Armistice Cen­te­nary – we re­mem­ber

Monthly Chronicle - - Front Page - JONATHAN O’DEA MP MEM­BER FOR DAVID­SON

This year marks the 100th an­niver­sary of the Armistice which ended the First World War. The so-called Great War was to be the ‘war that ended all wars’. Sadly this has not been the case and so each year, on the 11th hour of the 11th month we re­mem­ber the hu­man sac­ri­fices made in the Great War and in con­flicts since.

The Great War re­mains our most costly con­flict in terms of deaths and ca­su­al­ties. From a pop­u­la­tion of fewer than five mil­lion (less than to­day’s Syd­ney) 416,809 men en­listed. More than 60,000 were killed and 156,000 wounded, gassed, or taken pris­oner. At least 11,033 NSW Govern­ment em­ploy­ees were granted mil­i­tary leave, with 1,659 killed in ac­tion.

Ten NSW Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans served in the Great War while a fur­ther 75 for­mer or fu­ture MPs also served. One of them, Wil­liam Cur­rey, won the Victoria Cross on the bat­tle­fields of France af­ter cap­tur­ing a 77mm field gun and an en­emy strong point be­fore play­ing a key role in res­cu­ing a com­pany of al­lied sol­diers that had be­come iso­lated. In 1941 he be­came the Mem­ber for Kog­a­rah, thereby be­com­ing the first VC win­ner to serve in the NSW Par­lia­ment.

Across the coun­try Aus­tralians are en­cour­aged to mark the Cen­te­nary of the Armistice and ob­serve one minute’s si­lence at 11am in mem­ory of those who died or suf­fered in the First World War and all wars and armed con­flicts since.

This year, the state Re­mem­brance Day Ser­vice will be held at the re­cently re­fur­bished An­zac Memo­rial in Hyde Park. It will be fol­lowed by an Open Day where you can ex­pe­ri­ence the new wa­ter cas­cade and Hall of Ser­vice which ac­knowl­edges the 1,701 lo­ca­tions NSW Great War en­lis­tees gave as their home ad­dress. The new Hall also fea­tures 100 sites of mil­i­tary sig­nif­i­cance to NSW ser­vice per­son­nel, to hon­our more than a cen­tury of Aus­tralian ser­vice and sac­ri­fice in peace­keep­ing and con­flict.

Many who have en­listed never re­turned, while oth­ers have carried life-long in­juries in de­fence of our coun­try and the free­doms we en­joy. None of our First World War dig­gers are with us to­day, but their sto­ries of courage in ad­ver­sity live on through their fam­i­lies and recorded his­tory.

I en­cour­age com­mu­nity mem­bers to at­tend a lo­cal re­mem­brance ser­vice.

Lest we for­get.

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