremy Barraclough of the 51st Battalion, Far North Qld Regiment, took a trip to Doomadgee this week to present the Aplin family of Waanyi with a service medal for their late father and uncle.
On Thursday, November 23, nine of Maurice Aplin’s 11 children were there to accept his award, including his eldest child, Inez Aplin.
More than 100 attended the event including family, local station owners, service providers, members of the 51st Battalion Normanton, Mount Isa RSL, QLD Police Service and Doomadgee Council.
The medal came about as a result of some investigative efforts by Queensland Ambulance Service Officer in Charge for Doomadgee, Mandy Barr.
“A lady asked me to look into her father, Maurice Aplin’s, Army Service. During my research we came across his brother, Arthur Aplin who also belonged to the same Regiment between 1942 - 1945,” Officer Barr said.
Mandy applied for both men’s service records to be digitised, then made an application for a Medal Assessment, which revealed they were both entitled to an ‘Australian Service Medal’.
This award is important to the community, as both Waanyi men survived by their families in Doomadgee now have a personal connection to Anzac Day.
Major Jeremy Barraclough said it was great to go out and recognise the family.
“We had a fair few of the community come out. And it was nice because the roles that these men did are very similar to what we do now in the 51st Battalion,” Major Barraclough said.
“The Army is recruiting now for June 2018 course. Visit defencejobs.gov.au or drop into one of our depots."
Doomadgee Shire Council have committed to re vamping the Doomadgee Cenotaph where there will be a plaque mounted in honour of these men.
About the 23rd Queensland Regiment VDC Burketown 1943 – 1945:
The 23rd Queensland Regiment was formed by Australia’s most decorated soldier - Henry William “Harry” Murray VC, CMG, DSO & Bar, DCM.
They were a Volunteer Defence Corp that covered the Lower and North West Gulf, from Nappranum down to Burketown / Doomadgee.
These men were a Surveillance Group probably on horse back, that were chosen for their physical and mental strengths that were known for their extensive knowledge of the Gulf Coast and Its Waterways.
The 23rd Queensland Regiment VDC were not to engage in war, but to monitor the coast and waterways during World War II for any enemy vessels attempting to make landfall or entering the waterways and hamper their communications and efforts to advance to more populated areas.
Japanese fishing vessels were familiar with the Gulf and were often manned by Japanese Naval Personnel.
The Far North Qld Regiment is recruiting now for its recruitment course in June 2018. Visit defencejobs.gov.au or drop into one of the depots.