Anzac Day Service at Manly LSC

ANZAC Day 2017

Colonel John C. Platt, CSC

Our ANZAC Day Service was again held on the beach with our friends from Manly Surf Club. Most appropriate, as the ‘Manly Surf and Life Saving Club’ was established in 1903; then in 1911 that Club became two entities, the Manly Life Saving Club and the Manly Surf Club. The weather was glorious, a few light clouds and the water sparkled in the background as three Royal Australian Air Force jets flew over to start our Service.

This year is still part of the ‘100 Years of ANZAC – The Spirit Lives 1914 to 1918’.  In 1917, 100 years ago, members of both Clubs volunteered for service, sadly in that year four members of Manly Life Saving Club and one member of Manly Surf Club were killed in action. Their names were listed on the Order of Service.

Our guest speaker was Major Garth Callender. Garth joined the Australian Army in 1996 as a Rifleman in the 6th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment. He graduated from the Royal Military College, Duntroon in 2001 to the Royal Australian Armoured Corps.

In 2004 he deployed to Iraq. His armoured vehicle was targeted by a roadside bomb attack (IED) and he became Australia’s first serious casualty in the war. After recovering from critical injuries he returned to Iraq in 2006. Then in 2009 he lead a weapons intelligence team in Afghanistan to identify insurgent bomb-makers.

Garth now manages the Veterans Employment Program for the NSW Government. He is an Ambassador for the ‘Bravery Trust’ and a Patron of the ‘Matthew Millhouse Salute’ and remains active in the Army Reserve.  Garth is the author of ‘After the Blast: An Australian Officer in Iraq and Afghanistan’.

Garth spoke about his experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, especially his mates when he was badly wounded, what occurred at the time and what they are doing now. Garth’s wife Crystal and daughters Eva, Zoe, and Amelia also attended the Service.

What makes ANZAC Day special at our Clubs is the involvement of our members and this year, as mentioned, it again included the Manly Surf Club.  I would like to thank all who attended and participated.  In particular, Cooper Robinson and Piper Harrison (reading the Prayers of Remembrance); James Doyle (playing the Last Post & Rouse); Tony Loughland (reciting the Ode of Remembrance); Presidents Chris Bell and Danny Froggatt (laying wreaths); Robbie Williams, Sita Mason, Tony Bonner, Fraser McTavish and Neil Beachley (reading the names of the fallen); Isabelle Orrenius (National Anthem); Simone Grout, Old and Bold, and Club members (setting up, laying the wreath at sea and boards lined up on the water’s edge). The ANZAC tradition of our Club also continues with some of our members, or their family currently serving.

Later in the day I attended the Manly Council ANZAC Service.  Cooper Robinson and Piper Harrison and I laid a wreath on behalf of the Manly Life Saving Club.

Finally, we should always remember the fundamental purpose of ANZAC Day has been, and should continue to be, to pay homage to our veterans and those who gave their lives – including 37 from Manly Life Saving Club and eight from the Manly Surf Club.  In doing so, we ensure a recognition that peace and freedom have always required a sacrifice in the past.  Those we honour have given our Clubs, Community and Australia a tradition of courage, selflessness and a fine reputation to follow for the future.

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