Remembrance Day in the Hunter: photos

IN MEMORIAM: Wreaths laid during the commemoration of Remembrance Day at Newcastle City Hall. Picture by Simone De Peak Scenes from the Remembrance Day service in Newcastle. Picture by Simone De Peak
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PAYING RESPECTS: Ron Smith of Hexham salutes at the commemoration of Remembrance Day at Newcastle City Hall. Picture by Simone De Peak

PROUD RECORD: A former serviceman wears his medals at Newcastle City Hall, where 150 people attended the ceremony. Picture by Simone De Peak

STANDING TALL: Geoffrey Baigent and Joyce Foster pay homage to the fallen at the Civic Park War Memorial. Picture by Simone De Peak

NEVER FORGET: WRANS members Elaine Wallace, a radar operator in the ’60s and Rhonda Boag, a navy medic in the ’70s. Picture by Simone De Peak

Scenes from the Remembrance Day service in Newcastle. Picture by Simone De Peak

Scenes from the Remembrance Day service in Newcastle. Picture by Simone De Peak

THE Hunter stood silent for one minute at Remembrance Day ceremonies across the region yesterday, when thousands reflected on the brave sacrifice of those who lost their lives or were wounded fighting for their country.

The rain proved no deterrent for attendees with many ceremonies moved indoors, including the City of Newcastle RSL Sub-Branch ceremony planned for Civic Park relocated to City Hall.

A crowd of about 150 inside the venue sang and prayed before observing 60 seconds of silence at 11am – the time when the Allies and Germany signed the Armistice to officially end World War I on Monday, November 11, 1918.

Remembrance Day was originally known as Armistice Day, but was renamed after World War II to commemorate those who had died or suffered in all wars, armed conflicts and peacekeeping operations.

City of Newcastle RSL Sub-Branch President Ken Fayes was the third generation in his family to serve, following in the footsteps of his grandfathers – who served in World War I on the HMAS Melbourne and in the Light Horse Brigade in Palestine – and his parents who served in the RAAF and WAAF in World War II.

He said yesterday he was thinking of the mates he served alongside in Vietnam, where he was deployed with the army in January 1970.

‘‘I still see their faces every day,’’ he said.

‘‘But no-one remembers the bad things, we celebrate the friendships that have formed through thick and thin and have a laugh.

‘‘There’s virtually nobody out there who hasn’t had someone in their family make a sacrifice of some sort in the name of freedom.

‘‘We wouldn’t be who we are without them, regardless of where it [the conflict] was or when it was.’’

Hunter President of the WRANS Naval Women’s Association Rhonda Boag remembered her father Noel Barden, who served with the army in Papua New Guinea during World War II and later inspired his daughter to join the navy as a medic at 18.

‘‘He never spoke about any of the fighting, only the mischief the young servicemen got up to – everything else was too horrific.’’

Former WRANS radar operator Elaine Wallace paid homage to her father Tom Colquhoun, who was in the Air Force and maintained Catalinas at Rathmines, and his brothers George and Jack who served with the army in the Pacific Islands.

‘‘We must never forget, we need to carry this through to the next generation,’’ she said.

‘‘History governs the future and if you forget history, you end up in the same position again.’’

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