“Forever Remembered” is a project conceived almost thirty years ago by Lake Macquarie war researcher Gary Mitchell.
With a passion and and appreciation for the commitment and service that war veterans gave selflessly for their country, Gary realised that many of these long forgotten war veterans are interred in either unmarked graves or long forgotten graves that have been neglected and forgotten over time.
Sandgate Cemetery is the third largest cemetery in size in New South Wales with about 90,000 interments. The enormity of the task in identifying, initially in this cemetery, every service person who served in World War 1 (the initial war researched) was formidable.
Despite this challenge, Gary using his own personal time and resources and with the assistance of members from the former Sandgate Cemetery Trust, Northern Cemeteries, the Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA), the Morpeth Mens Shed (construction of White Crosses) and the Merewether, Hamilton and Adamstown RSL Sub Branch, has virtually completed the identification of World War 1 Service Men and Women.
Not only has Gary identified these war veterans, he has researched and documented their service.
Applications have been submitted by Gary with the DVA for the construction of either fully constructed and inscribed war graves or memorial plaques – over 60 have been constructed and more than 50 approved and awaiting construction by the Office of Australian War Graves. Those that do not meet DVA criteria for construction have been marked with white crosses, emblazoned with the name and service record, and poppies – many of these graves have been identified to fall under a separate project “Forgotten Diggers Headstone Project” (click here to find out more) that aims to install plaques on these graves.
All existing graves with monuments have been adorned with poppies and appropriate WW1 service plaque (wherever possible) to indicate service in World War 1. Every grave has been photographed to ensure a permanent record of their service. As well, the exact geo-location of every grave has been captured and can be located on this website or directly by using a mobile device at the cemetery.
The ongoing identification of World War 1 service men and women in other cemeteries and other war service is an ongoing project by Gary.