Remembering those who gave their lives
A large crowd, estimated to be about 140, gathered in the cold pre-dawn on Anzac Day to honour the forty one Rainbow and District men who lost their lives in WW1.
Peter Ralph read out the names and as much information that he had been able to gather on each soldier. At the same time local schoolchildren, scouts and members of the public placed poppies and candles in front of an information sheet for each individual. A number of people travelled to Rainbow to pay tribute to family members who were amongst the forty one fallen.
The poppies had been made by the students at Yaapeet Primary School with the assistance of Marg Krelle. Charlie Wall thanked Peter for his many hours of research. He also thanked everyone who had made the effort to leave their warm beds to gather together on this very special day to honour those from the area who had made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
An even larger crowd, of 200, turned out for the annual 10am Anzac Day service. The service began at the War Memorial where a wreath laying ceremony took place involving the Rainbow Scouts, Rainbow P-12 College, Yaapeet Primary School, Rainbow CFA and individuals. A minutes silence then followed.
The annual march around the gardens took place before everyone involved in this special day gathered at the Mecca. Friends of the RSL President Charlie Wall welcomed everyone to the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing. He then paid tribute to the three members of the Rainbow RSL, Wally Scown, Merv Solly and Dawna Williamson, who had passed away since the last Anzac service.
Roger Smith then spoke of how he and his wife Tracey had recently visited the WW1 battlefields in France. Before the trip he had gathered information on the two Rogasch brothers, Gustav and Ernst, from Rainbow who were killed on the same day in 1917. Roger used a variety of sources to learn more of that tragic day. One account of that tragic day is one brother was critically injured before passing away, while the other brother was killed on the way to visit his brother. The other account is that the two brothers were killed together at a first aid station.
Roger and Tracey visited the WW1 sites at Villers-Bretonneux where the Australian forces fought decisive battles in March and April 1918 that led to eventual victory later that year.
At the war cemetery Roger and Tracey found the memorial stones for the two brothers. While on a tour of this area Roger was shocked to learn that in an area of two square kilometres over 28,000 soldiers had been killed during the conflict.
Charlie Wall then introduced the Rev Gary Locke. Gary had been the minister at The Southern Mallee Cooperative Parish in the 1980’s. In 1994 he became a chaplain in the Navy. Gary eventually became the Director General of Chaplaincy in the Navy, before leaving the service and joining the Naval Reserve in 2012. During his time in the Navy Gary saw active service in Bougainville and Iraq.
Gary began his speech by talking of how WW1 was avoidable but not avoided. It was the first instance of modern industrial warfare involving tanks, aircraft, submarines and many other technological advances compared to previous conflicts. It involved heavy casualties including the lives of 62,000 Australians. All of us are still touched by this conflict.
The main part of Gary’s speech concentrated on the Australian submarine AE2. This submarine with a crew of 35, under the command of Henry Stoker, penetrated the Turkish defences at the Dardanelles on April 25th 1914. It damaged a Turkish cruiser and forced a Turkish battleship that had been firing on the land forces to leave the scene. After several days of playing cat and mouse with Turkish forces it was forced to the surface due to mechanical problems and damaged by a Turkish torpedo boat on April 30th. AE2 was scuttled and its crew captured, spending the rest of WW1 as prisoners of war, during which time four died as a result of illness. The remains of the AE2 were found in 1998 in the Sea of Marmara. It was decided to leave it in place.
Gary finished his speech by reminding us of how special and iconic this day was and of the futility of war.
Charlie Wall then announced that the collection had raised $1200.35. Charlie thanked all those who had contributed to the day. These included the Rainbow Scouts, Rainbow P-12 College, Yaapeet Primary School and Marg Krelle for the poppies, Ron Ismay and the Hindmarsh Shire, Rainbow Choir and Peter Ralph along with Dianne Wall, Ruth Gosling and Marg Krelle for the display at the RSL Hall.
Charlie also thanked Wayne and Elaine Nitschke for providing the accommodation for Gary and P-12 students Lil McKenzie, Angus Robinson, Bridget McKenzie, Sophie Thomas, Max McKenzie, Emily Staples and Tori McKenzie for helping with the service.
For more photos turn to page 5.