While Tenterfield Remembrance Day services are always moving and well-run affairs organised by the Tenterfield RSL Sub-branch, this year’s was particularly poignant given the 100th anniversary of the events for which the day is commemorated.
The service again had the welcome participation of the JF Thomas Riding Troop and representatives of local schools, along with piper Fraser Bolton, bugler Murray Hovey and Drew Bates leading the assembly in the national anthem.
Special guest speaker this year delivering the Remembrance Day address was Colonel Mark Auchinleck (retired), a 37-year veteran of the British Army whose posts included tours in Germany, Northern Ireland, Cyprus, the first Gulf War, Sarajevo and Sierra Leone, a post as a Russian interpreter and another as an exchange officer with the Australian Army. A further claim to fame is that he is the grandson-in-law of the great General Sir Harry Chauvel of Light Horse fame.
“Today is indeed a very special day, not just here in Australia, but also in the United Kingdom and throughout every nation of the British Commonwealth,” Col. Auchinleck told the crowd.
“One hundred years ago the guns on the western front fell silent thus ending just over four years of war – the war that was supposed to end all wars but which sowed the seeds of the next major conflict.
“This first modern world conflict had brought about the mobilisation of over 70 million people and left between nine and 13 million dead, perhaps as many as one-third of them with no known grave. The allied nations chose this day and time for the commemoration of their war dead.”
Col. Auchinleck said the gathering was to pay our respects to all of the fallen and of the wounded in all conflicts over the last 100 years.
“Their spirit of courage, bravery and sacrifice continues to the present day when we also remember and grieve for the 41 Australian soldiers killed and 261 wounded in Afghanistan, including two sailors and one airman.”
Col. Auchinleck said it is now the responsibility of the current generation to maintain the gains made by these sacrifices.
“Today, as every day, we remember those who volunteered, served, fought, and died, all for the cause of freedom. Our men and women fought and died for genuine freedom, and achieved it, and it is now our sacred duty to maintain it.
“If in today’s changing, complex and at times difficult circumstances, we can live by the values they fought and died for, we will have nothing to fear.”
Col. Auchinleck congratulated the RSL Sub-branch and ANZAC Centenary Steering Committee for the high standard of the exhibition in the hall.
“It would match or compare with anything else seend in the work,” he said.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.