TIMELESS MEMORIAL: Some of the 16 Cudgen pine trees for the First World War fallen in 1953.
TIMELESS MEMORIAL: Some of the 16 Cudgen pine trees for the First World War fallen in 1953. Contributed

Lofty pines keep memories alive

SADLY it seems the living memorials to the fallen soldiers of the Cudgen district, the stately pine trees, may have to go as time takes a toll on them.

The Cudgen Memorial Avenue in Collier St, Cudgen was first planted about February 1919. By the end of the month the pine trees were in place and tree guards at the cost of two guineas each were in the process of being erected.

At the time The Tweed Daily noted "The fallen heroes to whose memory this fine tribute is paid are: Ptes P and M Price, F W Mann, T Cowan, C Hansen, T Lillie, Harper, Ellis, Turnbull, Lewis, McCarthy, and R Clark and J McGinnes." Another tree would also be planted to the memory of Pte W Curtis who had died a short time earlier from illness.

The WW1 memorial tablets at Cudgen list the local fallen as H Clarke, R Clarke, T Cowen, W Curtis, Ellis, C Hansen, G Harper, J Lewis, T Lillie, F Mann, E Mann, B McCarthy, J McInnes, M Price, P Price and J A Turnock.

Twenty-year-old farmer Percy Pierce Price, born in Kempsey, was the son of William and Mary Price of Cudgen. He enlisted at Murwillumbah in March 1915 and suffered a shoulder wound at Gallipoli in August 1915. Pte Price was attached to 4th Machine Gun Company when he was killed in action in France in April 1917.

Cudgen Hall was crowded for the memorial service on Sunday afternoon, July 28, 1918 for Pte Morris Price who was William and Mary Price's second son to die in the conflict. Born at Moonbah near Jindabyne in NSW, the 23-year-old farmer enlisted in November 1915 and was in the Cyclist Corps when he was killed in action in France in June 1918.

The son of George and Edith Mann of Chinderah, Frederick William Mann was born in Sydney. The 23-year-old carpenter enlisted in September 1914. A member of the Military Expeditionary Force in the Gallipoli campaign, Pte Mann was killed in the landing on Gallipoli Peninsula and was buried at sea.

George and Edith Mann lost another son, 33-year-old Edgar Charles, who was born in the NSW town of Morpeth. Pte Mann was married with five children and after serving in France and surviving the conflict he died from bronchial pneumonia in February 1919 at Fovant Camp Military Hospital. His widow Beatrice received the news at Chinderah that he was buried in the nearby St George Parish church yard.

Thomas James Cowen, the son of Thomas and Mary Cowen of Chinderah, was born locally. The 18-year-old enlisted in January 1916. Pte Cowen died of wounds to the abdomen in a casualty clearing station in France in June 1917.

Thomas Lillie was born at Chinderah where his parents, Thomas and Margaret, lived. The 27-year-old farmer enlisted in June 1915. Pte Lillie was killed in action in France in July 1916.

Driver Carl Richmond Hansen died at an advanced dressing station from severe chest wounds in February 1917. Born at Woodburn, NSW, the 18-year-old labourer was living at Cudgen with his brother John when he enlisted in September 1915. Hugh Clarke was also born locally and was the son of Henry and Hannah Clarke of Cudgen. The 39-year-old labourer enlisted in September 1916 and was killed in action in France in October 1917.

Joseph Arnold Turnock was born in Ross in the English county of Herefordshire. The 42-year-old bank clerk enlisted at Enoggera in December 1914 and was part of the Military Expeditionary Force on Gallipoli Peninsula. John Howard Turnock of Chinderah was notified that his brother Pte Turnock died at Gallipoli in May 1915.

Englishman James Lewis worked as a farm hand at Cudgen. Born in Liverpool, he was almost 40 when he enlisted in February 1916. Shortly before his enlistment James married an older German woman working at the Cudgen Hotel named Anna Grahamer. She had arrived in Australia in late 1911. Lance Corporal Lewis was killed in action in Belgium in October 1917 and in October 1918 a handsome marble tablet erected to his memory was unveiled in St Mark's Church, Cudgen. His widow Anna Lewis returned to Germany in 1921.

More First World War stories remain to be told. Trees were also planted in memory of the district's men who died during the Second World War. In April 1981 Pte Morris Price's pine was hit by lighting and felled. Plans were made to replace his living memorial.

- Do you know more about the pine trees? Leave your comments below.

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