Michael Thompson

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  • I was raised in a family who has great pride with the Australian Military Forces. My childhood was raised in Townsville and moved to Tongala in the late 1990’s.

    On my 17th Birthday I joined the Australian Army and spent many enjoyable years with the connection to the Defence Force. Unfortunately I was medical discharged from a leg injury.

    I turned my interest to the Australian Light Horse in particular because of my family connection in the First World War when my Great Grandfather David Gellion fought with the Light Horse and Artillery as a Trooper and Driver.

    I have had family connection through every war/conflict and to recognise their duty and achievement the memorials I have either constructed or help construct are not just recognition to my family but to all servicemen and women who have given their life or service to this great country.

    My first memorial was in a small place called Finley, NSW in 2001 and is dedicated to all Australian light Horse Regiments from 1900’s to the 1940’s. This memorial was designed and organised by myself and a small group of Ex Light horsemen from the 1930-40 era. Unfortunately all of these gentlemen have passed on. But their memory will continue in this small town by the memorial.

    With the Finley memorial in place, I turned my efforts to constructing a memorial to the Light Horse in Tongala. In 2003 the Australian Light Horse memorial was dedicated in the parkland in the centre of Tongala. This constructed of a Light horseman walking away with an empty saddle and bridle. When you read the poem you will understand the meaning behind the memorial. The surrounding gardens are in the shape of a horseshoe with the flag poles representing the nails for the horseshoe.

    In 2004 The Avenue of Honour was constructed to the Armoured Corps of the Vietnam War. 24 plaques representing the Calvary and Armoured Corps soldiers who lost their lives in Vietnam. The connection of the Avenue was due to the Light Horse stop using horses in the 1940’s and were changed to Armoured/Cavalry. This is why I placed the Avenue of Honour at Tongala, it kept the history going. This Avenue was unveiled by Governor General of Australia, Michael Jeffery.

    In between the memorials I have helped with the organising on the Lone Pines for the two schools so they too can keep the younger generation interested.

    In 2009, 3rd Cavalry Regiment (Vietnam) Association contacted me in expressing interest of building a National Memorial to the Cavalry in the Vietnam War. This memorial also kept the family tree going of the Light Horse and Cavalry and the National Memorial was unveiled on the 31st October 2011 (Beersheba Day). This memorial like the others is an impressive memorial and lists the names of all Cavalry soldiers who served in the Vietnam War.

    For this memorial I was awarded an Honorary Life Membership to the 3rd Cavalry (Vietnam) Regiment Association.

    I have found great mates through what I have done with the memorials, some have departed and some are long life mates, even family. Something which you find is a different type of mateship then just the mate you went to school with.

     

    I am proud of what I have achieved and will continue to keep the history and memory of the Light Horse, Armoured and Cavalry going as long as I am on this earth. Like the old saying goes until I go to the Green fields and beyond.

     

    06-ShaunMackrell

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