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Big crowd celebrates heroes of Beersheba

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November 15, 2017

AROUND 250 people converged on the Nanneella War Memorial on October 29.

AROUND 250 people converged on the Nanneella War Memorial on October 29.

They were there to celebrate the life of Captain Norman Rae, of the Light Horse Brigade in the Battle of Beersheba.

The battle in the First World War is recognised as one of the finest moments in international cavalry history.

The 4th Australian Light Horse Regiment played a pivotal role in that operation and two Nanneella men, Captain George Rankin and Captain Rae, were lead players with the Light Horse.

Indeed, Captain Rae was awarded the Military Cross for his courage under intense fire during the operation.

Both Rankin and Rae were members of the 17th (Campaspe Valley) Light Horse troop based in Rochester when war was declared and were among the first to enlist in the First Australian Imperial Force.

Of the 20 men from Rochester who enlisted at that time not all would join the Light Horse but all played their part in a tumultuous period and three failed to return home.

The day and the life of Captain Rae were celebrated with Major General the Honourable Justice Greg Garde attending.

Sally Sampson from the hall committee coordinated the project.

“This is exciting and I can feel the emotions starting to surge as I continue to hear inspirational stories from some of the descendants,’’ she said.

‘‘Having them come to Nanneella is a huge privilege for us all.’’

Sally’s excitement was shared by Rochester RSL president John Glover.

“Not many new memorials are built these days and the opportunity to honour those who gave their all a century ago is very special,’’ he said.

‘‘This memorial is not only about WWI, though; it honours all from the Nanneella district who have served in every conflict.

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