Churchill remembers the ANZAC legend

ANZAC Day remembrance services
Despite inclement weather, ANZAC Day services went ahead in showers and drizzle across our area, with outstanding attendances.
Churchill
The Rotary Club of Hazelwood and District along with Morwell RSL and help from various others, arranged the Churchill service. Don George, Vietnam veteran and Morwell RSL vice president, was MC.
At the end of the First World War there were very few families that were not affected by the great War. Almost every family in Australia had lost a family member. Just over 8,700 Australians died on Gallipoli or elsewhere from their wounds received at Gallipoli. At the end of WW1 a total of 324,000 Australians had served overseas, 61,829 were dead and a further 157,156 wounded, gassed, or taken prisoner. We are here today to honour those that paid the supreme sacrifice in all wars, those that have served and those that are still serving.
We are honoured to have with us a representative of the Australian Light Horse, Maddy and her horse Sheyne. 136,000 whaler horses were sent overseas for service during WW1 and only one horse came home. As the Centenary of WW1 progresses we look towards the anniversaries of 1917 during which we saw the Australian Light Horse in Palestine carry out many great feats. But it was on October 31 at a place called Beersheba that the Australian Light Horse rode into the history books, Beersheba needed to be captured before dark with its’ fresh water wells intact.
The battle of Beersheba took place as part of the wider British offensive. The final phase of this all day battle was the famous mounted charge of the 4th Light Horse Brigade. Commencing at dusk, members of the brigade stormed through the Turkish defences and seized the strategic town of Beersheba with the wells intact. It was the last successful horse charge against machine guns and modern artillery. It was a proud day for the Australian light horsemen. One of the youngest light horseman to die of wounds at Beersheba was Trooper Harold Wickham, claiming to be 21 years old but was actually only 16.

There was fierce fighting on the Western Front with the ANZACS landing in France - the battle of the Somme, the battle of Fromelles, the battle of Poziers and the battle for Mouquet Farm. The Australians sustained 23,000 casualties. More than 76,000 Australians became casualties on the Western Front in 1917. No year in Australia’s history had been more costly. And so today we gather to commemorate the 102nd Anniversary of that day, April 25, 1915, and the 102nd Anniversary of the major battles of the Western Front.
We must also remember those men and women who served and who are still serving our nation in conflicts to this present day.
The wreath laying followed and representatives of many groups in Churchill laid a wreath in respect for the fallen.
Indigenous guests Doris Paton and Christine Johnson spoke about their Aboriginal forebears and their part in the war with the following words:
“On ANZAC Day, we remember and honour the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who served in all major conflicts from the Boer War to Afghanistan .
Over 1000 men served in World War1, and hundreds served in the 2nd AIF; many were wounded; some died in action and some were buried with their mates. Others made it home.
Like many young men at the time, they enlisted out of a sense of duty.
In the trenches mateship knew no colour divide. It didn’t matter what colour you were. A bullet was a bullet, a mate was a mate and an enemy an enemy. What was important was the courage and loyalty of the diggers by your side.
In wartime service they received equal treatment and pay.
They enlisted at a time in Australia when they weren’t allowed to vote, or weren’t counted in the census. When they returned to civilian life, they assumed their sacrifice would end the discrimination that was entrenched in a segregated Australia before the war - it didn’t.
There are many untold stories about individuals and their contributions.
This year Australia will commemorate the 100th year of those who served at Beersheba where our great grandfather, Private David Mullett served in The Lighthorse Brigade in the 2nd Remount Unit. Many men enlisted from Lake Tyers Aboriginal Mission in Gippsland. One of them Harry Thorpe was decorated with a Distinguished Conduct Medal; his medal citation reads; “During the attack south of Villiers –Bretonneux on the night of 17/18 July 1918, this soldier displayed great coolness and exceptional bravery under very heavy artillery. In company with Private Homan, he succeeded in carrying messages back under intense artillery and machine gun fire in the face of what seemed certain death. By his actions, much needed assistance was secured, and the position held.
We will remember them. Lest we forget.”
Russell Northe MP and Darrell White, Latrobe City Councillor, were invited to introduce the student leaders who spoke with thoughtfulness and respect about what ANZAC meant to them.
Cain Orangi and Ally McGowan spoke for Kurnai Junior Campus.
Cain began: “ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. On April 25, 1915, Australia and New Zealand became allies and joined forces in the First World War.
This became the name ANZAC and they took great pride in the name and that still continues to this day.
Australian and New Zealand men made so many sacrifices and they are the reason we are at peace today and can look forward into the future. Without these sacrifices, who knows what the outcomes could have been. I am extremely thankful that these men sacrificed their lives for us.
The red poppy that I am wearing is a symbol of war remembrance following the war.
They are worn to remember those who died in the war.
When we stand for one minute of silence, and everyone bows their heads, I close my eyes and picture the war; how men were scared, nervous and how they don't want to die. When I see that in my head I just wonder what I would do if I was in their shoes; how I would cope going to war. That is when I realise how lucky I am and how precious life is, because you never know what tomorrow holds. At the age of eight, I didn't have a clue what ANZAC Day was, and now I have a better understanding what it is, due to learning. I for one would just like to say thank you to those men who fought in the war.”
Ally began: “Today, April 25, represents the landing at ANZAC Cove in 1915 and the sacrifice of all who have come
after the ANZACS to protect Australia and its values.

The landing at ANZAC Cove saw many casualties; young men killed and wounded; families left without husbands, fathers, sons and brothers. Families just like yours and mine, left to pick up the pieces. Many men were also wounded and scarred for the entirety of their lives.
As a young Australian, and many like me, we see death in many forms: TV, video games, newspapers, movies. For us we see it as a distant truth, in some country millions of miles away. It is foreign to us and it is hard to realise the reality of the conflict our ANZACS faced.
For me, today serves as a reminder that what we have today should not be taken for granted. It pains me to think that young Australians, the same age as me, had to put everything on hold, families, schooling, friends, and their own lives, to fight for the values and beliefs that we hold close to our hearts today.
In war, these young Australians would have experienced constant anxiety, fear, and hope for a better day than the last. They were in foreign countries with different languages and people. For a belief, a value, that keeps us Australians. I could not relate to that at all, the fear and agony they must have gone through to protect our future Australians from the horror they faced.
As a young Australian, most of my life is simple, go to school, go home, eat, sleep, while an Australian at ANZAC Cove would have been deprived of most of these things.
Today as we are reminded of the sacrifice that was made, I hope we all can reflect what it means to be Australian - mateship, and a never give up attitude that has seen Australia unite time and time again when faced with adversity, the belief of Australia, for Aussie spirit and the things that make us Australian, our freedom, anthem, our flag; everything we have.
So I ask all of you that the next time you watch our country on TV or when you buy Vegemite, walk in your local park or go to the movies, vote, protest an issue that is important to you or simply speak your mind, that it is not only on this day, but all days we remember the ANZACS.
For if the ANZACS had never put their lives on the line, gone to a foreign country and fought for Australia, our right, our freedom our values, Australia would not be the country it is today.”
Churchill North Primary School student leaders Joel, William Tyler and Lizzy shared their thoughts:
“We would like to remember all the strong-willed, selfless soldiers who fought for us. If it wasn't for our soldiers we may have not been here or even had a country as free as ours. These soldiers were very courageous and very brave. Our soldiers not only gave their lives for us but fought for our neighbour New Zealand. Through all this blood, sweat and tears from our soldiers, they never gave up.
To me ANZAC Day reminds me about my family members who still serve with the ANZACS today. ANZAC Day also reminds me about all the soldiers who fought for our country all around the world. It is an honour that the soldiers fought for us. May we all remember them. We wish to acknowledge your courage and bravery that you have brought to our country.
We are thankful for not just the soldiers on the field but we are thankful for the medics who helped the wounded. But mostly we would like to pay respects to all the men and women for their courage.
ANZAC Day means to honour the soldiers who fought for Australia to give us peace and freedom. If they didn't fight for us we would be going to prison for speaking our minds. The soldiers didn't fight for themselves but for our future.
Lest we forget.”
Churchill Primary School student leaders Blake Billing and Savannah Lehrner delivered these words:
“ANZAC Day is recognised as one of the most important days of the year.
ANZAC Day is not only a time to remember those who landed on the beaches at Gallipoli at dawn on April 25, 1915, but it is a time to reflect on all those affected by war and conflict over the years.
The initials stand for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps and in 1915, those men, together with British, Indian and French soldiers were sent to fight in that part of Turkey known as Gallipoli. The initials became the word ANZAC - which today is respected in both Australia and New Zealand.
It is important to understand the amazing courage our Australian soldiers showed. They helped their allies and sacrificed their safe life in Australia for all of us.
ANZAC Day is a day to remember all men and women of the Australian Defence Force, regardless of the time they served.
ANZAC Day is a day to stop and reflect on why we continue to have freedom, which no one should be able to take away from us. Without the support of every single Australian soldier, this great freedom would not be ours.
It is important that our generation and many to follow realise the impact of ANZAC Day and see that the ANZAC spirit lives on.
We are responsible for carrying on this tradition. We owe it to the ANZACS. We will remember them.”
Lumen Christi Primary School student Leader Charlotte, concluded the speeches with these words:
“Today is a special day. It is the day that the ANZACS risked their lives for Australia.
On this day over 100 years ago, the ANZACS landed at ANZAC Cove. When they saw their opponents on the cliffs they knew that their rivals had the upper hand, but they didn't give up and to me that represents Australia; to never give up.
60,000 Australian soldiers died during those four years of World War 1 with many more wounded. Some of the people who volunteered to be in the army weren't even the right age. Some men who fought were sixteen and they volunteered to fight. Those men were courageous and brave.
The soldiers, the nurses, messengers and all the people who went out into the battlefields, all knew what they were in for but they still went out and fought. For the soldiers who survived, just because they lived doesn't mean they were all right and there was nothing wrong with them. Some of them were paralysed and would carry memories of the war for the rest of their lives. To me that means that all people that went out to fight were strong and didn't give up.
Lest we forget.”
Prayers led by Reverend Brenda Burney were said next, followed by the Ode to the Fallen, Last Post, Silent Tribute and Reveille, with finally the singing of the National Anthems of New Zealand and Australia.
Thanks were given to Peter Gray of AMPWORKS for the public address system, St John's Ambulance for first aid coverage, the Australian Airforce Cadets 424 Squadron for the flag party and the Latrobe Valley Aero Club for the flyover; also members of the Hazelwood Rotary, Churchill school students and guest speakers for their speeches and Joseph Bonnici for playing the bugle. Don made special mention of the generosity of the folks of Churchill who supported the ANZAC Day badge sales, saying $7000 had been raised for the RSL's welfare program.
In conclusion Don thanked those people who provided the morning tea, inviting those present to partake in the lower section of the Town Hall.