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Tragic news before Christmas

To lose one son to war is tragedy enough, but to lose two is an unspeakable torture.

This was the agony the parents of Lance Corporal Vivian Macklan and Private Edgar Macklan had to experience during World War Two. Only a few weeks before Christmas in 1945 they received the news no parent wants to hear.

Five years previously, the brothers were two of 15 local lads in Benalla who had signed up to serve their country. An article in the local newspaper, the Benalla Ensign, described a small farewell gathering of all the young men. It said they all had a 'happy time'.

Vivian Macklan. Courtesy NAA

Sadly, that happy time would have been their last on home soil. The brothers never made it back to the country they so keenly signed up to defend. Viv had been married to Eileen (nee Ginnivan) and they had one son, Ian. He was also one of Benalla's outstanding cricketers and employed as a hairdresser.

Both were actively associated with the Footballers' Cricket Club, and were extremely popular with a large circle of friends. They became prisoners of the Japanese, along with another brother, Albert, at the fall of Singapore.

Edgar Macklan. Courtesy NAA

Albert would eventually make it home at the end of the war. Vivian was still missing presumed dead. He is remembered at the Ambon Memorial. Edgar's body was found among those of the AIF who had been executed by the Japanese in 1942 and buried at Laha, Amboina. He was exhumed and reburied at Galala War Cemetery, Ambon, Indonesia.


On a happier note...I would like to wish all our readers, subscribers, followers and fellow taphophiles a very Merry Christmas with all the joy and peace the season of our saviour's birth brings.

Tales from the Grave will be on holidays until our next post which will be on 9th January, 2024.


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