Catholic Gallipoli hero gets a new grave

Catholic army chaplain Msgr Tony Toms will today preside at the consecration of a grave for a New Zealand-born devout Catholic ANZAC army officer who has laid in an unmarked grave in Melbourne for more than 50 years.

According to Online Catholics, Captain Edward Renata Mugunga "Tip" Broughton was originally a boy soldier in the Boer War and later fought with a Maori battalion at Gallipoli.

After settling in Australia, Broughton later commanded refugees from Nazi tyranny in one of nearly 40 employment (or labour) companies that contributed to the Allied victory in World War II.

The ceremony which will take place at Fawkner cemetery has been organised by the RSL, which spent close to $5500 on a gravestone after Kokoda veteran, Keith Hooper, persuaded RSL state president Major-General David McLachlan to visit the grave site, today's The Age report adds.

Major-General McLachlan said recently that he had found the grave in "a pretty sad state".

The RSL agreed to take on the project more than a year after it was first approached by Hooper, who unsuccessfully lobbied the New Zealand Government for a proper veteran's grave with a white headstone, and says that in this regard "my campaign aborted".

However, he's delighted the RSL will ensure that "this man has finally got a decent grave".

After moving to Australia in the 1920s, Broughton joined the Australian Military Forces, and commanded a company of German-Jewish refugees, transported from Britain on the SS Dunera in 1940 after being mistakenly regarded as enemies when Britain feared invasion.

They later honoured him by commissioning two bronze busts, one of which is at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, and placed a brass plaque at the grave site years after he died in 1955, aged 70.

Broughton's father was an English or Scottish farmer with a holding near Hastings. He was descended on his mother's side from one of the chiefs who had signed the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840.

He quit the Wanganui Collegiate School and, falsifying his age, fought with the New Zealand Rifles in the Boer War.

He returned to farming briefly and later became private secretary to the chief judge of the Native Land Court in Wellington.

Broughton died after a heart attack on 9 May 1955, after swimming with winter club the Brighton Icebergers and a requiem mass was held at the Church of Our Lady of Carmel in Middle Park on Melbourne's southern fringes.

Belated recognition (Online Catholics, 13/9/06
Honouring an unknown soldier (The Age, 18/9/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Australian Catholic Defence Diocese

18 Sep 2006