Fromelles Day Sydney 2019: Commemorative Procession and Commemoration

Commemorative Procession from the Archibald Fountain to the Anzac Memorial
The Families and Friends of the First AIF in conjunction with the Trustees of the Anzac Memorial, hosted the Commemoration of the 103rd anniversary of the Battle of Fromelles at The Anzac Memorial Hyde Park, Sydney on Friday 19 July 2019. Click here to download a copy of this 2019 Fromelles Day Sydney Report.

The Battle of Fromelles in northern France on 19-20 July 2016 was the first battle involving Australian troops on the Western Front following the withdrawal from Gallipoli. It was and remains the largest loss of Australian life in a 24-hour period with 1,917 killed or died of wounds, 3,416 wounded and 496 taken prisoner totalling 5,533 casualties. For more background to the Battle of Fromelles click here for Part 1: 1915 and The Battle of Aubers Ridge and Part 2: 1916 and the Battle of the Somme.

In 2008, the graves of 250 soldiers buried by the Germans after the battle were located and in 2010 reinterred in the new Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery and 166 of these soldiers have now been identified by name. For more information click 2/3 of the Diggers from Pheasant Wood now have their own headstones.

Image by St Clare’s College, Waverley (Click to enlarge images)

The Commemoration was preceded by a Commemorative Procession of about 80 people on a mild winter morning from the Archibald Fountain that commemorates the association of Australia and France in The Great War to the Anzac Memorial.

The Commemorative Procession re-enacts the final Parade of the veterans of the 5th Division on the 50th anniversary of the Battle marching to the ANZAC Memorial to request that the Trustees of the Anzac Memorial always remember their service and the sacrifice of their comrades on 19 July 1916. Click here to read A record of the Parade and Ceremony held in Hyde Park on 19 July 1966.


The Commemorative Procession leaving the Archibald Fountain.
Images by St Clare’s College Waverley

The Commemorative Procession was led an Australian National Flag Party from the Australian Army Personnel Administrative Centre (APAC) at Victoria Barracks.

Flag Ensign WO2 Nathan Grumley with Flag Escorts PTE Sean Amarant and PTE Bradley Delrio
Image by Michael Mannington for Community Photography

The Flag Ensign was Warrant Officer Class 2 Nathan Grumley, of 1 Health Support Company (1HSC), Randwick Barracks, whose great grandfather Pte William Grumley, 30n, was wounded in the Battle of Fromelles, and is thought to have been one of the veterans who participated in Parade from the Archibald Fountain to the Anzac Memorial.

Also participating in the Commemorative Procession and possibly walking in the footsteps of Pte William Grumley were 3 generations of Grumleys (Grand-son, Great grand-children and Great-great-grandchildren).

3 generations honouring Pte. William Grumley.
Image by St Clare’s College
Following the Australian National Flag Party from the Australian Army, was Piper Jim Braid, NSW Scottish Regimental Association Pipes and Drums and Piper Graham Wood, Sydney Thistle Highland Pipe Band who accompanied the Procession for the first time.

 

Pipers Jim Braid and Piper Graham Wood
Images by St Clare’s College, Waverley and Michael Mannington for Community Photography

Professor The Hon Dame Marie Bashir, AD CVO, former Governor of New South Wales and Honorary Member FFFAIF again led the Commemorative Procession, accompanied by Russell Curley, Past President FFFAIF, Jim Munro, President FFFAIF and FFFAIF Committee Member Jill Hayes.
Image by Michael Mannington for Community Photography

Descendants and representatives of Ex Service and Descendants’ organisations,
Neil Falconer, Fiona Bunn, Air Commodore Ian Scott, Rear Admiral Ian Crawford, Geoffrey Benn, Mrs Meg Green
Image by St Clare’s College, Waverley

Following were civic leaders and senior officers from military and civilian services. including:
Special Guests
Professor The Hon Dame Marie Bashir, AD CVO, former Governor of New South Wales and Honorary Member FFFAIF
M. Pierre Bianconi, Deputy Consul-General for the Republic of France

Trustees of the Anzac Memorial or their Proxy:
James Griffin MP, Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment and Veterans represesnting
The Hon. Gladys Berejiklian MP, Premier of New South Wales and The Hon John Sidoti MP, Minister for Sport, Multiculturalism, Seniors and Veterans
Mr Ray James, President Ingleburn RSL Sub-Branch representing Mr James Brown, President, The Returned and Services League of Australia NSW Branch
Dr Marjorie O’Neill MP, Member for Coogee representing The Hon Jodi McKay MP, Leader of the Opposition
Rod Kirkman, Manager of Protocol representing The Rt. Hon. Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of Sydney and the City of Sydney

Former Anzac Centenary Ambassadors representing:
Harry Allie BEM, Chair of the NSW Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Veterans Commemoration Service Committee
Rear Admiral Ian Crawford AO AM (Mil) RAN (Rtd), National President of the Australian Council of Korea Veterans Associations
Mr Greg Wrate, President, Sydney Legacy
Lt. Col. Colin Dunston RFD, Former President Sydney Legacy
Mrs Meg Green, National President, War Widows’ Guild of Australia
M. Francouis Romanet, French-Australian Chamber of Commerce
Senior Officers of the Emergency Services
Superintendent Paul Carrett, Commander of Kings Cross Police Area Command, representing NSW Police
Superintendent Michael Bray representing the NSW Ambulance Service
Senior Defence Officers or their representatives including
BRIG Michael Annett, ACOM 2 Division representing the Australian Army Commander Headquarters Command, Major General Chris Field AM CSC and Commander Second Division, Major General Kathryn Campbell, AO, CSC
Deputy Commander 8th Brigade, Colonel RB Lording will represent the Commander of the 2nd Division and Commander 8th Brigade
Captain Bowater OAM representing RAN Commander, Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead AM
Group Captain Chaplain Peter Friend representing RAAF Air Commander Australia Air Vice-Marshal Joe ‘Vinny’ Iervasi, AM
They were supported by members of the French North African Veterans’ Association (the Association des Anciens Combatants Francais (NSW)) led by President M Jean Louis Worobec and a Wreath Carrying Party from St Clare’s College, Waverley.
Representatives of Veterans’ and Descendant Organisations including Members of the Families and Friends of the First AIF (FFFAIF), The Fromelles Association, Australian Branch of the Western Front Association, Australian World War One Descendants, NAJEX (NSW Association of Jewish Service & Ex-Service Men & Women) as well as descendants of soldiers who participated in the Battle and Air Commodore Ian Scott AM, President, Remembrance Driveway Committee.

The Commemorative Procession departing the Archibald Fountain with the support of the Association des Anciens Combatants Francais (NSW) led by their President Jean-Louis Worobec. Deputy Consul-General Pierre Bianconi with descendant Fiona Bunn and National President of the War Widows Guild of Australia, Mrs Meg Green followed by descendants and representatives of Ex-Service and descents’ organisations.
Image by St Clare’s College, Waverley.

The procession symbolically represents the “400 yards”, the widest part of “No-man’s land” on the Fromelles battlefield, and paid homage to the 5th Division veterans marching to the Anzac Memorial for the 50th anniversary commemoration in 1966.

Special thanks go to the Procession Marshall, Lt. Col. Paul Simadas RFD, Vice President Families and Friends of the First AIF and Chairman, Australian Branch, Western Front Association who co-ordinated many of the arrangements for the Procession including liaising with the NSW Police and City of Sydney Events Team to ensure the security for the Procession and safe passage across Park Street and establishing the Order of Procession.
You can view and download photographs and segments of video of the Commemorative Procession on the FFFAIF Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/FromellesDaySydney2019/.

Commemoration of the 103rd Anniversary of the Battle of Fromelles
At the Anzac Memorial, a further gathering of about the same size as the Procession, including descendants, Former Anzac Centenary Ambassadors and representatives of the Trustees of the Anzac Memorial listened to music played by the NSW Police Band led by Acting Director of Music Anthony Brahe and Nearer My God to Thee and Requiem for a Soldier sung by The Holy Family Choir Menai and the Westleigh Probus Songsters.

 

The participants in the Commemorative Procession were greeted by FFFAIF Commemorations Officer Margaret Snodgrass OAM and after they were seated The Holy Family Choir Menai and Westleigh Probus Songsters led about 200 attendees in singing O Valiant Hearts.

 

Master of Ceremonies, and FFFAIF Member, Darren Mitchell welcomed guests and read a Vice Regal Message from His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia. Click here to read the Vice Regal Message and click here to read the Order of Service.

Harry Allie BEM, Chair of the NSW Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Veterans Commemoration Service Committee and a former member of the NSW Centenary of Anzac Advisory Council led an Acknowledgement of Country on behalf of Aboriginal elders. In 2019 the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island flags were flown at the Yininmadyemi Bullet sculpture for Indigenous Diggers to demonstrate respect for the custodians of this land, both past and present and their contribution to this country and its heritage and values. You can hear Harry’s Acknowledgement of Country on the FFFAIF Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/FromellesDaySydney2019/.

The Prologue was delivered by Mr Russell Curley, Past President, Families and Friends of the First AIF. You can hear Russell’s Prologue on the FFFAIF Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/FromellesDaySydney2019/.

Pastor Bob Durbin, Chaplain with RSL LifeCare led a prayer, followed by the Holy Family Choir Menai and the Westleigh Probus Songsters leading the singing of Abide with Me.

Mr Patrick Lindsay AM supported by students of St Clare’s College, Waverley delivered the Commemorative Address giving some insights and reflections on the prolonged and emotional experience that many families went through, with assistance of Students of St Clare’s College, Waverley who read some of the correspondence from families seeking information on their soldiers following the Battle of Fromelles. You can hear Patrick and the St Clare’s Students delivering the Commemorative Address on the FFFAIF Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/FromellesDaySydney2019/.

Patrick Lindsay AM delivering the Commemorative Address

Students of St Clare’s College, Waverley read from letters Lily Whitaker, Lily Garrett, Emily Cropp and Natalia Rey – Click to enlarge images
Images by St Clare’s College, Waverley and Michael Mannington Community Photography

In the Family Reflection, Josie Shelley with Kevin Holmes, grandchildren of Cpl “Nutsy” Herbert Bolt, 55 Bn who was Killed in Action at Fromelles, buried by the Germans after the battle and identified through DNA matching, reflected on the life of “Nutsy” Bolt as a prominent Rugby League player with Newtown and his war experience. Josie also reflected on the Family’s journey of grief and the impact of the identification of ‘Nutsy’s’ remains and the significance of the 2010 Dedication of the Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery with his named headstone.

Family Reflection by Josie Shelley with Kevin Holmes, grandchildren of Cpl “Nutsy” Herbert Bolt, 55 Bn
Cpl “Nutsy” Herbert Bolt, his wife Jenny, and baby daughter Monica (Mother of Josie and Kevin) 1915.

Wreaths were laid while Piper Jim Braid played the Lament, alternating with Piper Graham Wood. Graham. Jim Braid is a relative of Sgt James Dodd 53rd Bn and Pte Downie Dodd 56th Bn KIA at Fromelles. Graham played his composition Fromelles Lament, commissioned by the Late Major-General Gordon Maitland for the first time in public.

Piper Jim Braid played the Lament, alternating with the Piper Graham Wood during the wreath-laying
Images by St Clare’s College, Waverley and Michael Mannington for Community Photography

M. Pierre Bianconi, Deputy Consul-General for the Republic of France lays a wreath on behalf of the citizens of France, with The Hon James Griffin, Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment and Veterans representing the Premier of New South Wales and Minister for Sport, Multiculturalism, Seniors and Veterans lays a wreath on behalf of the citizens of NSW.

 

In tribute to the Fallen
FFFAIF Past President Russell Curley, Committee Member Margaret Snodgrass OAM and President Jim Munro

 

In tribute to the Missing
FFFAIF Members Neil Falconer and Lorraine Henshaw
Images by St Clare’s College, Waverley and Michael Mannington for Community Photography

Tribute to the 8,100 men of the 5th Division Killed in Action during the First World War and to those have died since
(at 1966)
Ray James, President of Ingleburn RSL sub-Branch for the Trustees of the Anzac Memorial and RSL


On behalf of the City of Sydney: Rod Kirkman, representing the NSW Opposition: Member for Coogee Dr Marjorie O’Neill MP, National President War Widows’ Guild of Australia, Mrs Meg Green, and President of Sydney Legacy, Mr Greg Wrate.
Images by St Clare’s College, Waverley and Michael Mannington for Community Photography

M. Jean-Louis Worobec, Président Association des Anciens Combatants Francais de Nouvelle Galles du Sud laying a wreath on behalf of French War Veterans of NSW

Professor The Hon Dame Marie Bashir, AD CVO laying her wreath for those who served at Fromelles

GPCAPT Chaplain Peter Friend representing RAAF Air Commander Australia Air Vice-Marshal Joe ‘Vinny’ Iervasi, AM,
CAPT Stephen Bowater OAM representing Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead AM, Commander, Australian Fleet
COL Rob Lording, Deputy Commander 8th Brigade representing Commander Second Division, Major General Kathryn Campbell, AO, CSC and the 8th Brigade. His grandfather, was seriously wounded at Fromelles whilst serving with the 8th Brigade
Images by St Clare’s College, Waverley and Michael Mannington for Community Photography

 

BRIG Michael Annett, ACOM 2 Division representing the Australian Army Commander Headquarters Command, Major General Chris Field AM CSC laying a wreath on behalf of The Australian Army
CAPT Stephen Bowater OAM representing Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead AM, Commander, Australian Fleet,
laying a wreath on behalf of the Royal Australian Navy
GPCAPT Chaplain Peter Friend representing RAAF Air Commander Australia Air Vice-Marshal Joe ‘Vinny’ Iervasi, AM laying a wreath on behalf of the Royal Australian Air Force
COL Rob Lording, Deputy Commander 8th Brigade, and Commander Second Division, Major General Kathryn Campbell, AO, CSC and the 8th Brigade laying a wreath on behalf of 8th Brigade.

Superintendent Michael Bray representing the NSW Ambulance Service and
Superintendent Paul Carrett, Commander of Kings Cross Police Area Command, representing the NSW Police Force, together with
Bugler Terry McCleary NSW Fire and Rescue Band representing NSW Fire and Rescue
Images by St Clare’s College, Waverley and Michael Mannington for Community Photography
President, Remembrance Driveway Committee Air Commodore Ian Scott AM with Alexander Weilsmann

Geoffrey Benn, Secretary, The Fromelles Association of Australia with Students of St Clare’s College, Waverley

Arline Ronsisvalle with a floral tribute on behalf of World War One Descendants, together with
Peter Allen representing the NSW Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen & Women (NAJEX)
Reg Bonney with a floral Tribute for George Edward Bonney,32nd Bn

Images by St Clare’s College, Waverley and Michael Mannington for Community Photography

Wreaths and florals tributes were laid for the following soldiers:

Kevin Holmes for descendants of Cpl “Nutsy” Herbert BOLT 55th Bn, KIA Fromelles, identified 2010
John Clingan for John’s great uncle Pte Alex CLINGAN 53rd Bn KIA Fromelles Identified 2010 and for Dorothy’s great uncle Sgt Vincent GROGAN, 60th Bn KIA Fromelles on GDL but not yet identified
Sharon Horsnell and daughters for descendants of Pte Frederick DYSON 54 Bn KIA Fromelles identified 2010
Annette Tebb for descendants of L/Sgt Ernest JENTSCH 53rd Bn KIA Fromelles identified 2010
Reg Bonney & daughter Ms Ann Asciak laid a floral tribute for George Edward BONNEY32nd Bn, KIA, Fromelles no known grave
Robert Batt laid a tribute for Pte Arthur George BATT 32nd Bn KIA Fromelles identified in 2019
Lynette Forde laid a tribute for Pte Edward HOPE 54th Bn KIA Fromelles identified in 2019
Fiona Bunn laid a floral tribute for Pte Percy ROBERTSON 58th Bn Wounded Fromelles RTA and Private Wilfred ROBERTSON 29th Bn Died of Disease 1918
Colin and Val Kidd laid a wreath on behalf of Neville Kidd’s family, dedicated to the memory of the Men of 19th July.

The Ode was recited by Professor The Hon Dame Marie Bashir, AD CVO,
former Governor of New South Wales and Honorary Member FFFAIF before the Last Post was sounded by Terry McCleary of the Fire and Rescue NSW Band followed by silence and The Rouse. Terry’s wife Leonie is a relative of Capt Archibald Gunter MC 54th Bn, Wounded at Fromelles.

 

Professor The Hon Dame Marie Bashir, AD CVO reciting The Ode. The Last Post was sounded by Bugler Terry McCleary of the Fire and Rescue NSW Band.

PTE Jessica Thomson, PTE Paige Millhouse and SMN Kenny Mejias

Flag Orderlies from The Royal Australian Navy and The Australian Army
Images by St Clare’s College, Waverley and Michael Mannington for Community Photography

RAN Flag Orderlies from HMAS Waterhen,
under the command of Chief Petty Officer Greg Morris

SMN Kenny Mejias – Flag Orderly
SMN Georgia Read – Flag Orderly
SMN Jack Speechly – Flag Orderly
AB Alex Bragg – Flag Orderly Flag Orderlies from the

Australian Army Flag Orderlies from Army Personnel Administrative Centre (APAC), Victoria Barracks under the command of MAJ Julie Appleby

PTE Paige Millhouse – Flag Orderly
PTE Jessica Thomson – Flag Orderly

The Choirs and the NSW Police Band led the singing of I Vow to Thee My Country before a closing prayer and blessing from Pastor Bob Durbin.

The Epilogue was delivered by President of FFFAIF, Jim Munro. Mr Munro thanked all those who have been involved in organising the Commemoration and acknowledged the presence of the defence personnel. Click here for a copy of Mr Munro’s Epilogue. Mr Munro commented:

“We remember the citizen soldiers who heard the call and took on responsibilities with consequences they did not fully understand and gave up their vocations to do what they saw as their duty. We thank those citizen soldiers and we thank the current professional soldiers both full-time and part-time for their preparedness for taking on the unforeseen risks and challenges in our technological and dynamic world.”

Mr Munro noted that there were several very special aspects of the Commemoration.
• Warrant Officer 2 Grumley who had led the Australian Army National Flag Party was able to be accompanied by three generations of his family who have also walked in the footsteps of Private William Grumley It is thought that he participated in the 1966 parade from the Archibald Fountain to this Anzac Memorial to ask the Trustees to always remember the service and sacrifice of their 5th Division comrades.
• Descendants were present for two of the seven soldiers who have had their identity returned and were to have headstones bearing their names dedicated at the Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery later that day: Private Arthur George BATT 32nd Bn and Private Edward James HOPE 54th Bn.
• Mr Munro then related the story of Cpl Leon Briand, one of the 160 French ANZACs. He fought at Gallipoli where he was seriously injured and was awarded a Military Medal for bravery. He returned to Australia in 1915 and spent a year recovering in Guildford, WA, before re-enlisting and re-joining his unit in France as Corporal in 1916. He was seriously wounded in the 1st Battle of Bullecourt, and was taken prisoner. Due to his injuries, he was repatriated by the Germans to Holland, then England and returned to Australia in 1918.
He had a hard life in Australia and separated from his family and lost touch with them. He died in 1966, destitute and was buried in an unmarked grave in Geraldton.
As part of the Guildford ANZAC’s project, his grave was located and in March this year a headstone was placed on his grave in the presence of his descendants, recording his war service.

Mr Munro concluded:

“It falls to us, and to our children, and succeeding generations to remember the service and sacrifice of those citizen soldiers who heard the call and joined the Australian Imperial Force, and to remember the impacts upon their families, friends and communities.
Lest We Forget.”

FFFAIF President Jim Munro delivers the Epilogue
Deputy Consul-General for the Republic of France, M. Pierre Bianconi, delivering a Message from France
Images by St Clare’s College, Waverley and Michael Mannington for Community Photography

The Deputy Consul-General for the Republic of France, M. Pierre Bianconi, delivered a Message from France, expressing appreciation for Australian support since The Great War and continuing today and the National Anthems of France, the United Kingdom and Australia were sung to close the commemoration.

NSW Police Band led by Acting Director of Music Anthony Brahe

Special thanks go to the Trustees of the Anzac Memorial, their staff, and contractors for providing the marquees and sound system. The presence of the Pastor Bob Durbin, Holy Family Choir of Menai, the Westleigh Probus Songsters, the NSW Police Band and The Australian Army Flag Party and the Flag Orderlies from the Royal Australian Navy, who along with the French War Veterans contributed significantly to the formality and dignity of the commemoration. Special Guests Professor The Hon Dame Marie Bashir, AD CVO, Deputy Consul-General Pierre Bianconi, Harry Allie BEM, James Griffin MP, Brigadier Michael Annett AM, Colonel Rob Lording, Chief Petty Officer Greg Morris and the Flag Orderlies and the Australian Army National Flag Party, Patrick Lindsay and the Students of St Clare’s College Waverley, Josie Shelley and Kevin Holmes who all enriched the Commemoration.

Procession Marshall Paul Simadas, Master of Ceremonies Darren Mitchell and FFFAIF Committee Members Margaret Snodgrass and Jill Hayes helped the Commemoration run smoothly. The Students of St Clare’s College with the guidance of Michael Burden Leader of Information Literacy and Innovation at St Clare’s College, Waverley with support from Ben Johnson, created a good photographic and video record and Michael Mannington for Community Photography who has contributed his photographs. Some of the photographs and video has been posted to the FFFAIF Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/FromellesDaySydney2019/ and are still available for viewing. Thanks also to the 7 Network News team including Reporter Chris Maher whose 6pm Bulletin report has enabled the Commemoration to be shared with a larger number of people.

Special thanks also to the Organising Committee of FFFAIF Members Margaret Snodgrass OAM, Darren Mitchell, Jill Hayes, Paul Simadas, Chris Bryett and Geoffrey Benn, Anzac Memorial Operations Manager Belinda Mitrovich and Visitor Services Coordinator, Jim Grey, Warrant Officer Class One David McGarry, Regimental Sergeant Major, Joint Ceremonial NSW of the Australian Army and Nick Young, Manager and Rosie Patrielli, Fundraising and Communications, Centenary of Anzac, Office for Veterans Affairs (NSW).

Jim Munro,
President of FFFAIF
July 2019

Special Thanks to:

Dame Marie Bashir, AD CVO, Deputy Consul-General Pierre Bianconi, HJames Griffin MP

Patrick Lindsay and the Students of St Clare’s College Waverley, Josie Shelley and Kevin Holmes

Brigadier Michael Annett AM, Colonel Rob Lording and the Australian Army National Flag Party

RAN Chief Petty Officer Greg Morris who managed the Flag Orderlies
SMN Georgia Read, PTE Paige Millhouse and SMN Kenny Mejias

Michael Burden, St Clare’s College with
WO1 David ‘Paddy” McGarry, Regimental Sergeant Major, Joint Ceremonial NSW

Flag Orderlies from HMAS Waterhen
Under the command of Chief Petty Officer Greg Morris

SMN Kenny Mejias – Flag Orderly
SMN Georgia Read – Flag Orderly
SMN Jack Speechly – Flag Orderly
AB Alex Bragg – Flag Orderly

Flag Orderlies from the Army Personnel Administrative Centre (APAC), Victoria Barracks
under the command of MAJ Julie Appleby

PTE Paige Millhouse – Flag Orderly
PTE Jessica Thomson – Flag Orderly

NSW Police Security Team           M. Jean-Louis Worobec & French War Veterans of NSW

Pipers Graham Wood and Jim Braid with Bugler Terry McCleary

Peter Olde, Director, Holy Family Choir Menai with the Westleigh Probus Songsters NSW Police Band led by Acting Director of Music Anthony Brahe

Procession Marshall Paul Simadas and Master of Ceremonies Darren Mitchell

 

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