Parents urged to name babies after Australian veterans in new pitch to honour fallen soldiers
School playgrounds may one day be crowded with Herbs, Berts, Clarries and Regs, with a new pitch to name newborns after Australia's veterans.
Young parents have been told naming their children after Anzac soldiers could be a good way to create a personal connection for the next generation and honour the country's veterans.
South Australian Minister for Veterans Affairs Martin Hamilton-Smith championed the idea as part of the World War One centenary.
He said that parents should think about giving their children a first or middle name of an ancestor who served.
"It's a way to get the discussion about what Anzac means into the family lounge room and into the family dinner table, where people can make it relevant and alive for them," he said.
"I'd just say to young mums and dads having babies, have a think about it.
"It would be a great way not only to remember their ancestor, but also to bring the story alive for their children."
Mr Hamilton-Smith wrote to his federal counterpart and hoped to make it a national campaign over the next four years.
"Today's Remembrance Day; it's 100 years since the beginning of the war. In four year's time we'll celebrate the end of the war," he said.
"It would be great timing."
He encouraged those without an ancestor to go to a War Memorial and pick a soldier to commemorate.
Mr Hamilton-Smith said girls could also be part of the campaign, named after nurses who served or women who stayed behind.
"The mothers and the wives are part of the Anzac story," he said.
"The mothers and wives who welcomed home these boys at a time when we didn't understand post traumatic stress disorder.
"Those mothers and wives nursed those boys - almost as many who were killed on the western front died within 10 years of the war after returning."
The former SAS soldier turned politician said the idea for the living memorial came from his own parents.
"My parents gave me the middle name of my paternal grandfather who was shot and wounded on the western front and my maternal grandfather who was a Rat of Tobruk in World War II" Mr Hamilton-Smith said.
He and his wife then gave their son Thomas the middle name Theodore, after his great uncle who was killed in France.
"It's a great joy to be able to put the photograph of his great uncle Theo in front of him and read the last letter home and pass on the stories that were given to me by my grandmother," he said.
Australia's RSL national secretary John King said he thought it was a good idea, and hoped that the children agreed.
"I guess there's two ways to look at it, some people as they grow up would feel that an honour, in other situations they may feel it [to] be a burden," he said.
"One of my wife's great uncles was killed in the Great War and one of his nephews was named completely after that particular uncle.
"But it didn't seem to worry him so much."
Mr Hamilton-Smith said it was important to keep the stories alive.
"It's a way for young kids in particular to grow up remembering," he said.
"We said we'd never forget - what better way to make sure that we don't forget."