Family’s holy grail found at last

THIS year’s Anzac Day will long be remembered by Lynette Rhodes. After years of searching, Mrs Rhodes, of Granton, was finally able to hold the memorial plaque made in tribute to her cousin, Matthew Clarke, who lost his life in World War I.

“I’ve been looking for this for years,” Mrs Rhodes said last fortnight after hearing of the New Norfolk and Derwent Valley News article about the New Norfolk RSL Club’s search for a relative of the fallen soldier.

The plaque, sometimes called a “Dead Man’s Penny,” had been sent to the club from Victoria with a request that it be reunited with soldier Clarke’s family if possible.

Born at Bushy Park in 1889, Matthew had been raised by an aunt following the death of his mother. Mrs Rhodes said all of Matthew’s immediate family was dead by 1900, except for his father who lived on the mainland.

On July 30, 1915, Matthew was killed in action at Gallipoli and buried at Anzac Cove. His memorial plaque was presented to his aunt but eventually found itself with distant relatives in Victoria. Earlier this year they sent the plaque to the New Norfolk RSL in the hope a closer relative could be found.

That turned out to be Mrs Rhodes, who has spent many years researching Matthew and the rest of their family. She attended Anzac Day at New Norfolk where she heard Matthew’s name read among the local list of the fallen, and afterwards she was presented with the plaque at the RSL Club.

Main photo: New Norfolk RSL vice president Brian Glover with Lynette and Tara Rhodes.

See more Derwent Valley and Central Highlands news online and read our print edition every second Friday.

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