Mistake corrected for fallen Booyal WW1 soldier

Gin Gin cenotaph
The Gin Gin War Memorial Cenotaph now records the correct spelling of Booyal soldier Frederick Stanley Salmoni.

Fallen First World War soldier, Lance Corporal Frederick Stanley Salmoni, has finally been given due recognition with the misspelling of his name on the Gin Gin Cenotaph corrected after almost 100 years.

A volunteer from the nearby township of Booyal, Frederick Salmoni enlisted as a member of the 15th Australian Infantry Battalion on 22 September 1914 and fell in battle on 26 April 1915 the day after landing at Gallipoli.

Unfortunately, his name was the subject of several spelling errors with no less than three interpretations on various honour rolls and memorials across the former Kolan Shire.

Divisional representative Cr Wayne Honor said it was an injustice that has finally been corrected.

“This has been one of those unfortunate oversights that has not been attended to in a timely manner,” Cr Honor said.

“Any soldier who falls in the service of their country should be afforded the respect and the dignity of having their name accurately recorded for posterity.

Cr Honor said two memorial items in the Booyal Hall carried different spellings while the Booyal School memorial board also reportedly has an incorrect spelling.

“It appears Mr Salmoni’s name has been recorded with spellings of Salamoni and Salmondi as well as the correct spelling,” he said.

“Council arranged for a local monumental mason to undertake the work which was financed through Council’s maintenance budget.”

Herb Oliver has a special interest in the case

Former Kolan Shire Clerk Herb Oliver has been a long-time advocate in seeking a correction to the spelling.

“Frederick Salmoni was a Booyal resident who took up land in the Goodnight area circa 1912,” he said.

“He came from Cardiff in Wales to Booyal and was one of the first volunteers to join the Australian Imperial Force and one of the first soldiers to land at Gallipoli on 25 April, 1915. Unfortunately, he also became the first from Booyal to be killed there at Shrapnel Valley on 26 April 1915.

“He received a Christian burial where he fell, however the site of his grave was lost during the fighting on the peninsula over the next eight months and his name is recorded on the Lone Pine Memorial at Gallipoli,” said Herb.

Deputy Mayor Cr Bill Trevor (left) and Herb Oliver with one of the memorial tablets in the Booyal Hall with the correct “Salmoni” spelling.

“His mother in England received a letter in July 1917 from the Army advising that her son Lance Corporal Frederick Salmoni had received such a burial with a Rev Robertson officiating.”

Mr Oliver said he had been Shire Clerk at Gin Gin for 24 years (1960-1984) and had organised and attended numerous local Anzac Day ceremonies during that period and had never noticed the error.

“I do have a special interest in the case of Frederick Salmoni as my father, Private George Oliver who enlisted in the First World War, was also from Booyal.”

Cr Honor said it was appropriate that the error involving Frederick Salmoni had been corrected in time for the Remembrance Day commemorations on Monday at 11am.

“This Remembrance Day will mark the cessation of First World War hostilities 101 years ago,” he said.

“It is a time for us to recall the sacrifices of men like Frederick Salmoni, their families and loved ones.

“While the mistaken spelling of Mr Salmoni’s name is regrettable it has again raised the importance of these days of remembrance and our obligation to observe them.”

The Gin Gin War Memorial Cenotaph was officially unveiled on Saturday, 6 November 1920 by Lieutenant-Colonel Christie. It was erected at a cost of 320 pounds with Brisbane monumental masons AL Petrie & Sons undertaking the work.

An inscription on the Gin Gin Cenotaph reads:

They rose responsive to their country’s call
They gave their best, their lives
Their all.