An internationally-recognized Commonwealth military heritage advocate, former Barrie resident and youthful park employee says the Vespra Boys cenotaph sandblasting and irreparable damage a “desecration”.
Mr Les Stewart MBA
Springwater Park Citizens’ Coalition
9 Nov 2013
Dear Les: Remembrance Day 2013
I am writing to you on behalf of the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome Committee Incorporated, a voluntary community organization involved in the preservation of the first of the Empire Air Training Scheme Stations to be established in World War II at Evans Head on the Far North Coast of NSW.
Evans Head is a sister Empire Air Training Scheme Station to Camp Borden which was also the very first of that Scheme to be established in Canada. My father trained there during World War II as a RAAF pilot with the RCAF. Sadly there does not appear to be any recognition of the important role which Camp Borden played in preparing personnel for the World War II AirForce effort despite the large number of men who passed through there on the way to England to defend Empire.
My Committee has a strong affinity with the work you and the SPCC are doing to preserve the ‘Vespra Boys’ Memorial. We were successful in having Evans Head listed on the State Heritage Register in 2002 despite opposition from local government and various commercial interests.
We have also experienced desecration of a Memorial Plaque initiated by World War II Veterans and know the angst and disgust generated by such action. However through persistent action we have prevailed and now Evans Head is a major stopping off point for Veterans and their families.
The reason for writing to you and the SPCC is to lend our support to your actions to preserve the memory of the World War I Veterans at Springwater Park and to let you know that we will be with you all in spirit on the 11th of November when we have our own Memorial Service here.
As a former employee of Springwater Park 50 years ago I remember the Vespra Boys Memorial well. It must stand in situ as a reminder of the sacrifices that our forefathers were prepared to make that we might enjoy the freedom we have today. Lest we forget.
Dr Richard Gates, President.
PO Box 64 Evans Head NSW 2473 tel 02 6682 5161 email@example.com
The Empire Air Training Scheme is better known in Canada as the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. The Military History and Significance of Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome
Dr. Gates established the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome in the face of local government opposition and fierce commercial development interests. He is a member of the SPCC Advisory Council.