River's darkest hour to be remembered

TRIBUTE: The Cub Memorial at Memorial Park. PHOTO: ADAM HOURIGAN
TRIBUTE: The Cub Memorial at Memorial Park. PHOTO: ADAM HOURIGAN

To commemorate the tragedy, Grafton Scout Group will host a memorial service at Memorial Park and morning tea at the Grafton Scout Hall on December 15.

Organiser of the event, group leader Amenda Gilmore, said: "We would like people to contact us prior to the event with recollections".

"More information about the memorial will be available closer to the day. I would love to see the community supporting this event with their attendance on December 15," she said.

People always say that there is nothing worse than losing a child. As I write this article there is a lump in my throat and warm tears on my cheeks. I can't even begin to imagine how the people of Grafton, especially the families of the 13 boys who drowned in one of Grafton's darkest days, in December 1943, would have felt. No doubt this is also one of the worst tragedies in 100 years of scouting worldwide.

Locals would be familiar with the event.

Twenty-eight cub scouts enjoyed a beautiful day on Susan Island. On their return trip on a borrowed wooden punt, tragedy struck and the boys fell overboard.

Their leader, 17-year-old Charlie Penn, and his mates Rex Oxenford and Jimmy Doust were the only others on the punt.

Coroner T.H. Brooke concurred that the deaths were "a tragedy which seemed to be a combination of a number of circumstances".

I'm sure this would have been very little comfort for the families of Billy, Bobby, Brian, Bobby, Cec, Dale, Eddie, Graeme, John, Keith, Ray, Sono and Toby.

The weekend memorial and camping event will also be an opportunity for our scouts to build current skills and make new friends with visiting scouts.



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