Tuesday, May 02, 2017
Kapooka Tragedy Memorial
Kapooka is an outer suburb of Wagga Wagga, New South Wales. Today it is home to Blamey Barracks, the training centre for Australian Army recruits. During World War 2 part of the Defence Force site was the Royal Australian Engineers Training Centre. On May 21, 1945, the worst accident in Australian military history happened here. 27 soldiers, most of them only 18 to 20 years old, were in a bunker being taught to prepare demolition charges. Something went horribly wrong and 26 of them were killed in an explosion. We visited the site on our last road trip and there is a simple, impressive memorial there. A rectangle of 26 trees and a series of explanatory signs surround the memorial site. Each tree has a small plaque at its base with the name, rank and age of a victim. A large rock has a memorial plaque on one side and on the other, rough, side the word UBIQUE. This is a Latin word meaning "everywhere", and is the motto of most Engineering Corps in British Commonwealth countries. Here is a larger image of the words on the plaque, I think they are sad, solemn and superb. We should never forget our history.