Donnybrook Remembrance Day

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| By Pamela Harrison

Remembrance Day (formerly known as Armistice Day) is observed on 11 November in Commonwealth Nations and most countries, to remember those in the armed forces who died in all wars.

This year was the 99th anniversary of the end of the 1914-1918 war, and after four years of bloodshed and fighting, the guns fell silent and peace descended over Europe.

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month the treaty was signed, thus bringing to a close World War One. As thousands gathered in cities and country towns across our Nation, to remember those men and women who fought and died so far from home, many recalled what their relatives would have endured.

Despite the unexpected heat of the day, about 50 people gathered at the Donnybrook War Memorial, to pay tribute to, and remember.

The shade of the trees was a popular choice to stay cool, while a few braved standing in the heat.

Conditions that were insignificant compared to those who gave their lives in searing heat, bitter cold, torrential rains, mud, steamy jungles and freezing oceans, never to return to their loved ones.

Thousands of whom have no known graves.

David and Jeanette Hutchison both of whom had relatives in the First World War, were among those attending and remembering.

Jeanette said her Great-Uncle Walter Wilton Mincham enlisted in Donnybrook.

"He worked on the railways and was passing through when he enlisted. He died on August 8, 1915 at Lone Pine, and was only 23, "Jeanette said.

Walter is commemorated on Panel 55 of the Lone Pine Memorial Gallipoli.

David has a relative George Calder who at the age of 25, died on September 30 1917 at Polygon Wood in Belgium.

"He was one of five who were found during roadworks in September 2006, and was re-interred in the Buttes New British Cemetery, Polygon Wood, Zonnebeke, Ypres, Flanders, Belgium October 2007," said Jeanette.

A young man, who after 70 years is still young and now lying at rest in a known grave.

Jeanette said that Remembrance Day is simply that, a day to remember the sacrifices of men and women from all nationalities who have died during wartime.

"It's also a time to reflect on how fortunate we are that we live in Australia and what people gave for us to be free. It's very important that this is passed on to future generations," Jeanette said.

Donnybrook RSL Sub-Branch President Ric Evans, welcomed and thanked all those who attended the Service, and acknowledged the presence of Shire CEO Ben Rose, our new Shire President Brian Piesse and Councillor Dawn Tan and thanked them for coming and being part of the Service

Mr Evans spoke of the unbelievable sacrifices made by those brave men and women and of the soldiers who are today still dying in wars all over the world, protecting us from the threat of terrorism, so we may live in peace.

"Today we pause to reflect and remember those who fought and died in all wars and to thank them for the sacrifices they made," said Mr Evans.

Geoff Box then read The Ode.

At 11.00am the flag was raised, then lowered as the first note of the haunting sounds of The Last Post was played. A minute's silence was then observed.

As passing traffic continued on its journey, did anyone in those vehicles, suddenly realise the reason for the gathering at the Memorial and perhaps in their own way, remember the fallen?

At the conclusion of The Last Post the flag was once again returned to the masthead.

Les McGoldrick lay a wreath on behalf of the RSL at the Memorial and the National Anthem played.

A special part of Remembrance Day is always the red Poppy. The significance being from the First World War and the bright red Flanders poppies that grew in fields that previously had been beautiful countryside, but were devastated by bombing and destruction, and becoming a muddy and bleak landscape.

The resilience of this delicate flower, was proved when they again grew in thousands turning the countryside back into a carpet of red.

On Friday 10 November RSL members spent the day seated outside IGA, Poppies being the reason they were there.

As they greeted shoppers and people they knew, they thanked them for their generous support as each person donated in exchange for a Poppy. Businesses were also visited and the response as always was greatly appreciated as they too donated for a Poppy.

Thank you to all those businesses. Geoff Box, RSL Treasurer said they are always so appreciative of the support they get from the Community.

"We would also like to thank IGA Management for once again allowing us to use their premises for the Poppy Day. They are always so willing and helpful," said Geoff.

Although we have special designated days to commemorate and remember our fallen, we do not need to remember them on just those days, for it was because of those brave souls who gave their lives and were sacrificed so far from home, that we remain free and safe to this day.

Let us hope we stay that way and their dying was not in vain.

They shall grow not old, as we who are left grow old. Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, We will remember them.

| Picture 1: At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them. || Picture 2: Ric Evans (President), Geoff Box (Treasurer), John Kidd and Les McGoldrick at the Remembrance Day Service. ||| Picture 3: Geoff Box (Treasurer), with Jeanette and David Hutchison in the shade after the Remembrance Day Service.