Uki gives wallet a home
By PETER CATON
AN old leather wallet which survived the ravages of war and time as well as the mud of WWI trenches will take pride of place at the Uki Anzac Day dawn service on Tuesday.
The Uki sub-branch of the RSL, which received the wallet from the family of Anzac veteran Len Loder, is to officially hand it over to the Uki and South Arm Historical Society at the service.
The history of the wallet began 89 years ago when Alleyne (Len) Loder, 32, the owner of the Uki general store enlisted for service in Europe in 1917 and was farewelled at a function in the Uki Hall.
Those present signed a small notebook and placed it in the wallet which Mr Loder carried with him throughout Flanders infamous fields while serving with the 25th Battalion in France.
The treasured wallet also contained a list of names of soldiers from the Tweed Valley, a record of his journey from Australia to England and holy cards given to him in France.
On his return to Australia in 1919 Len Loder continued running the Uki shop until 1945 and was the first president of the Uki RSL sub-branch for 28 years.
Current president John Smith yesterday quipped that the wallet and the story of its presentation at a farewell brought back personal memories.
"I had a send-off here in the same hall before I went to Vietnam in 1970," he said, adding jokingly: "But they didn't give me a wallet."
"It was a different era."
Mr Loder's daughter Isabel Vincent and her husband Alan presented the wallet and an historic cribbage game board to the RSL last year but the sub-branch decided it had nowhere suitable to keep them.
Historical society president Dot Lange said they were destined for the Tweed River Regional Museum after experts had confirmed they met guidelines for acceptance of new items.
The Uki Anzac Day dawn service is to be held at the village war memorial starting 4.28am followed by a get-together in the Uki Hall.