“The battlefields at Beersheba may be distant, but the deeds committed there remain close to the heart of our nation”. – Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull
A pilgrimage to honour the contributions of Indigenous Light Horse soldiers during WWI will be undertaken by their descendants in late October when they travel to Beersheva, Israel to participate in the centenary commemorations of the 1917 Light Horse charge.
Participants will research and record the stories of their ancestors, ensuring the sacrifices they made are honoured and never forgotten.
Jennifer Symonds, long-standing member of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies Social Justice Committee and Trustee of the Rona Tranby Trust, has been instrumental in bringing the project to fruition and spoke at the official launch last Sunday where participants were presented with a certificate by Federal Member for Berowra, Julian Lesser.
Pictured below is Charles Fitzroy Stafford, who took part in the Charge of the Light Horse in Beersheva on October 31st 1917. His great-niece Peta Flynn is pictured right, receiving her certificate of participation in the Rona Tranby Australian Light Horse Project from Julian Leeser MP.
An excerpt from a message from the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs: ‘Indigenous men served in all Light Horse Regiments, and some participated in the charge at Beersheba. In order to honour and acknowledge those men, the Australian Government is delighted to support the Rona Tranby Trust to record the stories of these heroes as recalled by their descendants’.
Above from left: Rona Tranby College CEO Dr Belinda Russon, Mischa Fisher, Rona Tranby Trust trustee Jennifer Symonds, Peter Wertheim AM
The generous individuals and organisations listed below are supporting the Rona Tranby Trust Australian Light Horse Project:
Australian Department of Veteran Affairs
Australian Department of Social Services
Australian War Memorial
Tranby National Indigenous Adult Education and Training
NSW Jewish War Memorial
NSW Jewish Board of Deputies
Jewish National Fund Australia
Centenary of Anzac Jewish Program
Executive Council of Australian Jewry