Wandearah Anzac Day Service
Wednesday 29 April, 2015
The names and exploits, some ill-fated, of five World War I heroes were read out at the Wandearah Institute on Sunday.
It was a commemoration service for the Centenary of Anzacs and the servicemen’s military histories flickered alive for a crowd of about 150.
The ceremony, the first of its kind, was organised by the Broughton Plains Heritage Society, the institute and the Nurom Historical Group.
Broughton Plains Heritage Society president Jack Keain, right, with special guests Graeme Crouch, left, Ivan Venning, Kendall Jackson, Haydn Madigan, Geoff Brock, Mayor John Rohde, Rowan Ramsey and Greg Mayfield. They are standing in front of the rededicated leadlight windows in honour of the World War I fallen at the Wandearah Institute.
The first soldier to be honoured in the speeches was Clarence Davidson, of the 3rd Light Horse, who saw action in the Gallipoli campaign.
“He was the first on the Honour Roll to enlist and the first to be killed – on June 25, 1915,” said researcher Deirdre Kent, of Nurom, to a spellbound audience.
Fellow historian Colleen Baker, of Butlers Bridge, outlined the service of Allan Clare Brown, who was born in the district, fought at Gallipoli and was buried at sea after his death on August 14, 1915.
Laurence Stanley, of Nurom, brought alive the memory of Sidney Pawson, a farm apprentice from Grimsby, England, who joined the military and died in 1983.
Philip Johns, of Port Pirie, relived the era of his “Pop”, Frank Thomas Johns, of the 48th Battalion. The Johns’ farm at Pirie East is the only one in the district still in the same family.
Napperby’s Ross Roberts conjured the image of his father Louis Clifton Roberts, a sergeant in the Light Horsemen. Louis was fired upon once in the war and survived. He returned to run a farm at Napperby, but died from complications of appendicitis in 1949.
During the ceremony, chairman of the institute committee Graeme Crouch thanked Federal Liberal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey and his staff for a grant from the Centenary of Anzacs Program.
The Wandearah Uniting Church Ladies Fellowship, which is disbanding after 92 years, handed $1000 to the heritage society towards the cost of building a new memorial outside the institute.
Other donations to the project were made by Mr Ramsey, Independent Member for Frome Geoff Brock, Mayor John Rohde and The Recorder Editor Greg Mayfield, on behalf of the Roberts and Mayfield families.
Displays at the event included photos of soldiers and troop ships. There were artifacts such a German gas mask and egg bomb as well as English regimental badges.
Neville Lock, 77, of Warnertown, showed off a gold-plated fob watch and chain given to his father Private George Hartley Lock by the people of Napperby on his return from active service in 1919.
Mr Lock also displayed another gold-plated fob watch that belonged to his father, but was stolen in 1932 only to be rediscovered at a Paddy’s market by a relative last year.
The initials on the front of the watch had been removed. It is now in the safe-keeping of Mr Lock who says the total value of the fob watches is about $4000.
The memorial event at the institute was the first of its kind, but there seems to be the prospect that it has not been the last …
Residents of Wandearah have been urged to keep remembering the fallen of World War I beyond a ceremony held on Sunday.
The Recorder Editor Greg Mayfield issued the challenge as one of the guest speakers at the first-ever Anzac memorial service at the Wandearah Institute.
“The sands of time have been blown away by this weekend’s Anzac Day commemorations,” Mr Mayfield told the crowd.
“We look back on a century since our Gallipoli heroes stormed the beaches … and we are breathless, too.
“As a reporter I have covered many Anzac Day services in South Australia, Victoria and Canberra.
“I remember the veterans talking about the valour of the fallen and in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, the threat of the march of Communism.
“The thread between all these commemoration services is the humility shown by those who fought so courageously for our country. The men and women of the military do not revel in the horrors of war.
“This service at Wandearah honours the memory of great men of the district including my father-in-law’s father Louis Clifton Roberts, of the Light Horsemen.
“When the intense publicity surrounding this anniversary has died down, the graves will whistle in the breeze and the heritage windows of the Wandearah Institute will look down in silent memory. Lest We Forget.”