By Michael Doran
One hundred years after the battle that earned George Ingram the Victoria Cross, the first sod of earth was turned at the site of the Seville War Memorial.
In a moving commemoration, MP for Casey, Tony Smith spoke of George Ingram’s childhood in Seville, attending Seville State School and delivering mail for his father’s postal business.
“The war cast a dark cloud over the Ingram family” Tony Smith said. “Three sons enlisted to serve; Ronald, George and Alex but only George would return and this would haunt them all in the decades that followed.”
George returned home to Seville, having been awarded the Victoria Cross and the Military Medal, and was given a huge welcome in the Seville Public Hall.
He was presented with an 18-carat gold watch and chain, inscribed from the people of the district, by the local shire and made a life-member of the Lilydale RSL.
“George Ingram continued to be a regular visitor to Seville up until his passing in 1961 and looked upon this district as his spiritual home,” Tony Smith said.
“In 1956 he went to Alex’s grave in France and spread a jar of Seville soil over his brother’s resting place.”
“Here in the Shire of Yarra Ranges we are very proud of our connections to George Ingram and applaud the work done by the Seville Township Group and others to get a memorial created in his honour.”
“I know that once it is finished it will be a project that will impress everyone and be admired for generations to come,” Mr. Smith said.
Guiding the new memorial process is Anthony McAleer, Chair of the Seville War Memorial Committee, and he spoke of the actions that resulted in Ingram being awarded the VC.
“George Ingram was with the 24th Battalion as they entered the village of Montbrehain in France on 5 October, 1918, the last major action by the AIF in World War One,” he said.
“He was awarded the last VC of the war and is still the only VC recipient from the Yarra Valley.”
President of the Lilydale RSL, Don Parsons also spoke of the valour of George Ingram and the contribution made by the servicemen and women of the Yarra Valley.
Speaking of the sizeable crowd in attendance he said “To see this many people here is great, it’s the best turn up I’ve seen in a long time for an event like this.”
The project was entered in the recent Pick My Project program but was not successful in gaining funding. “It was very disappointing to find out we missed by just 40 votes,” said Anthony McAleer.
Tony Smith, Tony Stevenson of Yarra Ranges Council, Derry Aulich from Seville Township Group and memorial designer Wayne De Klijn turned the first sods where the memorial is to be erected to complete the ceremony.