Region remembers sacrifices of conflict
People across the region paid tribute to those who served or are serving in conflicts on Remembrance Day last Friday, at ceremonies in Karratha and the shires of Ashburton and Exmouth.
The Karratha and Districts RSL annual ceremony was attended by about 100 people, including defence force veterans, members of the Pilbara Regiment, representatives from emergency services and industry, City of Karratha staff and large numbers of local primary school students.
Pilbara Regiment Commanding Officer Stuart Purves gave a speech focusing on the region’s contribution to the Australian Defence Force.
He said among the 32,000 West Australians who had served in World War I was a significant number of Pilbara residents, including Roebourne mechanic Lance Corporal Edward Hudson and Port Hedland watchmaker Private Albert Clarke.
Both men served on the Western Front and survived to return home in 1919.
“Lance Corporal Hudson and Private Clarke are just two examples of the level of sacrifice that ordinary people are willing to make in times of need,” he said.
“The people of the Pilbara have a rich history of service in the military, from the Boer War through to current times, in peace-keeping operations and in conflict.”
“The Pilbara community continues to serve today, both (as) individual members in the ADF across Australia and overseas, and also right here in the Pilbara, providing border security capability through part-time service in the Pilbara Regiment.”
Karratha RSL president Julie Pope said she was pleased with the number of people, especially young people, who had attended the service, showing the Remembrance Day message was still being heeded.
“When you come from a regional area like (Karratha), where we’re not traditionally known for our big service or military history, it is so fantastic to see so many people involved,” she said.
Karratha RSL vice-president Jon Smith said their ceremony had special significance given it was also the local RSL’s centenary, having been established in 1916 to support service people returning from WWI.
In Ashburton, the main Remembrance Day service was held at Tom Price Senior High School.
In attendance were school P and C representatives, the Pilbara Regiment, Tom Price’s fire and rescue service, bushfire brigade and police station, St John Ambulance, the Nintirri Centre, Rio Tinto, and the Shire of Ashburton.
The Tom Price Cadet Corps led the service, dressed in their formal uniforms,and marched in to The Battle of the Somme played by bagpiper Ian Ireland. Pilbara Regiment Warrant Officer 2 Cameron Wagstaff was the guest speaker.
Tom Price SHS principal Ray McMillan said the school was proud to hold a community-wide service for Remembrance Day.
“We welcome special guests and members of the public to ... the Remembrance service at Tom Price SHS as this is a way to come together as a community to commemorate such an important event,” he said. “The ceremony allows us all to reflect on the sacrifices made and the roles played by our armed services past and present, which allow us to enjoy our lifestyle in Australia.”
Pannawonica Primary School also held a service.
In Exmouth, about 80 people attended a ceremony at the Cenotaph in Maidstone Crescent.
The Australian, New Zealand and US national anthems were played and all three flags raised to recognise the combined Allied efforts in many wars and Exmouth’s strong ties to the US.
Exmouth RSL representative Max Thomas led the service, which also featured addresses by Pilbara Regiment Warrant Officer 2 Troy Hutchinson and Anglican Church of Exmouth Reverend Frank Nicol.
Representatives of the Pilbara Regiment, Exmouth District High School, the Harold E. Holt Naval Communication Station, Shire of Exmouth, DFES, the RSL, Truscott Memorial Club were among those who laid wreaths.
Tom Price Remembrance Day ceremony guest speaker Pilbara Regiment Warrant Officer 2 Cameron Wagstaff. Pictures: Tom Price Senior High School,
Pilbara Regiment Warrant Officer 2 Troy Hutchinson lays a wreath at the Exmouth Remembrance Day service.
Pilbara Regiment officers march past the Karratha Primary School choir at the Karratha Remembrance Day service.
The Tom Price SHS Cadets led the Tom Price Remembrance Day ceremony.