US soldier burial site ‘forgotten’ on Anzac Day
AN Ipswich woman is pushing for commemorative services to return to the site of the burial of more than 1000 US soldiers who helped defend Australia and the Pacific during WWII.
Manson Park at Raceview is still home to a memorial to the American soldiers, but was once also the site where more than 1400 men were buried.
Two years after the war ended, 140 Ipswich people helped exhume the bodies of the American soldiers so they could be taken home.
Charlotte Harding said she was heartbroken when she went to the memorial on Anzac Day and realised there were no wreaths left behind to commemorate the soldiers.
"I couldn't believe it. I went to services there in about 1992-93," Ms Harding said.
"It is a memorial to some of the most heroic people in the war. I took a wreath down but could not believe there was no Anzac service there."
The park was named after former post office owner Rose Manson, who helped maintain the burial site in the early days.
The tireless work of Mrs Manson was remembered at previous VP Day ceremonies at the park.
Mrs Manson wrote letters to the families of servicemen in the US and looked after the graves until 1947 when the dead were returned by ship.
Mrs Manson's son John Manson, her eldest grandson Andrew Manson and granddaughters Kathleen Hart, Karen Madders and Roslyn Manson attended previous services held at the park.
Ms Harding has approached Ipswich West MP Jim Madden regarding the possibility of bringing a service back to the memorial, which is off Cemetery Rd.
Mr Madden has taken the matter to the American embassy in Canberra and has signalled his intentions to work with local RSL groups and the embassy.
He said there were options to hold a service either on Anzac Day, VP Day or Remembrance Day.
Ms Harding said her preference was to have a service on Anzac Day.
Ipswich Railway RSL Sub Branch member Ian Dainer said Manson Park was the setting for a VP Day service each year up until about four or five years ago.
He said the age of WWII veterans was a significant factor in the service falling by the wayside in recent times, but there was no doubt Manson Park was a very important site for veterans, especially Americans, some of whom would travel to Ipswich for the services.