Veterans George Gnezdiloff and Ian Lade with the photograph of them that will hang in the Proserpine RSL.
Veterans George Gnezdiloff and Ian Lade with the photograph of them that will hang in the Proserpine RSL. Monique Preston

War veterans honoured in powerful piece of remembrance

THREE Proserpine war veterans have been immortalised in a photo that will be unveiled at the Proserpine RSL on Saturday.

World War II veteran George Gnezdiloff and Vietnam veteran Ian Lade are two of the main subjects in the photo, while a picture of the now deceased World War I veteran William 'Billy' Sing has also been super-imposed onto the photograph.

Photographer Anne Smith from Brisk Bay near Bowen, initially produced the 2.3m photograph for the Landscape and Memory Exhibition in Toowoomba which, was part of the commemorations to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

As part of the exhibition, the photo had to reflect on the work of renowned WWI photographer Frank Hurley.

Mrs Smith's photo shows Mr Gnezdiloff and Mr Lade, along with Mr Lade's grandson Cody Laid, 3, and his dog sitting at the Proserpine wetlands looking off into the distance.

In front of them Mr Hurley's photograph 'Silent City of the Dead' is imposed, which shows Anzacs looking at the graves of fallen comrades in a cemetery in Belgium.

Behind the local group is Mr Sing, looking over their shoulders at the Anzac scene.

Mrs Smith said she wanted the photo to show the veterans from three wars looking to the cemetery in Europe, showing that while their comrades had fallen overseas, they were always remembered in Australia and were part of the Australian landscape.

Now the photograph will be on display permanently in Proserpine for all to see.

Mrs Smith said she donated the photograph to the RSL because she felt it should be displayed in Proserpine.

"I made the thing. But it's not about my life," she said.

"It's about George's journey and Ian's journey and Billy Sing's journey and Proserpine.

"I'd like it to stay here in Proserpine."

Mr Gnezdiloff and Mr Lade were pleased to have the photograph displayed in Proserpine from Saturday.

"It's very humbling to me," Mr Lade said.

"The whole photo symbolises what happened to George and myself."

Mr Lade was a national serviceman with the 6th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment NZ Anzac during the Vietnam War.

He served for two years in the Army, including just over 11 months in action in Vietnam.

Mr Gnezdiloff served in both the Army and Air Force during World War II.

A wireless operator in the Air Force, he was among 15 selected to take part in the Empire Training Scheme in Canada, before also training in England.

Mr Sing was part of the 5th Light Horse Regiment.

Finding himself in Gallipoli in May 1915, he was highly regarded for his skill as a sniper, killing more than 150 Turkish soldiers.

He also served in France and Belgium.

Mr Sing received numerous medals including a British Distinguished Conduct Medal and a Military Medal, and was mentioned in dispatches for his gallantry.

Mrs Smith's photograph will be officially launched at a ceremony at the Proserpine RSL in Chapman St at noon on Saturday. Everyone is invited to attend.


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