My name is James Gray, I am 81 years of age and I am writing to The Courier in the hope that you will help correct a great injustice for prior Australian war veterans.

During the American Civil War, 1860 – 1865, a number of Australian citizens served with American Union military regiments and after living out their lives and dying in Australia as recognised war veterans, they were unceremoniously buried in unmarked gravesites.

I am working to acquire a “free” upright marble headstone, or a personalised bronze memorial plaque, from the American Veterans Administration for each of those forgotten veterans, and to make their descendants aware that they can all receive as many copies as they would like, of a “free” parchment “Presidential Certificates” signed by the President of the United States, bearing his gold seal, honouring their military service.

I need community help in locating any direct, or indirect, descendants of those veterans so that their graves can be marked and their lives remembered.

To date I have been able to accomplish that for 36 formerly forgotten Australian veterans.

If you could run a short article in The Courier (see below) alerting the family descendants of those veterans, that might put me in touch with them, it would be a great service to all Australian veterans and their families, and I would forever be in your debt.

I only need a single descendant’s request to accompany an application and documented confirmation of their military service to acquire a free headstone.

Mr Gray’s article:

“Any member of the Baker, Buckley, Crawley, D’Arcy, Downing, Duncan, Gibbons, Liscombe, Moore, Nelson, Onslow, Patterson, Richards, Ryan, Smith, Stearns, Symes or Zerbe families – your American Civil War veteran ancestor today may lie in an unmarked grave, even though they were a recognised Australian war veteran.

You can provide them with a free headstone or personalized bronze memorial plaque for their grave simply by contacting me. There is no obligation or expense of any kind on your part.

American Public Law guarantees that regardless of the date of death, the American Veterans Administration will furnish, at no charge to the applicant, a government headstone or marker for the unmarked grave of any eligible veteran in any cemetery around the world.”

Historical researcher and author James M. Gray has compiled the necessary documentation and applications to accomplish this and simply needs your acknowledgement for the application form.

Mr Gray can be reached by email at jamesmgray@bigpond.com or by telephone at 07 3801 3400.

James M Gray, member of the Australian chapter of the US-based Sons of Confederate Veterans, Brisbane.

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