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Family pass on treasured items to Museum

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Significant contribution to local War Museum, Neil Leckie Manager and Ret Major Bill Arkell accept the gifts from Helen Schultz (daughter of Edgar) and Joan Uebergang (widow).

THE Ballarat Ranger Military Museum has received a significant donation from the Uebergang family – an Australian Army battledress jacket worn by Edgar Uebergang when he represented Ballarat’s 8th Battalion in the Post-WW2 Victory Celebrations in London on 8th June 1946.

Museum manager Neil Leckie said this jacket is a significant piece of Ballarat’s military history.

“The representatives for the 8th Battalion in London in 1946 were local man Norm Strange, a Military Medal recipient who wrote a history of the Ballarat 8th Battalion, Edgar Uebergang, also a Military Medal recipient, and Frank Partridge who was awarded the Victoria Cross,” Mr Leckie said.

The London Victory Celebrations of 1946 were British Commonwealth, Empire and Allied victory celebrations held after the defeat of Nazi Germany and Japan in World War II.

The celebrations took place in London on 8 June 1946, and consisted mainly of a military parade through the city and a night time fireworks display.

The Australian contingent was headed by Major General Ken Eather, an officer with a distinguished record in the war. The contingent consisted of 250 servicemen and women, drawn from the three services.

Last week Edgar Uebergang’s widow, Joan, donated his jacket to the museum.

“I moved from home into the nursing home and we had all these bits and pieces and I remember when Edgar was down to dinners at different times at the old barracks and one of the young men had started a bit of a museum then and he asked for the uniform and I said ‘no, we will be keeping that’,” Mrs Uebergang explained.

“And when I packed up what do you do with all of these things? So I rang through to see if there was still a museum and spoke to Neil and decided that is what we would do – round it all up and see what he wanted and what he didn’t.” Mrs Uebergang added that Edgar’s medals are also at the museum, on loan, so that if any of the family wanted to wear them for an occasion they can borrow them.

There is also the original diary of the victory contingent, and a scrapbook which is full of photos and things Edgar brought back.

“It’s all in the book from when they left for the war with Frank Partridge and Norm Strange standing together and goes through to Malta and different places on the way home,” Mrs Uebergang said.

“He was very proud of the 8th Battalion, it was his great love.

“I think it all has to be preserved, people need to know, as Australians we need to know, what these men went through and what they did during the war – and please God may we never ever see war as close to home again.”