MR ENTSCH: (Leichhardt) (13:59): At the weekend I attended a memorial service and the unveiling of a plaque to commemorate the tragic death of 11 servicemen during the Second World War.
The loved ones of those 11 travelled from California, New Zealand, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane to be at the unveiling.
They were joined by more than 200 local residents.
On 5 March 1945, a Royal Australian Air Force Lockheed Hudson aircraft crashed about 300 metres off the coast at Machans Beach on its approach to the Cairns Airport.
Of the 11 killed, seven were laid to rest in the Cairns War Cemetery.
The bodies of the other four servicemen were never recovered.
The memorial would not have been possible if it had not been for the drive and the passion of Mrs Mary Anton, and her son, local businessman Martin Anton, was the driver behind the fitting memorial and worked tirelessly to ensure it became a reality.
The whole community got behind the Antons’ initiative, and it just goes to show what can be achieved when people work together.
I know that the memorial gave many families closure, 73 years after the fact.
On behalf of the community, I now hope that the fallen servicemen—Major General George Vasey, Major General Rupert Downes, Lieutenant Colonel George Bertram, Flight Lieutenant John Newell, Warrant Officer Berrol Frieze, Corporal Edward James, Flight Sergeant Gordon Thomson, Flying Officer Donald Bassett, Leading Aircraftman John Moore, Colonel Robert Russell and Lieutenant William Riggall—can now rest in peace.