An­zac Day a big draw

The Tribune (NZ) - - NEWS - RICHARD MAYS

The 100th an­niver­sary of the first An­zac Day ser­vice was an oc­ca­sion worth turn­ing out for. A huge crowd packed The Square for Mon­day morn­ing’s Dawn Pa­rade with the catafalque guard pro­vided by mem­bers of the Lin­ton Camp based Queen Alexan­dra’s Mounted Ri­fles hold­ing lances.

Not only were the stands packed, but the grassed area fac­ing In­ter­na­tional Boule­vard in front of the ceno­taph, quickly filled.

A fea­ture of the cer­e­mony was the large East­ern and Cen­tral Com­mu­nity Trust pro­vided screen that en­abled those in the stands erected for the ser­vices, to clearly see the speak­ers and ap­pre­ci­ate the pro­ceed­ings.

In the lead-up to both the Dawn and 9.15am Civic Ser­vice, there were screen­ings of black and white archival footage taken dur­ing and af­ter World War I.

It also screened an in­ter­view with Brian de Lau­tour, who cel­e­brated his 100th birthday on March 26 and was a spe­cial guest at the ser­vices.

Brian en­listed in 1941 and saw ac­tion in Italy dur­ing the Bat­tle of Monte Cassino in 1944.

Two years ago he re­turned to Italy for the 70th an­niver­sary com­mem­o­ra­tions of the bat­tle.

Miss­ing from both ser­vices was the tra­di­tional bird si­lenc­ing, child star­tling vol­ley, and there were apolo­gies that the fly­over set down on the Dawn Pa­rade ser­vice sheet would not take place. Two Beechcraft Texan 2 air­craft from Ohakea did how­ever per­form a fly­over at the start of the Civic Ser­vice.

Dur­ing the mid-morn­ing wreath-lay­ing, Bren­don Deere’s re­stored World War II Su­per­ma­rine Spit­fire pi­loted by Squadron Leader Sean Per­rett, flew around The Square as part of a aerial sor­tie that vis­ited 15 of the wider re­gion’s An­zac ser­vices.

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