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Centennial celebration for military bravery

OCTOBER 3, 1918 marked the day when Private Frederick Norris Hanks received Military Medals for bravery in the field. October 3, 2018 culminated in an honouring, familial gathering.

The Leongatha RSL last Wednesday hosted about 35 of Private Hanks’ devotees, honouring his service to country and friends alike, with a lunch gathering followed by a ceremony, laying of ceramic poppies and a visit to the Leongatha cemetery.

Private Hanks’ remains were buried there together with his wife and two children; the latter believed to have died of the flu or whooping cough. His Military Medals were on proud display, a military decoration awarded for “conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty” during the attack near Beaurevoir, France.

It is rare for so many of the Hanks to congregate at once but the centennial occasion warranted the effort for all to reflect and remember. Len Hanks, the oldest of the living Hanks, was proud to partake.

“It’s great to see so many of the young and old here today. We’re all proud of Frederick’s achievements. After lunch we took the time to lay ceramic poppies at his resting place at the Leongatha Cemetery. We’re thankful to Alan Stuart for arranging the poppies,” Len said.

Private Hanks’ actions saved many lives in his platoon. Under severe fire from an enemy machine gun post at the scene of a house, he moved and fired quickly with his Lewis Gun to act as a decoy and distraction.

Subsequently, the scene was cleared to allow the remainder of his platoon a free and forward approach to ‘rush’ the position from the front, killing occupants of the house.

Similarly, his succeeding military combat operations were credited equally, relieving fellow troops to bring about effective fire on enemy targets.

The Hanks family has inhabited Australia since January 10, 1830, with the majority settling within the South Gippsland vicinity. The first to emigrate from England was John Hanks, who later settled in Hobart, travelling aboard the Prince Regent convict ship. His crime? Convicted of stealing a donkey and sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment.

 

Military decoration: descendant of the late Private Frederick Norris Hanks, from left, Len Hanks with Alan Stuart, both involved in organising the RSL family gathering to commemorate 100 years since Private Hanks received his Military Medals.

All together: the family of the late Private Frederick Norris Hanks at the Leongatha RSL.Centennial celebration for military bravery

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=26097

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