Wagga family push to have ancestor's name honoured

Leaving a legacy: The daughter of a former Wagga man says she wants her father, former serviceman Alexander McDonald Ellison, added to the Roll of Honour at Victory Memorial Gardens.

Leaving a legacy: The daughter of a former Wagga man says she wants her father, former serviceman Alexander McDonald Ellison, added to the Roll of Honour at Victory Memorial Gardens.

A Wagga family are pushing to have their ancestor’s name added to the Victory Memorial Garden’s Roll of Honour. 

Alexander McDonald Ellison served in World War I and World War II and despite not being born in Wagga, his family say it was the place he called home. 

In a letter, his last living child, Lynette Kensey, appealed to the RSL in a bid to honour her father – “a real hero”. 

The 83-year old said she initially made her plea before the ANZAC centenary but received an emphatic “no” in response, due to his location of birth. 

“He moved around a lot,” Mrs Kensey said. “Wagga was the closest place he called home.”

Mrs Kensey said her father was a country boy who moved around a lot. 

She said Mr Ellison became a champion rider, joined the cadets and the Light Horse in Dartmoor, Victoria before being assigned as a Signaller to the 4th Division of the 14th Battalion at Gallipoli. 

“Here he survived the retreat,” Mrs Kensey said. “Then he survived the battle for Pozieres, The Somme, Bullecourt and (was serving in Belgium until the war’s end).” 

On his return, Mr Ellison worked as a labourer, clearing land across Victoria. While in Australia, he formed the honour guard for the opening of Parliament House as part of the Light Horse Regiment.

Mrs Kensey said her father also helped invent the stump jump plough before he re-joined the Army in 1941, after the Great Depression.   

Wagga was the closest place he called home. - Lynette Kensey

Mr Ellison also served at Liverpool and Casula and later, as a Warrant Officer, he took men from the mechanical equipment wing to open up and develop Kapooka Army Base. In 1954 he returned to Wagga and invested in a War Services’ home, where he remained until his death.

“I am appealing to those that have the ability ... to honour … my father,” Mrs Kensey said.

“By adding his name to the monument near the cenotaph… his grandchildren and great-grandchildren (in Wagga) can point his name out.”

Wagga RSL Sub Branch Roll of Honour coordinator David Gardiner said names were added to memorials at the place of enlistment. He encouraged Mr Ellison’s family to apply to the RLS branch where he joined the defence force. 

“We can’t make exemptions,” Mr Gardiner said. “It affects everyone else.”

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop