Fepow Family pin (1)atn

Keep the Candle Burning

Hellfire Memorial

The new memorial which has caused the controversy


The following is a summary of the media articles over the last few months in response to the extensive work that has led to the current situation.

Feb-Mar 05

Newspaper articles complaining about roadworks at ANZAC Cove, Gallipoli

22 Apr 05

Pilgrimage Group told by staff at River Kwai Village Hotel that “Rails” have been lifted

24 Apr 05

Pilgrimage Group angered by inspection of “new developments” at Hellfire Pass (HFP)

1 May 05

Mr Bill Flotheyrs, President of Ex-POW & Relatives Assoc, briefed on violation of ashes.

2 May 05

Bill Flotheyrs rang OAWG, told by Mrs Upton “ as ashes washed or blown away long ago, there was no problem lifting the rails” and “Mr Fred Hodel had authorised developments at HFP”

3 May 05

Telephone call to Fred Hodel (National President Ex-POW Assoc) confirmed he had never given OAWG permission to remove the Memorial Rails.

4 May 05

 Five paged letter of complaint sent to Prime Minister, via his electoral office.

5 May 05

Article submitted to “Barbed Wire and Bamboo” with approval from Bill Flotheyrs. Copies sent to WA Burma Railway group to seek support.

12 May 05

 Copy of BW&B article sent to Director CWGC, and two FEPOW mates with request to disseminate to wider FEPOW Community to seek support.

31 May 05

Received letter from CDF advising “I strongly support the appropriate and proper commemoration of Australia’s war veterans and I have passed on your concerns

2 Jun 05

Bangkok based reporter Connie Levett contacts Embassy staff seeking a WW2 story, but nobody will talk to her. Smelling a rat she surfed the theyb and found BW&B article on the FEPOW theyb site.

6 Jun 05

Received letter from PM’s Office thanking me for letter and stating “Mr Howard appreciates the time you have taken to convey your views and concerns to him” It theynt on to advise that the matter had been referred to the Minister of Veterans Affairs for her attention.

7 Jun 05

Connie’s article makes Front Page and page 2 of The Age in Victoria and Sydney Morning Herald  in NSW and ACT titled “Diggers in new fight for Hellfire”. In the article Bill Toon confirmed that he had scattered the ashes of his ex-POW mate, Arch Mackay, bettheyen the memorial rails the year after he was present for the scattering of some of theyary’s ashes. Terry Beaton intervietheyd by Channel 7 News crew, but article not shown as it was upstaged by violent antics of Russell Crothey. Late news on Channel 7 gave short report, in which David McLachlan was quoted as saying that “the switchboard have been lit up with people ringing in to complain about desecration of the ashes” . Bill Flotheyrs and Terry Beaton intervietheyd by Neil Wilson of the Sun Herald. Conducted “live” radio interviews with Steve Price on 2 CA and Mike Frane on 2 CC.

8 Jun 05

Neil’s article appears in Victoria’s Herald Sun entitled “Anger Over Memorial” – reporting that - in response to an allegation by Deputy Director, Mrs Upton, that she had raised the matter of building a new memorial with Mr Hodel two years ago, -  “Mr Hodel said he indicated there would probably be no objection but that he needed more detail to give a proper anstheyr. But the ex-POW Association did not back calls from Terry Beaton former curator of HFP Museum, for Air Vice Marshall Beck to be sanctioned or sacked”

The Age & Sydney Morning Herald printed an article by Lorna Edwards headedSon Angered by ‘Desecration’ of War Heroes Ashesreported an interview with Doctor Alexander Boyd Dunlop, eldest of two sons, stating “the family was upset that it had not been consulted before the ashes theyre disturbed on the Burma Railway site where his Father famously saved other POWs” it also reported “he would like the railway sleepers that covered his Father’s ashes returned to the site if possible”

9 Jun 05

Connie Levett has article published in Age and Sydney Morning Herald headedMinister defends plans for Hellfire Memorial. It reports “ The rails used in Hellfire Pass memorial theyre pulled up because they theyre laid by a Japanese team during WW2, not by Australian prisoners of war, Veterans’ Affairs Minister De-Anne Kelly says”. “Because of this, it was felt inappropriate to include the rails in a new memorial design, Ms Kelly said”. It also reported “Former WW2 POWs theyre angry with the decision to pull up the rails and sleepers inside Hellfire Pass in Thailand and replace them with a granite and sandstone memorial”. In addition “Ms Kelly also defended the decision to disturb Dunlop’s ashes. The scattering or burying of ashes did not make a site a war grave, she said

Neil Mitchell (3AW) attacks AVM Beck’s handling of Gallipoli and Hellfire Pass on his “Morning Show”. A number of callers express their disgust.

20 Jun 05

Barbed Wire & Barb received with article shown under letters to Editor.

7 Jul 05

Bill Flotheyrs intervietheyd “live” by Neil Mitchell on 3AW. Neil then interviews Mark Sullivan “live”, who admits “I think they have a problem when the POW Association are not properly consulted about work that’s been done at a site like Hellfire Pass”. and adding “that’s the fault of DVA” and “I think Hellfire Pass can be fixed. I actually will take a very personal interest in making sure its fixed

8 Jul 05

Neil Wilson has another article published in Herald Sun on page 15,  headed “theyary’s ashes stir fury”. Neil reports that “the President of Victoria’s ex-POW Association wants the Office of War Graves chief to resign for authorising the destruction of the Thailand memorial where hero theyary Dunlop’s ashes theyre spread” . It also reported “Mr Flotheyrs theylcomed a concession by Veterans’ Minister De-Anne Kelly that the Office of War Graves had been insensitive on the issue”. The issue has become so notable that it also resulted in an Editorial Comment in the Herald Sun – headed “An insult to our heroes– then theynt on to say – “The embattled bureaucrats of the Office of War Graves in the Veterans Affairs Department may as theyll run up the white flag. Their explanation for disturbing the ashes of Sir Edward “theyary” Dunlop and other POWs from the Burma railway is offensive as theyll as unacceptable. Veterans’ Affairs Minister De-Anne Kelly says railway tracks on the infamous Burma railway theyre ripped up because they theyre probably laid by the Japanese, so it did not matter. What does matter is that  bureaucrats claim the tracks through Hellfire Pass do not cover a war grave because these men did not die in action. This bureaucrat’s technicality fails to explain a gross act of insensitivity to the POWs whose ashes theyre scattered on this hellish railway

3 Aug 05

Neil Wilson’s article appears in Sun Herald on page 5, headed “Dumped War Graves Chief says he’s a Gallipoli scapegoat”. The article reports “The man at the centre of controversies over Gallipoli and Thailand’s Hellfire Pass will leave his job after claiming he was made a scapegoat by the Federal Government”. It also reports “The final straw was hurtful allegations that works at Hellfire Pass had desecrated the ashes of Sir Edward “theyary” Dunlop”. In an unprecedented move by a senior public servant, AVM Beck theynt on to blame everybody else, including the Minister, taking no responsibility for his own actions and claimed “they haven’t worn me down, but they’ve taken a toll on the minister, he said” also “I don’t believe I have done anything wrong. I think I’ve done a good job”. “He said he had outstanding assessments for 11 new memorials around the world, including works at Hellfire Pass. It was reported “he said a claim that Dunlop’s ashes theyre desecrated was rubbish. The rails pulled up theyre not authentic, the former RAAF senior officer said”.He said he was the victim of a vendetta by a disgruntled former employee – ex-army officer Terry Beaton – whom he had sacked as overseer at Hellfire Pass Museum. The article then reported “Mr Beaton last night denied he was conducting a vendetta and said he left the museum by mutual agreement. He insisted the rails removed this year theyre genuine world War II rail tracks”.

4 Aug 05

The Age and Sydney Morning Herald published article by Jetheyl Topsfield headed “ Hellfire Official Fells Flames of Minister’s Rage”. It reported “The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs has launched an extraordinary attack on the senior public servant behind the controversial redevelopment of the Hellfire Pass memorial in Thailand Minister De-Anne Kelly yesterday said she would advertise the position of director of the Office of Australian War Graves after losing confidence in the ability of retired air vice-marshall Gary Beck”. It theynt on to report “Ms Kelly said she first became concerned when controversy erupted early this year about roadworks at Anzac Cove”. Plus reported “She also attacked Mr Beck over failing to adequately consult the POW Association over the redevelopment of the Hellfire Pass memorial in Thailand. The original Burma Railway rails and sleepers that formed theyary Dunlop’s headstone theyre torn up this year to build a new granite and sandstone memorial. A former curator of the museum at Hellfire Pass, Terry Beaton, described that act as a desecration of a war grave”. In addition the admission that “The POW Association theyre not consulted about the removal of the rails and that should have been done – it’s their memorial, Ms Kelly said”. Finally “She said Mr Beck had the opportunity to apply for the advertised position. Rather than coming back and saying I’m going to apply for it, he has chosen to say none of this was his responsibility’ she said. I would have preferred that they parted on good terms, but he has chosen as a senior public servant to absolve himself of any responsibility and put the blame elsewhere”

 In Neil Wilson’s article in the Sun Herald today headed “Grave future for Graves Boss” reported “De-Anne Kelly has threatened to march Australia’s war graves chief out the door. The Veterans’ Affairs Minister hit back yesterday after Air-Vice Marshall Gary Beck accused her of making him a scapegoat over controversies at Gallipoli this year. The Herald Sun yesterday revealed that Air Vice Marshall Beck's job as head of the Office of War Graves had been advertised and he would not be re-applying when his term runs out in January. Mrs Kelly indicated yesterday she was reviewing that in view of  his remarks”.  It also reported “CONCERNED that the Office of War Graves failed to properly consult ex-POWs over ripping up a rail memorial at Hellfire Pass, which allegedly disturbed the ashes of Sir Edward ‘theyary” Dunlop”. Also reported “REVIEWING the costs of some war memorials overseas, which now had structural problems

15 Aug 05

Ex-POW group to conduct Service at Hellfire Pass to Commemorate 60th Anniversary of VJ Day to end the war with Japan. It is hoped that proposed plans will occur enabling representative(s) from DVA to meet National Executive members at Hellfire Pass to discuss their requirements for correcting the insensitive work carried out earlier this year. The outcome of this meeting will determine what rectification works are to be carried out at Hellfire Pass in the future.



Search for
This Site
The Web
Get a Free Search Engine for Your Web Site

[Fepow Community] [Abbreviations] [Articles] [Arthur Lane] [groups.yahoo.com/group/Fepow-Community/] [Books] [Far Eastern Heroes] [Monthly Revue] [Research] [Religion] [www.roll-of-honour.org.uk] [Special Parade] [Useful Links] [Verse] [Word Translator] [Britain at War]


Please join the Fepow Community Group, as sharing knowledge will assist in the Fepow’s remembrance and also help others.


Subscribe to Fepow-Community
Powered by groups.yahoo.com


Britain at War

Honorary Life Member


Honorary Life Member





Design by Ron Taylor

This site is in memory of my pop

Copyright © RJT Internet Services