Frogmore firefighter to receive recognition for ultimate sacrifice

A plaque hanging in Frogmore in honour of Robert Platt. Photo: Phillip Baer

A plaque hanging in Frogmore in honour of Robert Platt. Photo: Phillip Baer

A Frogmore volunteer firefighter, who died in the line of duty, is set to receive "long overdue" recognition for his sacrifice in the early 1930s.

Robert 'Bob' James Platt, Vice Captain of the Frogmore Volunteer Bushfire Brigade, was killed in 1932 while fighting a fire near the Cowra-Boorowa Road, now known as the Lachlan Valley Way.

Frogmore Rural Fire Service (RFS) Deputy Captain, Phillip Baer, discovered the story after researching the brigade's old minute books and meeting one of Mr Platt's descendants.

"I delved into Trove at the National Library and out came the story," he said.

"Other than for a brief mention in the minute book of 1932, nothing's ever been done to recognise this man's sacrifice and I just thought that was not appropriate."

According to the Burrowa News of Friday, March 4, 1932, "Boorowa residents were greatly shocked on Sunday evening last to hear the sad news that a well-known resident of the district, in the person of Mr Bob Platt, manager of Newhaven Park property, had been killed whilst assisting in checking the bushfire on the Breakfast Creek end of the district".

According to the report, Mr Platt died as a result of a falling tree branch while fighting the fire.

"The fatality sent a gloom over the district, and the men who were engaged in fighting the fire with Platt were greatly affected," the Burrowa News report said at the time.

After learning about Mr Platt's story, Mr Baer submitted a request to the RFS.

As a result, Mr Platt's name will now be immortalised on the National Emergency Services Memorial in Canberra on May 14.

A plaque in his honour was also unveiled earlier this year in Frogmore Hall.

"It's certainly a long overdue recognition for the family," Mr Baer said.

"It's a terrible thing to say but I think he's been forgotten by the brigade over the past 90 years.

"Now we have the plaque up in the hall that will make sure he's not forgotten again."

Mr Baer said Mr Platt's grandson is "absolutely ecstatic" about the honours.

"He did tell me that his father, the deceased's son, had greatly missed his father all of his life. He said he regularly spoke about the incident," Mr Baer said.

"In fact, his words to me were, "he never fully recovered" from it.

"I just had the view that, somebody's paid the supreme sacrifice trying to protect their community, it should be recognised and remembered."