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Photographs supplied by Kent Watson

The monument commemorates fifteen deceased sailors and soldiers, who werer former inmates of the United Services Home, and had fought in the wars of the Nineteenth Century. 

A plaque unveiled on the 27th October 1991 commemorates the centenary of the United Services Home.

The United Services Home was opened in Drysdale Victoria in 1891 as a welfare establishment for impoverished war veterans of the British Army and Navy. It catered for veterans who had fought in the Wars of the 19th century including the Crimean War.

The Crimean War (October 1853–February 1856) was fought between the Russian Empire on one side and an alliance of the French Empire, the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the Kingdom of Sardinia, and the Duchy of Nassau on the other. The war was part of a long-running contest between the major European powers for influence over territories of the declining Ottoman Empire. Most of the conflict took place on the Crimean Peninsula, but there were smaller campaigns in western Turkey, the Baltic Sea, the Pacific Ocean and the White Sea.

A quiet and interesting ceremony took place in the Drysdale cemetery yesterday afternoon, when a monument was unveiled in memory of soldiers and sailors who, on becoming too old to serve their country longer, passed the winter of their lives in comfort in the United Service Home, Drysdale, and finally were laid to rest in a little cemetery graveyard far from the scenes of their youthful activity.

The memorial is in the form of all octagonal monument, built of granite. The structure has more pretensions to solidity than artistic beauty, but nevertheless - it well serves the purpose, for which it was created. Upon the sides are placed slate slabs which do duty as a scroll of fame, for upon these are inscribed the names of the deceased veterans, the regiments in which they served and their ages at death. The monument was built from funds raised by the efforts of a few enthusiasts, and cost something like £65. A row of mounds at fixed intervals close at hand indicate the last resting places of the dead soldiers. The mounds appeared to have been trimmed up for the occasion, and at the head of each was a small wooden slab bearing the names of those whose remains lie beneath. The graves are so proper in appearance that they seem to give the idea of the dead military squad being in regular array on their last parade. 

The inscriptions on the monument and on the wooden slabs at the head of each grave read as follow:—Matthew Benson, 10th Regiment, died Nov. 28, 1892, aged 72; Hugh Patterson. 12th Regiment, died 10th June, 1893, aged 47; John Bowley, 58th Regiment, died 29th March, 1895, aged 81; Alfred Ragless, Royal Navy, died 12th June, 1896, aged 60; Joseph Lawrence, 3rd K. O. Hussars, died 21st June, 1890, aged 76; Robert Cameron, 4th Light Dragoons  and 10th Hussars, died 12th February, 1897, aged 88; John Conran, 62nd Regiment, died 26th May, 1897. aged 73; William Colthurst, 101st Regiment, died 29th August, 1897, aged 73; Edward Hicks, 17th Regiment, died 21st May, 1898, aged 90; James Donovan, 96th Regiment, died 3rd July, 1898, aged 54; Thomas O'Hara, 99th and 40th Regiments,,died Feb. 19th, 1899, aged 77 ; George Cornish, Royal Navy, died 8th Feb., 1900, aged 66; Luke Read, Royal Navy, died May 1st, 1900, aged 86.

The unveiling ceremony was performed by Colonel Ricardo, the State Commandant, who was accompanied by Major-General Downes, president of the Home.
Excerpt from Geelong Advertiser, 8 December 1905. 




Address:Oakden Road, Drysdale Cemetery, Drysdale, 3222
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -38.165198
Long: 144.575398
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Conflict


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Thursday 7th December, 1905
Front Inscription


Those Who Lie Here Fought For The Empire
In The Wars Of The Nineteenth Century,
The Crimea, Balaclava, The Charge Of The
Light Brigade, The Nile, And Other Wars.
Who Were Former Inmates Of The United
Services Home, Drysdale, Established 1891.
E.J. Fairnie C.B.E., J.P. Chairman
I.A. Stewart Esq.         W.H. Nicholas Esq.
Graves Reconstructed 1958. 

This Plaque Was Unveiled By
Brigadier A. Garland A.M. National President Of R.S.L.
To Commemorate The Centenary Of The United Services Home And The Refurbishing Of This Site Which Was Made Possible By
The Department Of Veterans` Affairs;
The Rural City Of Bellarine; 
Victorian Branch Of The R.S.L.
And Members Of No. 43 District Board.
C. O. Harry O.B.E. State Treasurer
Wm Jones                              E.R. Carroll 
Chairman        27.10.91         Secretary 27.10.91

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