Carved in Stone - Incorrectly

Posted on 3 December 2019

The Bega War Memorial Gates form the entrance to a local Sports Ground. Large and imposing, the arch design is a replication of the Ypres (Menin Gates) Memorial in West Flanders, Belgium. Initially designed to commemorate those lost during the First World War, additional plaques have been added to commemorate subsequent conflicts.

Listed on the Bega War Memorial are the 352 names of those from the area who served during the First World War, including those who made the supreme sacrifice. The names of those who perished during the Great War can also be found on the Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour however one name set in stone on the Bega War Memorial has no record at the AWM. Ten lines down the first panel of names at Bega can be found the name of “Brindlecombe WE”. Unfortunately, names carved in stone are difficult to correct and so it is with the case of that name.

The person commemorated was actually William Brimblecombe, a young man originally from Devon, in England. William Brimblecombe arrived in Australia in 1912, having given his trade as ‘farm hand’. After arrival in Australia however he entered into a real estate venture with a partner. The venture was in Turramurra, Sydney, so how did William’s name come to be on the Bega War Memorial?

It seems that although he still had an interest in the real estate in Kissing Point Road, Turramurra, William moved south to the Bega district to pursue employment as a gardener at a local property. He was in the district when war broke out and in 1916 answered the call to arms. His enlistment papers are all marked as having been completed in Sydney, so William likely travelled back to Sydney to enlist. He was a well-known and liked character in Bega however and, as he was resident there at the time that he enlisted, his name, although spelled incorrectly, is duly recorded in stone on the Bega War Memorial.

Twenty-seven years old at the time of his death, Private William Brimblecombe met his fate on the 27th of September 1917. He died of wounds received in action in Belgium and his name, with correct spelling, is duly recorded under the 19th Australian Infantry Battalion on panel 68 of the First World War section of the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial. His name is also recorded on the Turramurra Memorial Gates in Sydney.



AWM website

NAA Item Number 3124166 -Brimblecombe. W

Remembering Bega Valley Servicemen of World War I - Battlefield and War Related Deaths - Author Pat Raymond: Bega Valley Genealogy Society