TIME TO RE­FLECT

Com­mu­nity pre­pares to mark An­zac Day 2016

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Lyn Burke and Rory Sheav­ils

POP­PIES fall­ing from the sky, light horse­men trot­ting through the soft sands of Air­lie Beach and thou­sands gath­er­ing for solemn ser­vices at dawn. Th­ese are just some of the el­e­ments syn­ony­mous with An­zac Day in the Whit­sun­days. In­side to­day’s edi­tion we bring you:

Your guide to what’s hap­pen­ing and when on Mon­day. All the best photos from last year’s event. Sto­ries from the front-line, in­clud­ing a Q&A with Rhylee Good­win, the lo­cal teen who was priv­i­leged to be at Gal­lipoli for last year’s cen­te­nary com­mem­o­ra­tions, cour­tesy of the Premier’s An­zac Prize.

THEY sac­ri­ficed so that we can live in the peace and pros­per­ity we en­joy to­day.

On Mon­day, we hon­our the ef­forts of men and women like Mar­garet He­len Hen­ri­etta Bell.

Born in Mossman in 1914, Mar­garet and her fam­ily moved to Proser­pine four years later.

Mar­garet be­gan her nurs­ing train­ing at Proser­pine Hospi­tal be­fore her stud­ies saw her move north to Char­ters Tow­ers.

On Novem­ber 7, 1941, she en­listed for ser­vice abroad as a nurs­ing sis­ter, train­ing and work­ing in Bris­bane and War­wick.

With the 2/12th Aus­tralian Gen­eral Hospi­tal she de­parted Aus­tralia on the July 7, 1945, for Balakipa­pan, Bor­neo, to work in a for­ward bat­tle area.

She re­mained in Bor­neo for 191 days, re­turn­ing to Aus­tralia on Jan­uary 13, 1946.

The Bor­neo cam­paign was the last ma­jor Al­lied cam­paign in the Sec­ond World War, with Aus­tralia, the United States, the United King­dom and the Nether­lands do­ing bat­tle against the Ja­panese.

The Al­lied troops suf­fered 8000 ca­su­al­ties, while the Ja­panese en­dured 10,000.

Fol­low­ing the sur­ren­der of the Ja­panese forces, the Aus­tralians were com­mit­ted to oc­cu­pa­tion du­ties un­til Fe­bru­ary 1946.

On her re­turn, Mar­garet mar­ried Harry Briskey, who served in the same unit as Henry Dray, and had a son.

Three months af­ter his birth, Mar­garet passed away on Septem­ber 15, 1947, in Greenslopes Mil­i­tary Hospi­tal, Bris­bane.

She is com­mem­o­rated on the AIF Me­mo­rial Wall in the Mount Thomp­son Cre­ma­to­rium, Bris­bane.

Photo: Sharon Small­wood

WE WILL RE­MEM­BER: Whit­sun­day Navy cadet Sean Healey holds the na­tional flag in front of the 3000-strong crowd at last year’s Can­non­vale dawn ser­vice.

POPPY DROP: School chil­dren scram­bled to col­lect the pop­pies as they fell from the Tiger­moth to the road in Air­lie Beach last year.

Proser­pine RSL sub-branch pres­i­dent Ja­son Rai­teri speaks at the 2015 dawn ser­vice in Proser­pine.

AN­CES­TRY: Whit­sun­day nurse Mar­garet Bell served with the 2/12th Aus­tralian Gen­eral Hospi­tal in Bor­neo.

Re­turned ser­vice­men Ge­orge and Robert Gnezdiloff pay their re­spects be­fore the Proser­pine Ceno­taph dur­ing the 2015 An­zac Day ser­vice.

Piper Neil Macmil­lan.

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