Call for Fremantle grave to be heritage listed

Call for Fremantle grave to be heritage listed

As part of the Centenary of ANZAC and the commemoration events being held in Fremantle the seven graves and cremation plaques of Victoria Cross recipients should be placed on the State Heritage Register.

Nearly six months ago Labor Leader Mark McGowan called on the Barnett Government to ensure the graves and cremation plaques of seven VC recipients located in Western Australian cemeteries are appropriately recognised and heritage protected.

One of these seven VC recipients is Leonard Henry Trent, whose grave is at Fremantle cemetery.

Mr Trent was a Group Captain in the Royal New Zealand Air Force and was awarded a Victoria Cross for his efforts during WWII.

He participated in the “Great Escape” of 24 March 1944 although he was recaptured almost immediately. He received solitary confinement because of his immediate surrender outside the camp and survived the war in a POW camp.

After the war he moved to Forrestdale in 1965 and later to New Zealand where he died in 1985. His ashes were returned to WA and his grave is located at the Fremantle Cemetery.

His grave is not listed on the State Heritage Register.

Other deceased VC recipients in Western Australia cemeteries include:

·Private Martin O’Meara VC – Died 20 December 1935

· Private James Wood VC – Died 18 January 1963

·Lance Corporal Thomas Axford VC – Died 11 October 1983

·Private John Carroll VC – Died 4 October 1971

·Private James Gordon VC – 19 July 1986

·Private Leslie Starcevich VC – 17 November 1989

Comments from Simone McGurk MLA:

“As we approach the Centenary of ANZAC, the State Government should recognise the significance of these burial sites and ensure these men are remembered for generations.

“The Government has said there is a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Metropolitan Cemeteries Board and the Office of Australian War Graves and therefore the graves do not need heritage protection. This is not good enough.

“Bon Scott’s plaque in Fremantle cemetery is rightly heritage protected; our war heroes should also be recognised.

“The ANZAC centenary is an opportunity to give proper recognition to Mr Trent’s resting place.”