Henri Hermene TovellPrint Page Print this page

February-1919 (Australian War Memorial : H13588)
February-1919 (Australian War Memorial : H13588)

Photographs supplied by David Brighton

The tombstone on the grave commemorates Henri Hermene Tovell. It was erected by public subscription and the original memorial was vandalised in the 1950s.  The grave was restored with a new headstone in June 2009. 

Henri Hemene Tovell was a young French orphan who was “adopted” by the men of No 4 Squadron Australian Flying Corps during their service in France in World War One. Henri was eventually “smuggled” to Australia where he was later formally adopted by Mr Tim Tovell (who had planned and conducted Henri’s journey to Australia). Tragically, Henri was killed in a motor cycle accident on the 24th May 1928 while returning to the Laverton Air Base.

Although not formally a member of the Air Force, he was accorded a military style funeral and the Australian Flying Corp erected a striking monument over his grave at the Fawkner Cemetery in Melbourne.

Memorial To Henri Tovell. To The Editor Of The Argus. 
Sir, I have been approached by members of the 4th Squadron Australian Flying Corps to request you to open a subscription to provide funds for the erection of a tombstone over the grave of the late Henri Tovell, who recently met his death in tragic circumstances. It is desired to have the stone suitably engraved in order that the memory of the circumstances under which he came to Australia may be perpetuated. The estimated sum required is £150. I enclose my cheque for £5 to open the subscription -Yours, &c , R. KING, Late Capt 4th AFC Chancery House, 485 Bourke street, June 5. [Cheque for £5 received]. We shall be glad to acknowledge subscriptions to this fund -Ed. "A." 
Argus (Melbourne),  7 June 1928.



Address:1187 Sydney Road, Fawkner Cemetery, Methodist Section D, Fawkner, 3060
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -37.713448
Long: 144.959993
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Grave
Monument Theme:People
Actual Event Start Date:24-May-1928
Actual Event End Date:24-May-1928


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:June 2009
Front Inscription

Henri Hermeme (Digger) Tovell

A French orphan of World War I smuggled to Australia & adopted by Air Mechanic T. W. Tovell 4 Squadron Australian Flying Corps

Succumbed to accident injuries
24 May 1928
Aged about 21 years

Who plucked this flower ?
The Master.
The Gardener held his peace. 

The original memorial erected by public subscription was vandalised during the 1950s. This memorial  was funded by the Royal Australian Air Force Association and the Department of Veterans` Affairs, June 2009

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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