Remembering the fallen — Armistice Day in Alexandra
ARMISTICE Day was formally inaugurated throughout the Commonwealth on November 11, 1919, when King George V requested all British subjects observe two minutes’ silence to remember the fallen.
Here is a look at how Central Otago’s RSAs will mark the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day in Alexandra this weekend.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 9
Mounted Rifles visits: A selection of schools will be visited by the Mounted Rifles.
Treeplanting: People from the community have purchased 10 trees, which represent each decade since the end of World War 1.
The trees will be planted in a special ceremony at Richard Park, on the corner of Tarbert, Kilarney and Shannon sts, from 6pm to 6.45pm.
Memorial unveiling: The many soldiers from Central Otago who went to war will be recognised during a special ceremony at Richard Park at 7pm.
The evening’s events will feature Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan as MC for the unveiling.
The Alexandra Rotary Club took on the project as one of its community initiatives to help mark its 75th anniversary.
The event will also be attended by the Mounted Rifles.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 10
Morning: At 9am, Roxburgh commemorations will take place, starting with a Mounted Rifles visit to King George V Memorial Park and will continue with a treeplanting at 10am. The Mounted Rifles will then visit Castlewood and Ranui resthomes.
Afternoon: A series of mounted games will take place in Pioneer Park from 1pm.
Mounted games is a fastpaced actionpacked discipline with riders and horses demonstrating a range of skills.
Both horse and rider most have an immense amount of fitness and training.
Riders are athletic and strong, with great horsemanship skills and great eyehand coordination, while horses show their ability to be fast, strong and nimble.
The mounted games will continue next day.
The finals will be on Sunday at Pioneer Park, once the formal Armistice Day commemorations are over.
Musical entertainment: Popular entertainers The Drama Queens will perform a range of wartime songs at the Alexandra District ClubRSA from 8pm.
Bookings are essential if you wish to have a meal beforehand.
The Drama Queens — made up of Alice Sollis, Sharleyne Diamond and Tracey Austin — will travel from Timaru for the occasion.
They will also perform at Pioneer Park following the formal Armistice Day commemorations on Sunday.
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 11
The RSA Parade: At 10.45am sharp, the RSA Parade will commence from the corner of Kenmare and Shannon sts, Alexandra, opposite the RSA Bowling Club.
The parade, which will be led by the Alexandra Pipe Band, will move into Pioneer Park.
AlexandraClyde RSA president Kevin Harding will provide an opening address, which will be followed by a fivegun salute from the RSA’s 25pounder gun.
Each of the five shots will represent 20 years — a total of 100 — marking the centenary celebrations.
A ‘‘flyover’’’ of two, maybe more, biplanes will follow, weather permitting.
The air will then be still as the crowd gives two minutes silence at 11.11am, in memory of the many soldiers who went to war but did not return.
The Roxburgh Pioneer Energy Brass Band will then perform a range of significant music to commemorate the occasion, until the Mounted Rifles’ 100horse parade and foot soldiers enter the park for a ride past the parade.
Guest speakers will include Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan, Mark Appleton, of the Mounted Rifles, and Denis Ryan, of the Cromwell RSA.
RSA district president Jenepher Glover, RSA support adviser Niall Sheppard and councillor Shirley Calvert will also talk.
Wreaths will then be laid, followed by the Alexandra Pipe Band playing a lament.
Bugler Christine Wright will then play the Last Post.
Jude Parbhu will recite the dedication and ode, then Christine will play ‘‘reveille’’.
Next the Reverend Andrew Howley will lead the group in prayer, followed by the national anthem, played by the brass band and sung by the RSA singers.
AlexandraClyde RSA president Kevin Harding will share some final words before the parade falls out.
Wreaths will be transferred to the Alexandra cenotaph at the end of the parade.
The Drama Queens and children from Alexandra Primary School and The Terrace School will perform a local schools tribute.
There will be another flyover at 2pm, followed by Peter Meadows in his Russian fighter jet.
Z Energy has provided the fuel for the occasion.
Other Central Otago areas will also commemorate the occasion, including:
Ranfurly: There will be an Armistice Day service at the Ranfurly Presbyterian Church at 10.30am.
Oturehua: There will be a 2pm service and unveiling of a new soldiers’ memorial board at Oturehua soldiers’ memorial.
Omakau: There will be an Armistice Day treeplanting at 2.30pm at the Harvey St reserve.
Cromwell: There will be a service of remembrance on Sunday at 9am at the Cromwell Presbyterian Church.
Marking a centenary . . . AlexandraClyde RSA representatives (from left) president Kevin Harding, senior vicepresident Debra Warburton and executive committee member Gerry Sutherland are among those helping prepare Armistice Day centennial celebrations, taking place this weekend.
In bloom . . . Poppies are in bloom in Alexandra, a flower which was inspired by the World War 1 poem In Flanders Fields.PHOTO: THE NEWS