In 1981, Dutchman Gerry van der Ham came upon the War Memorial in Bridgetown, Western Australia.
Because of a chance encounter with one of the residents, he decided to make it his lifework to find the final resting places of the 46 men whose names are on the memorial statue. His quest took 25 years and was finished a week before Gerry died in 2006.
Gerry van der Ham is our dad and this is his story.
True to facts, although with Gerry, you never knew whether he added a pinch of salt to cook up a good story. Thus, we will never know for sure if Betty the emu guided him to Bridgetown. Neither will we know if our father ever was a soldier in the Great war and if so, who.
What we do know is that Gerry van der Ham treated his mission like a search for his lost brothers.
The patience, perseverance, audacity and love that he displayed shows what a special, big-hearted man our father was who called his work a token of honour to 46 men who gave their lives for our tomorrow.
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