One of Werribee CFA’s founding members will be honoured this weekend for the role he played in World War I, where he lost his life.
The CFA will unveil a plaque on its brigade memorial wall for driver Peter Gardner, who was killed in action in France on November 9, 1917, aged 21.
Although he was born in Wagga Wagga in 1896, Mr Gardner, his parents and five siblings were living in Synnot Street, Werribee, when the war started.
The carpenter signed up as a foundation member of the Werribee CFA on January 1, 1915, and served as a volunteer firefighter for a year before enlisting.
He was assigned to the 7th Field Artillery Brigade, first as a gunner, then as a driver, arriving in Plymouth, England, in July, 1916. He was killed in action 16 months later.
His elder brother, William John Gardner, who had enlisted with the 4th Light Horse Regiment, died of wounds six months earlier in France on May 9, 1917.
Werribee CFA historian John Ryan first came across Mr Gardner’s story, and that of fellow volunteer firefighter Lance Corporal Vice Ralph Turner, when he was researching the branch’s history in the lead-up to its 100th anniversary. He has since gone to France and visited the men’s war graves.
A plaque for Mr Turner was added to the wall earlier this year, with a number of his descendants attending the service.
The CFA will unveil Mr Gardner’s plaque at the Werribee CFA branch this Sunday, November 12, at 2pm. All are welcome.