Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Leading Charge for Digger

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Leading Charge for Digger

Article excerpt

Byline: Rodney Stevens rodney.stevens@northernstar.com.au

THE memory of the first soldier ashore in the battle at Gallipoli will be immortalised at Goolmangar with a plaque to honour local hero Sergeant Joseph Stratford.

Almost a century has passed since British Empire forces landed at Anzac Cove on April 25, 1915, and debate still rages over whether Sgt Stratford or Maryborough man Duncan Campbell was the first to set foot on the sand.

Joseph Stratford was born near Lismore at Coffee Camp in 1883, and lived on the Northern Rivers before moving to Queensland and enlisting in the 31st battalion.

Soldiers who survived the landing told stories about how it was thought to have been Sgt Stratford who, with a bayonet fixed to an unloaded rifle, led the charge up the beach to overcome an enemy machine-gun post.

Sgt Stratford was killed by enemy fire and his body never recovered.

Lismore RSL sub-branch member and Goolmangar resident Colin Smith said the Goolmangar School of Arts hall had a dedicated memorial garden to local soldiers where Sgt Stratford would be honoured. …

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