Re­mem­brance Day cer­e­monies

North West Telegraph - - Front Page - Tay­lar Amonini

At 11am on November 11, 1918, Europe’s Western Front fell silent as the war to end all wars came to an end.

Mark­ing the 99th an­niver­sary of World War I, towns across the na­tion took one minute out of their day on Satur­day to re­mem­ber the sac­ri­fice and lives lost of those who fought in the bat­tle.

While the mer­cury tipped 37C, nearly 100 peo­ple gath­ered at Port Hed­land War Me­mo­rial in the West End for the mid­day ser­vice on Satur­day to re­mem­ber those who died or suf­fered.

RSL Port Hed­land pres­i­dent Val Mid­dle­ton opened the cer­e­mony be­fore Train­ing Ship Pil­bara cadet Cal­lum Tay­lor read the poem In Flan­ders Fields.

With Aus­tralian sol­diers en­gaged in con­flicts in the Mid­dle East, the 100th an­niver­sary of the Bat­tle of Beer­sheba and the Kokoda Trail, Mr Mid­dle­ton called on lis­ten­ers to re­mem­ber sol­diers not only from WWII but in past and present con­flicts and those af­fected by them.

This year also marked the first Re­mem­brance Day ser­vice Port Hed­land was with­out its only vet­eran, Merv Stan­ton, who died late last month.

“He served in the third Aus­tralian war group, and was then part of op­er­a­tional forces in Ja­pan,” Mr Mid­dle­ton said.

“Merv re­turned to Port Hed­land, mar­ried and spent the rest of his life in the Pil­bara.

“Merv was a great story teller, he was gen­er­ous and mate to all; a very proud Aus­tralian and proud to be a sol­dier.

“Although he may be gone, he will be re­mem­bered.”

Hed­land res­i­dent Frank Ed­wards at­tended the cer­e­mony on horse­back while hold­ing the flag of the 10th Light Horse Reg­i­ment, which was raised in WA in 1914.

He said it was a timely oc­ca­sion to re­mem­ber that 136,000 Aus­tralian horses, com­monly known as Walers, served in WWI, with only one horse, Sandy, mak­ing it back home.

Wreaths were laid by rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the RSL Port Hed­land sub-branch, TS Pil­bara Navy cadets, the Port Hed­land Sea­far­ers Cen­tre, the Town of Port Hed­land, Sorop­ti­mist International Port Hed­land, the Port Hed­land Port Au­thor­ity, Fortes­cue Met­als Group and BHP Bil­li­ton Iron Ore.

Mr Mid­dle­ton touched on the solem­nity of the oc­ca­sion as the ser­vice con­cluded.

“Thank you for at­tend­ing this Re­mem­brance Day ser­vice,” he said.

“We are not cel­e­brat­ing to­day — we are re­mem­ber­ing those who have fallen.”

Lo­cals, ser­vice­men and cadets fol­lowed the ser­vice with re­fresh­ments at An­zac House on Hed­ditch Street to trade sto­ries handed down the gen­er­a­tions.

Peo­ple were also in­vited to join the RSL and other loved ones of Merv Stan­ton — Hed­land’s last re­main­ing World War II vet­eran — to his fu­neral this week­end.

The ser­vice will start at 4pm at the Pioneer Ceme­tery in Port Hed­land fol­lowed by a cel­e­bra­tion of his life at An­zac House.

Arnold Carter with a flower wreath to re­mem­ber the fallen.

Mem­bers of Port Hed­land Pil­bara Reg­i­ment.

Pictures: Tay­lar Amonini

Neneth Dunn and Gail Vic­tor.

Jim Thomp­son and six-year-old Sum­mer Grove.

Mitchell War­ren and Tara Mell­berg.

Cal­lum Tay­lor, 14, reads the first poem.

Zoe, 7, and Skyler Mid­dle­ton, 8.

TS Navy Cadets in front of Port Hed­land War Me­mo­rial.

RSL Port Hed­land pres­i­dent Val Mid­dle­ton.

Mitchell War­ren and Tara Mell­berg.

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