A Family Dedication

Private Max Gordon HUDSON SX 17807

A Family Dedication

Ned Young

The year 2020 has so far been anything but ordinary. Coronavirus precautions continue to have an increasing effect on our daily lives, preventing us from doing the things we take for granted, like going to work, watching the Crows play or catching up with friends.

Unfortunately, ANZAC Day commemorations have also been impacted by the Coronavirus. This year, there can be no Dawn Services, Vigils or ANZAC Day march: no ANZAC Round football matches. Their cancellation does not, however, mean that the commemoration of our Australian servicemen and women, past and present, has to stop as well. If anything, being confined to our homes this ANZAC Day provides the opportunity for deeper reflection with our families.

Many of us have our own Anzac heroes, who we remember especially fondly as we silently stand for the Last Post. I never met my Great Grandfather Max. He died in 1997, a year before I was born. I heard a lot about the person Max was through my Grandma and my Dad. As we drove past 7 Dutton Terrace (Medindie) on our way to school, Dad never failed to point out that this was Max’s old house, where my Grandma had lived until she was 12.

Over Christmas of last year, I was explaining to my family what I do at work and how the Virtual War Memorial functions. Naturally, they inquired about Max’s profile, which I regretfully discovered was virtually blank. Together, my Dad, Grandma and Great Aunt Pauline began to recall some details of their Pop’s service. Pauline even mentioned that she had copies of photographs and letters Max had sent back to his own father and wife during his time in New Guinea.

I received copies of these photographs and letters a few weeks ago. It was a truly special experience to read the words my Great Grandfather had penned as he sat on a beach in New Guinea almost 80 years ago. He wanted nothing more than to make his family proud. Although I could never do justice to his bravery, or the sacrifice of the countless number of soldiers who have served for Australia, I too wanted to capture my family’s pride this ANZAC Day.

I began to research the service history of Great Grandpa Hudson, and my family helped where the Internet couldn’t. Pauline assisted in transcribing Max’s letters, and my Grandpa trawled through old albums to add to the collection of photographs I had already been sent. I searched for online newspaper articles and Dad scanned service records and birth certificates. I must have called my Grandma 50 times as she helped me fill in the gaps of Max’s story, from his football career to his community service.

As a family, we complied enough information for me to produce a detailed profile of not only Max’s service in the AIF, but also who he was as a person and the legacy he left behind. When we were finished, and I had uploaded all the information we had collated, my Grandma and I left a dedication to Max as a final reminder that now, his memory can live on forever. I am sure there is plenty more information about Max I have not yet discovered, and over time, I can continue to honour his memory and add to his profile.


Max Gordon Hudson is my hero. Over the next few weeks, as ANZAC Day draws closer, I encourage you all to take a moment to remember your own hero. For those of you who do not have a family member to honour you could ‘adopt’ a digger – because everyone who has risked their life for Australia is a hero in his or her own right, and deserves to have their story told.

Now is a better time than ever to preserve those old photographs and transcribe the letters and diaries. Upload the records of your own family members and jot down the stories about them that you remember. Search the internet – you will be surprised what you might find. If you need any guidance in doing so, refer to our Help page. Lastly, consider making a dedication – a very personal message to your family hero.

Even in a time where we cannot physically see our beloved family and friends, technology means we are never too far away. The Virtual War Memorial Australia is the perfect way for you and your family to make a significant contribution to ANZAC Day this year.

Max’s children Pauline, Dick and Christine (my Great Aunt, Great Uncle and my Grandma)

Max and his wife Gertrude with their grandchildren Frank, Georgina and Anna (my Dad and my Aunts)