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Yvonne Gillett and Warren Doust, respectfully laid a wreath in remembrance of their ancestor Willie Doust, who died at Fromelles during World War I. Image: Emma Pritchard.

Anzac spirit unites distant relatives at Lower Southgate

Emma Pritchard

As a small gathering came together at the Lower Southgate cenotaph to pay their respects on Anzac Day, for two people in attendance, the service was especially poignant.

Yvonne Gillett and Warren Doust are distant relatives who proudly stood side by side as they laid a wreath in honour of Willie Doust, a young man from Southgate who selflessly enlisted in his early 20’s and headed off to war in 1916, never to return. 

For almost a century, his body lay unidentified in a mass grave at Fromelles, buried by the German troops alongside more than 250 fellow Australian and English soldiers.  

His identify remained unknown until 2014, when DNA testing finally allowed him to reclaim his name and unite two people from both sides of his family.

United by their proud Anzac heritage, Mrs Gillett and Mr Doust, both residents of the Clarence Valley, said April 25 is an important day of remembrance, and they felt proud to represent their ancestor at the service on Sunday and honour his memory.

“It’s important we were there to commemorate him,” Mrs Gillett said.

More than 40 people attended the Lower Southgate Anzac Day Commemoration Service.

Geoff Lenz, President of the Ulmarra RSL Sub-Branch and Bob McFarlane, a proud patron, both spoke during the service with Mr McFarlane the official MC during the event.