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Memorial for local veteran

Tuesday, 5th December, 2017

Roy Inwood VC will be immortalised in Argent Street. Roy Inwood VC will be immortalised in Argent Street.

By Michael Murphy

A campaign to erect a life-size statue of a Great War hero in Argent Street is gaining momentum.

The Broken Hill branch of the RSL has submitted plans to City Council to place the tribute to Reginald Roy Inwood on the footpath in front of the RSL branch office.

Roy Inwood won the Victoria Cross for his exploits on the Western Front in 1917. He is the only local serviceman to have won the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy.

BH RSL president Des Kennedy has been campaigning for the statue for four years.

He is now working on a deadline to unveil it on Remembrance Day next year, the 100th anniversary of the end of the World War One, and he has invited the family of Inwood, who live in Adelaide, to attend.

Once City Council approves the development application, a Perth sculptor will be commissioned to make it. Inwood was five-foot-four, but the bronze sculpture will stand five-foot-nine once you take into account his boots, and the mounting.

It will be made from 95 percent copper, two inches thick and will weigh about 150 kilograms.

It is expected to cost more than $50,000 and will be fully funded by the local branch. 

“We believe the statue will also be great as a tourist attraction for our city, and it will be the only full size statue of an Australian Victoria Cross veteran in Australia,” Mr Kennedy said.

“One thousand, three hundred and fifty-eight VCs have been awarded, and we will have the only one standing in a main street.

“It will be great.”

The sculptor will make a cast of the heroic soldier’s image before pouring it. Inwood will be standing in a relaxed pose with one arm behind his back.

The BH RSL is also planning to pave the area around the statue with local veterans’ names inscribed on the pavers.

Most VCs are won for a single episode of gallantry, but Inwood’s was for three within as many days.

The year after the Broken Hill miner enlisted he took part in the landing at Gallipoli as a private in the 10th Battalion (SA) Australian International Force.

The survivors were called to the Western Front and in 1917, at the age of 27, Private Inwood found himself in the Battle of Menin Road.

On September 19 of that year in the attack on Polygon Wood, east of Ypres in Belgium, he single-handedly took a German strong-post, killed several enemy and captured nine of them.

That night he volunteered for an all-night patrol during which he went behind enemy lines and returned with valuable information about the enemy’s movements.

Two days later he and his comrades were under heavy fire from a machine gun post and the casualties were mounting.

Pte Inwood, again alone, attacked the post and bombed it with a grenade, killing all bar one of the machine gun team. He took the survivor prisoner.

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