Lest we forget: Greig Campbell, Suzanne Evans and Peter Evans in Villers-Bretonneux, France. The Evans previously visited the town in 2016 and 2014.When Newcastle lawyer Peter Evans OAM watches the sun riseat Villers-Bretonneux’s dawn service, he will be paying tribute to his friend and esteemed former colleague,Harry Lambert Dixon Wheeler OBE.
Mr Evans knewformer mayor Mr Wheelerfor about 20 years but they never discussed his involvement in the war, although Mr Evans knew Mr Wheeler was involved in the welfare of returned servicemen.
Itwas only after Mr Evansresearchedthe late Mr Wheeler’s service that he found he was a Major in the 34th Battalion and had been seriously injureddefending Villers-Brettonneux on April 4, 1918.
He was twice mentioned by Sir Douglas Haig in despatches and later served in World War II.
“He was a great Australian and a great Novocastrian,” Mr Evans said.
“It is important for Australians to recognise the sacrifice and extraordinary feats of courage undertaken by our defence forces for our benefit.”
Mr Wheeler supervised Major Ian S McKenzie MBE in his training to qualify as a solicitor, who in turn supervised Mr Evans.
Mr Wheeler had served with Mr McKenzie’s brothers Bruce and Don in WW1.