Dedicated to community and veterans
Boyd Baker takes pride in his RSL role
AT 70 years old, Gayndah RSL sub-branch president Boyd Baker has lived long enough to see stages of tribute and commemoration for our soldiers and veterans alike.
Mr Baker was in the National Guard from 1966-67 and while he did not see action overseas, he still felt a kinship with and pride for those who did.
“It wasn’t actually until some time in the 1990s that the RSL allowed members beyond returned servicemen to join,” Mr Baker said.
“I think it was a case of the numbers of returned serviceman was dwindling and you had others who were ready to join and support.”
Mr Baker was and still is extremely proud to be a part of the RSL and has been the Gayndah sub-branch president for four years.
“It’s extremely fulfilling,” Mr Baker said. “Being able to conduct the ceremonies on Remembrance Day and Anzac Day is an honour for me.”
Each year in Gayndah, a new focus is put on the commemorations, mostly set around important dates and events that coincide with any given year.
This year it will be the Battle of Passchendaele, one of World War I’s most horrific battles.
“We put focus on something different each year as a commemoration and this year it will have been 100 years since the Battle of Passchendaele,” Mr Baker said.
This weekend’s Remembrance Day will also be the official unveiling of the new roll of honour board in Gayndah, which underwent upgrades recently.
“I think it looks great,” Mr Baker said.
On the footpath at the base of the roll of honour are circular plaques that have a few names on them. This path of honour was designed to honour all.
“Sadly, sometimes names get missed on the roll of honour,” Mr Baker said.
“So these plaques were originally to recognise those names that were missed.
“But also to honour soldiers who did not die in the war but came to Gayndah and lived out their lives here – we want to honour what they have done, too.” Mr Baker has seen many World War I and World War II veterans pass on through the years, clarifying the importance of commemorating their memory and sacrifices.
“I try my best not to use the word celebrate because it doesn’t quite fit with what we are remembering,” Mr Baker said.
“Commemorate is a more appropriate word.”
While Mr Baker does in some way fear for the long-term future of events like Remembrance Day, his faith is still restored on those special days.
“In the world we live in today, I do get a bit scared that this type of thing is going to fade away with time,” Mr Baker said.
“But then we get all the school students who come down on Remembrance Day or Anzac Day and that is great to see.
“While it can be hard for the kids to fully grasp what it is that happened, I think teaching them early on helps them in the future.”
Mr Baker said he didn’t expect a crowd this Saturday as big as on Anzac Day.
“Anzac Day is the recognised public holiday, so we do get more numbers,” Mr Baker said.
“But with that being said, I do encourage the community, schools and alike to mark the 11th hour minute of silence at 11am.”
❝ I do encourage the community, schools and alike to mark the 11th hour minute of silence at 11am.
COMMUNITY MAN: Gayndah RSL sub-branch president Boyd Baker is honoured to do the work he does within the community.