This Sunday, November 11 marks 100 years since the end of World War I.
Remembrance Day marks the signing of the Armistice of Compiègne between the Allies and Germany at 6am on November 11, 1918.
It marked the end of the fighting on the Western Front and ultimately the end of the Great War, the gruelling four year conflict that saw millions killed and wounded. The Armistice came into force from 11am.
Locally the Nowra RSL Sub-Branch Remembrance Day service will be held at the memorial gates and cenotaph at the Nowra Showground in Junction Street, Nowra on Sunday starting at 4.50pm.
A short service will be held followed by members of the Shoalhaven City Pipes and Drums taking part in a world-wide mass playing of the retreat march, Pipe Major William Robb’s composition When the Battle’s O’er to mark the centenary end of World War I.
At the suggestion of local veteran Barry Brown and the Shoalhaven Historical Society’s Gerri Walker the South Coast Register gathered a local veteran from each conflict from World War II onwards for a special commemorative photograph to mark the centenary end of WWI.
Unfortunately Nowra’s only surviving WWII Light Horseman Len Seyffer, who was supposed to also be in the photograph, was unwell and couldn’t attend.
The assembled group included - Bob Morris (Korea), Bob Brown (Malayan Emergency, Indonesian Malaysian Confrontation - Borneo), Col Liddicoat (Indonesian Malaysian Confrontation - Malay Peninsula, Vietnam), Brian Melville (Indonesian Malaysian Confrontation - Borneo, Vietnam), Fred Campbell (Gulf War - Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan - Solomon Islands), David Ledger (Somalia), Bill Middleton (East Timor, Iraq), Suzanne Pendle (East Timor, Iraq, Afghanistan) and Trevor Lynch (Iraq, Afghanistan).
They were joined by chairman of Keith Payne VC Veterans Benefit Group Rick Meehan, himself a veteran of service in the Middle East in the Gulf of Oman and Persian Gulf during the Cold War in the 1980s, when USA, Australia and Great Britain sent a number of warships to the area as a military response to Russia’s invasion of Afghanistan.
“For me Remembrance Day is about my uncle who was killed in World War I,” said Korean veteran Bob Morris.
“He was a young bloke who joined up from Nymboida in the Northern Rivers region of NSW. An apprentice electrician, he lasted about 24 days when he got to the fighting and was killed at Hill 60, south of Ypres on the Western Front.
“When I came along I took on his name and kept him going so he’s still around.”
Malayan Emergency, Indonesian Malaysian Confrontation - Borneo veteran Bob Brown also has a special connection with the Western Front.
There is a famous official war photo by CW Bean of Australian troops as they made their way out of Casualty Corner, Pozières.
Mr Brown’s father, Sergeant HR (Horace) Brown, is front and centre carrying a machine gun over his shoulder.
“He was part of the 2/19 Machine Gun Battalion and the official caption of the photo says July/August 1916,” Mr Brown said.
“My dad’s official number was 190, so he was one of the early ones.
“He was lucky, he went from Gallipoli to the Western Front and made it home. His brother Gus wasn’t so lucky. He was killed in the same operation.
“Incredibly my dad also died on November 11, 1981.”
Gulf War (Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan) and Solomon Islands veteran Fred Campbell said Remembrance Day was a chance to commemorate all those who served in the past and are still serving.
“It also commemorates those who paid the ultimate sacrifice,” he said.
Suzanne Pendle (East Timor, Iraq, Afghanistan) said Remembrance Day allows “us to remember those who fought and died and those who came home as well from WWI and onwards and those who continue to serve and those in the future.”
Iraq, Afghanistan veteran Trevor Lynch was accompanied on the day by a special friend, a service dog called Mocha.
“She helps me with panic attacks,” he said. “She wakes me when I have nightmares and gives me general help. As my health deteriorates there will be other things we will be training her to do.”