War heroes saluted in watercolour

Hay joins Silo Art Trail with tributes to local veterans

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HIGH HONOUR: New artworks on Hay's water towers which pay tribute to local World War II veterans are the latest additions to the Australian Silo Art Trail. Photo: Rachel Lenenhan

HIGH HONOUR: New artworks on Hay's water towers which pay tribute to local World War II veterans are the latest additions to the Australian Silo Art Trail. Photo: Rachel Lenenhan

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Hay's water tanks are now the backdrop for portraits of five local war heroes.

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HAY's war heroes contributed a great deal to the nation and now they have been honoured in the form of a moving public art tribute.

The NSW town's water tanks serve as the canvas for portrait tributes to five servicemen and women who served in World War II.

Melbourne based artist Matt Adante created the memorial in December last year

Visitors have already started to arrive to see the newly painted tanks, which are located near Sandy Point Beach.

The new artworks are the latest edition to the Australian Silo Art Trail.

The service personnel who have been honoured are:

Lieutenant Lorna Margaret Whyte

The only woman featured in the artworks, Lieutenant Whyte joined the Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS) in 1941 and was one of six nurses chosen to go to the island of New Britain. She arrived at Rabaul on April 25, 1941 to treat soldiers suffering from tropical diseases. The bombing of Rabaul on January 4 1942 and almost daily subsequent bombings thereafter, led to the Japanese invasion of Australian territory on January 23, 1942. Lieutenant Whyte was captured as a prisoner of war and imprisoned in Japan before finally returning home in September, 1945.

Private Victor George Murray

An Indigenous man, Private Murray enlisted in the Australian Military Forces at Condobolin on May 15, 1940. Due to his experience as a mechanic, he was drafted as a Sapper - an engineer who was also a fighting soldier. He was discharged after being deemed medically unfit in 1940, but re-enlisted in 1941 and was shipped to Singapore, where he fought alongside fellow troops during the Battle of Muar. After battling numerous illnesses, including recurrent malaria, Private Murray eventually received an honourable discharge in 1943.

Corporal Clifford Leslie Farlow

Corporal Farlow enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on June 26, 1940. He left Sydney for overseas service on the passenger liner RMS Queen Mary on February 4, 1941. He arrived in Singapore, sustaining a bayonet wound after leading a charge during the Battle of Muar. Corporal Farlow was taken as a POW and then interred to Japan. He narrowly avoided drowning when the ship he was on, the Rakuyo Maru, was hit by a torpedo. He drifted on the water for days and was one of the few survivors left when they were found and picked up by a US submarine. Corporal Farlow eventually arrived back in Australia in late 1944.

Private William 'George' Cannon

Private Cannon enlisted in 1939 and was drafted into the 2/1st Battalion AIF, 6th Division. He took part in the battalion's advance from Egypt into eastern Libya in January and February of 1941, before departing for Greece with his battalion. The battalion had to be evacuated to Crete under the onslaught of heavy German forces. He was briefly captured during the German invasion of Crete, but managed to escape back to Egypt with some other members of his unit. Private Cannon also served in New Guinea, sustaining a wound during a Japanese air raid. He was honourably discharged after four years of service after being repatriated following bouts of dengue fever and malaria.

Private Norman Charles Flack

Private Flack enlisted in the Australian Army on June 26, 1940, serving in the Ordnance Corp, 2/19th Battalion, 8th Division. He served in Singapore during its Malayan campaign. Private Flack was captured by the Japanese as a POW. As a prisoner, he was forced to ride on Burma's Death Railway, where prisoners were fed the meat of those who had perished, believing they were eating horse meat. At one point, he watched a mate as he was flogged to death by a guard due to a minor misdemeanor. He was also forced to travel on the infamous Hell Ship from Saigon to Japan. Private Flack was down a mine, just 16km from Nagasaki when the second atomic bomb was dropped by the allies. He was eventually recovered from the Japanese in September of 1945 and arrived back in Sydney a month later.

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