I adore scrabble, but am always being slaughtered at it. So, I perked up when the guide on the Heritage Walk through Rookwood Cemetery on Saturday pointed out the instrument on the marker above, the one that looks like a speech bubble in a comic. It is, in fact, a 'zax' (plural zaxes), which is an instrument used by slaters (a chap who works on your roof, dearie, not a sluggish thing under a rock in your garden) for cutting and dressing slates; a kind of hatchet with a sharp point on the pole for perforating the slate to receive the nail or pin. There is a striking tool above it.
So, I gathered that herewithin lay a slater. Well may you say 'under a rock in a garden' ...
But, then I looked more closely. One son (the fifth) dead by accident in 1912. Another son (the youngest) dead as a casualty of war in 1917. Before WW1 John Gordon Lorimer died when his motor-bicycle collided with a tramways car. John was born in 1887, four years after his parents, and his five older siblings immigrated to the colony of NSW on the 'Ellora' from Scotland. David was a slater & plumber. Ann had her hands full with an 11 yo daughter, Jessie, and four younger sons. Jessie was born when Ann was 18 and David only 21.
And. then, in 1887, Wallace Hepburn Lorimer was born. The grave marker states he was a sergeant in the 1st Imperial Camel Corps, who died in the Gaza. His record of service states:
Killed in action in the advance to, and while in temporary occupation of, a Turkish redoubt and owing to the position being vacated and not subsequently re-occupied, the dead were not able to be buried.The two letters included here are from the record of service of Wallace Lorimer. Both letters were written by his father, David. BTW, when he enlisted in 1915, Wallace described himself as a slater. That may account for the details on David's letterhead. There are only 5 years between the writing of the two letters, ageing David from 66 to 71. It looks a lot more than that. He has aged and gone creaky very quickly. It is clear from the file, that what I typed above was all they ever found out about the skirmish in which their youngest child perished. David writes, pleading for information 'you have a sorrowing father's feelings that you may be able to ease the pain a little'. But no response to this is held on file. David did understand that there was a war on. But the sorrow took its toll.
In the second letter, David, is trying to find out if his son's Next-of-Kin qualify for a medal, and whether there is a form to be completed. Well, yes, he did qualify. he served overseas. And he died overseas. No body for burial, just a memorial plaque at the Jerusalem Memorial in Israel. And the government sent his NoK a 1914-15 Star, a British War Medal, a Victory Medal, a Memorial Scroll, and a Memorial Plaque. Together with a plaque in the Garden of Remembrance at Rookwood.
I wonder if all that 'eased a sorrowing father's feelings?
|This is my contribution to the Taphophile Tragics community.|