A life dedicated to others

Circular Head RSL World War I Centenary Committee has dedicated its latest project to Ray and Lexie Grey. Family members including (from left) Melissa Crosswell and Guy Grey were at the official unveiling held outside the Circular Head RSL Sub Branch on Anzac Day with committee member Rod Wells and Smithton Lions Club members Tony Hine and Sheryl Robson. Picture: Ashleigh Force.

Commemorate. The Circular Head RSL World War I Centenary Committee has unveiled its latest project, dedicating it to a local veteran.

Two seats have been installed outside the Circular Head RSL with the hope of providing a place to reflect and remember the sacrifices of past and present servicemen and women.

The installations were unveiled on Tuesday following the region’s Anzac Day services at Stanley, Smithton and Marrawah.

Donations from the Grey family, Soroptimist International of Circular Head, Smithton Lions Club and the Circular Head RSL Sub Branch saw the project that was two years in the making come to fruition.

The seats, which feature silhouettes depicting Australia’s involvement in various conflicts throughout the past 100 years and a poppy, were designed by ProArt Designs owner Darren Gorringe.

Dedicated to the late Ray and Lexie Grey, their grandson Guy thanked the centenary committee for the moving tribute.

“I think that we are all sitting and standing here today due to the great warriors, and the men and women who served for our great country and those from our small community,” Guy said at the ceremony.   

“It is very fitting and appropriate to dedicate this seat of reflection to rest here at the RSL.”

Ray Grey served with the 9th Division in Papua New Guinea during World War Two before returning to his family and farm at Marrawah.

Marrying Lexie in 1946, the couple were active members of the Marrawah sub branch with Lexie serving as president for many years before receiving a Life Membership. Ray served the Smithton sub branch as president during the year of his passing in 2002.

“Whenever Ray and Lexie travelled in Tasmania or on the mainland the first stop in any town would be the RSL club,” Guy recalled.

“Ray always maintained you would get a good counter meal [there] and he would always find returned servicemen to strike up a conversation with and find out some local history.”

Guy said his grandparents dedicated their lives to educating the youth of the sacrifices past servicemen and women have made for our country.

“They had a strong commitment to honouring all who had served their country and dedicated their lives to upholding the traditions and values of the RSL,” he said.

“We hope that this seat will offer the same respite for all who choose to stop and rest a while and reflect on not only Nan and Pa, but everyone else who served this great country.”

RSL president Jason Chatwin said the new additions complement the centenary committee’s work.

“A few years ago, if you’ll remember, this was a driveway,” he said.

“When you look around now, it looks quite a bit better with the mural up behind us, silhouettes and now we have some nice seats to go along with it.”

Further memorabilia will add to the space in the coming years.

This year marks the centenary of the battles of Bersheba, Bullecourt and Polygon Wood as well as 75 years since the battles of the Coral Sea and El Alamein, the bombing of Darwin and the fall of Singapore.

Anzac Day marks 102 years since the landing at Anzac Cove where more than 50,000 Australians served during an eight month campaign. More than 18,000 were wounded during this time with more than 8700 sacrificing their lives.

More than 420,000 Australians enlisted during the First World War, including 15,484 Tasmanians. Of those Tasmanians, 2432 did not return home.

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