More than a thousand people gathered under blue skies on Saturday for Remembrance Day services across West Gippsland.
The day commemorates the signing of the Armistice at the 11th hour of the 11 the month of and originally honoured those whose had died in World War I. It now remembers those who died in all wars. In Warragul hundreds of people gathered for the short service.
Wreaths were laid by community groups, individuals and school students.
Mayor Joe Gauci said it was the 99th anniversary of the date which stopped hostilities in World War I from 1914 to 1918.
He said it was a time to pay respects to more than 60,000 people who paid the ultimate sacrifice in that war.
“We acknowledge, appreciate and remember their service and the price they paid to make this country the great land that it is today. Cr Gauci said it also was a time to remember those that had paid the ultimate sacrifice in all wars since and peace keeping operations.
He said it was particularly important to remember the Anzac centenary that was being remembered and would continue until 2018.
The Ode was read by Warragul RSL president Noel Tucker. Julie Reilly played the last post and reveille and the St Paul’s Anglican Grammar School choir led the National Anthem.
Drouin’s Remembrance Day commemoration was once again well-attended, with several people lining the forecourt at Drouin’s Memorial Park.
Drouin RSL president Rod McNabb led the commemoration service, and while his opening address was punctuated by roaring motorcycles passing, he provided some moving reflections on conflicts past and present.
“Special thought must be given to those currently serving half a world away and in most difficult circumstances, they are doing very well,” he said.
Following prayer led by Mark Kelly, Mr McNabb reflected on the 99th anniversary since the armistice to end World War One, along with significant conflict that occurred 100 years ago including the Calvary charge on Beersheba, where 31 Australian lives were lost.
“There were three significant things, one, that there was no end in sight in France and Belgium,” he said. “Secondly, it was incredibly cold. “They had some of the coldest days in 20 years in France.
“There was a letter home to knit more socks, as rumba ration was used to cure chilblain.
“It said I would much rather use rum for the use intended.
“Thirdly, and most significant, was the lives lost.”
Mr McNabb also touched on other conflicts, including the 75th anniversary of action on the Kokoda trail.
He also touched on the significance of next year for the Drouin RSL.
“The year 1919 was special for Drouin, as we had our first honour board entry,” he said. “Mr Hamilton was president.” The commemoration began with a performance from Drouin Secondary College student Cassidy Dalziel.
Mr McNabb said it had come about following a late request from Drouin South Primary School to perform on Anzac Day.
He said local schools would now perform on both Anzac Day and Remembrance Day on a rotational basis as an extra measure to have young people involved.
Several members aid wreaths at the cenotaph, with the commemoration concluding with a minute of silence and flag raising.
Former World War II serviceman Arthur Erbs was part of a special tribute at the Trafalgar Remembrance day service on Saturday.
Mr Erbs family filled his absence at the RSL where he had given a lifetime of service before his death this year.
Trafalgar-Thorpdale RSL president Ray James said the branch had lost two servicemen this year with the deaths of Mr Erbs and Stanley Savige.
Mr James said Mr Erbs and the late Jack Cooper had been instrumental in reforming the RSL and the refurbishment project for the Trafalgar RSL rooms.
“Arthur Erbs and Jack Cooper are the reasons the RSL is here today.
“Their names are memoralised in this (honour) wall forever to show their love and commitment to the nation,” he said.
The Trafalgar-Thorpdale RSL conducted eight services in two days as part of its Remembrance day services.
Mr James said it was a day to recognise the end of hostilities.
“We do this so that each of the men on this cenotaph are remembered. On this day we recall those who gave their lives for Australia and mankind.
“The 11th of the 11th is set aside to remember the sacrifices made in wars and conflicts.
“This freedom we all enjoy is a legacy of those who fought and died for Australia,” he said.
Vice president Russell Mack read all the World War I and World War II servicemen listed on the cenotaph.
The Erbs family led the wreath laying followed by representatives from the RSL, Prisoners of War, Vietnam Veterans, Baw Baw Shire, Legatees, Trafalgar Lions Club and Trafalgar High School