The Commemoration of the Centenary of the Battles of Third Ypres was held on the centenary of the Battle of Polygon Wood, Tuesday 26 September 2017 at the Anzac Memorial, Hyde Park Sydney. The commemoration honoured the 43 Divisions of British and Dominion troops involved in all the Battles of Third Ypres. The battles lasted for 102 days with more than 300,000 casualties. Australian Divisions participated in the battles of
Menin Road, 20-25 September;
Polygon Wood, 26 September to 3 October;
Broodseinde, 4 October;
Poelcapelle, 9 October; and
Passchendaele (First Battle), 12 October.
I ANZAC Corps, consisting of the 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th Australian Divisions and II ANZAC Corps consisting of the 3rd Australian Division, the New Zealand Division with 2 British Divisions on rotation, fought alongside each other for the first time.
Hosted by the Families and Friends of the First AIF (Australian Imperial Force), descendants of soldiers of the Great War, with representatives of the Belgian Government, civic leaders, descendant organisations, ex-service organisations, Members of the Centenary of Anzac Council, Trustees of the Anzac Memorial and Australian Defence Forces personnel honoured those who fought in the series of desperate battles.
Click on images to enlarge – Photographs by Rob Tuckwell
Whilst more than 100 guests gathered in bright sunshine, the Australian Army Band Sydney under the direction of Officer Commanding and Music Director, Major Matt Chilmaid played Nearer My God to Thee, and God Bless Australia as gathering songs.
Gathering Songs led by Australian Army Band Sydney with Major Matt Chilmaid
Guest of Honour, Professor the Hon. Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO was welcomed by FFFAIF President Jim Munro and Committee Member Jill Hayes and presented with a Rembrella poppy umbrella to protect her from the sun and in appreciation of her contribution to FFFAIF commemorations over recent years.
Other Guests included:
Mrs. Andrée Kerremans, Consul at the Embassy of Belgium
Mr. Paul Leroy, Honorary Consul of Belgium in New South Wales
The Hon. Natasha Maclaren-Jones MLC, representing The Hon David Elliott MP, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs
Councillor Christine Forster, representing The City of Sydney
Ms Louise Ferguson: Director, Strategy & Coordination, Educational Services representing the Secretary, Department of Education as Trustee of the Anzac Memorial
Professor John Ramsland OAM, Emeritus Professor of History, University of Newcastle
NSW Centenary of Anzac Advisory Councillors:
Mr Harry Allie BEM: Chair of the NSW Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Veterans Commemoration Service Committee;
Mr Ron Brown, President of the National Serviceman’s Association (NSW);
Mr Will Davies, Historian and author;
Lieutenant Colonel Colin Dunston RFD, Past President of Sydney Legacy;
Mr Joshua Favaloro;
Mrs Olwyn Green OAM, Korean War Widow;
Mrs Wendy Thompson, Past President NSW War Widows Guild of Australia; and
Mrs Diane Vogt representing the President, NSW War Widows Guild of Australia
Senior Defence Personnel
Lt. Col. Paul Simadas RFD, Headquarters, Australian Army Cadets, representing The Australian Army;
Wing Commander David Mason, representing RAAF AVM Steven Roberton DSC AM, Air Commander Australia; and
CAPT Stephen Bowater, representing RAN Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer AO CSC and Bar, Fleet Commander.
Mr Alexander Weilsmann, Director of Institutional Relationships & United Nations Day Adviser, United Nations Association Australia (NSW);
Mr Greg Cowle, President & Mrs Karen Dawson, Secretary, Australian World War One Descendants.
Click here to view the Order of Service.
The commemoration commenced with Professor Bashir being escorted to her seat by FFFAIF President Jim Munro and Committee Member Margaret Snodgrass OAM who, as FFFAIF’s Commemorations Officer, has met and welcomed guests at FFFAIF commemorations for the past 8 years, accompanied by NSW RSL Corps of Guards Adjutant Iain Finlay and Assistant Adjutant Pam Richardson.
Master of Ceremonies, and FFFAIF Member Darren Mitchell welcomed guests and invited Mr Harry Allie BEM, Chair of the NSW Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Veterans Commemoration Service Committee and a member of the NSW Centenary of Anzac Advisory Council to make an Acknowledgement of Country on behalf of indigenous elders.
You can hear Mr Harry Allie’s Acknowledgement of Country on the Anzac Memorial’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AnzacMemorial.
Led by the Australian Army Band Sydney featuring Musician Jeff Camilleri, the Recessional was sung.
Recessional led by Jeff Camilleri and the Australian Army Band Sydney
Capt. Stephen Bowater, Lt Col Paul Simadas, Wing Cmdr. David Mason, Natasha Maclaren-Jones, Harry Allie, Jill Hayes, Jim Munro, Dame Marie Bashir, Russell Curley, Craig Laffin, Andrée Kerremans, Paul Leroy, Pastor Bob Durbin, with NSW RSL Corps of Guards Adjutant Iain Findlay. [Click on images to enlarge]
A Vice Regal Message from His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia and FFFAIF Patron-in-Chief was read by MC Darren Mitchell. Click here to read the Vice-Regal message for Third Battle of Ypres.
Messages of appreciation from the people of Ieper and Belgium were conveyed by Mrs. Andrée Kerremans, Consul at the Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium
Click here to read the Message from Ieper.
You can hear Mrs. Andrée Kerremans’ Message from Belgium on the Anzac Memorial’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AnzacMemorial
The Hon. Natasha Maclaren-Jones MLC, representing The Hon David Elliott MP, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs pronounced a call to remember the Battles in Belgium in 1917.
You can hear The Hon. Natasha Maclaren-Jones’ Prologue on the Anzac Memorial’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AnzacMemorial
Pastor Bob Durbin, Chaplain, RSL LifeCare offered a Prayer.
Musician Amelia Johnson with the Australian Army Band Sydney led the singing of Abide with Me.
Abide with Me led by Amelia Johnson with the Australian Army Band Sydney
WCDR Mason, Natasha Maclaren-Jones, Harry Allie, Jill Hayes, Jim Munro, Dame Marie Bashir, Russell Curley, Craig Laffin, Andrée Kerremans, Paul Leroy, Pastor Bob Durbin.
[Click on images to enlarge]
Historian and FFFAIF member Emeritus Professor John Ramsland OAM in his Commemorative Address entitled, The Road to Passchendaele, gave his insights and reflections on the battles and the troops who had fought in firstly the dust and then with the onset of rains on a shell-pocked battlefield, in the mud. He commented on the purported disbelief of a senior British Officer saying, “Good God, did we really send men to fight in this?”, which combined with the photographic images of Frank Hurley along the Menin Road and at Passchendaele, have come to epitomise these battles.
Commemorative Address: The Road to Passchendaele delivered by Emeritus Professor John Ramsland OAM
You can hear Professor John Ramsland’s Commemorative Address, The Road to Passchendaele on the Anzac Memorial’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AnzacMemorial
Judy Wood, a FFFAIF member shared her Family Reflection with guests. She spoke of her great-uncle Private Harry Lisle, who enlisted when he was 23 and was with the 36th Bn when he was firstly reported as Missing and later as Killed In Action near Boston Farm as part of the Battle of Passchendaele on 12 October 1917. He has no known grave and is memorialised on the Menin Gate.
Judy Wood honouring her great-uncle Private Harry Lisle, 36 Bn in her Family Reflection
You can hear Judy Wood’s Family Reflection on the Anzac Memorial’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AnzacMemorial.
Piper Jim Braid of the NSW Scottish Regimental Association piped the Lament while wreaths were laid under the guidance of the NSW RSL Corps of Guards.
Laying wreaths were:
Mrs Andrée Kerremans, Consul, representing the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium together with Mr Paul Leroy, Honorary Consul; and
The Hon. Natasha Maclaren-Jones MLC, representing the Premier of NSW and Hon. David Elliott MP Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, on behalf of the NSW Government; along with
Councillor Christine Forster, on behalf of the City of Sydney.
Mr Harry Allie BEM, Chair of the NSW Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Veterans Commemoration Committee;
Professor the Hon. Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO; along with
Mrs Diane Vogt, representing the War Widows Guild, NSW.
Mr Jim Munro, President of the Families and Friends of the 1st AIF;
Mr Craig Laffin, Inaugural President FFFAIF; and
Mr Russell Curley, Immediate Past President FFFAIF,
‘in tribute to all those who served’.
Wreath laying – 3 FFFAIF Presidents Russ Curley, Jim Munro & Craig Laffin
Captain Stephen Bowater OAM RAN, representing Fleet Commander;
Lieutenant Colonel Paul Simadas RFD (Headquarters, Australian Army Cadets), representing Commander, Forces Command; and
Wing Commander David Mason, representing Air Commander Australia.
Capt. Stephen Bowater, Lt Col Paul Simadas, Wing Cmdr. David Mason
[click on images to enlarge]
Mr Ron Brown, President of the National Serviceman’s Association (NSW);
Lieutenant Colonel Colin Dunston RFD, Past President of Sydney Legacy; and
Mr Alexander Weilsmann, representing the United Nations Association Australia (NSW).
Wreath laying – Ron Brown, National Serviceman’s Assn, Lt Col Colin Dunstan, Legacy, Alexander Weilsmann United Nations Association Australia (NSW)
Mrs Pam Shadie, Mr Ken Shadie OAM and Mr Peter Shadie, FFFAIF, in memory of her father Pte. John George Coles Jameson 56th Bn, wounded in Polygon Wood on 26th September 1917; and
Greg Cowle, President & Karen Dawson, Secretary, Australian World War One Descendants.
Peter and Ken Shadie for Pte Jameson, Greg Cowle & Karen Dawson, Australian World War One Descendants
Pam and Ken Shadie, Peter Shadie and family
Other descendants at the commemoration honouring their relatives included:
Mr Geoff Horsnell, descendant of Private Bert Dyson (18th Bn) KIA 20 September 1917.
Frances Bluhdorn, grandson of Pte Louis Hollingworth Bluhdorn (2876) of 56th Battalion, sustaining shell wounds to his abdomen and chest during the Battle of Polygon Wood on 26 September 1917.
Mrs Christine Roever & Mrs Maureen Luke, grand-daughters of L/Cpl 2366 Claud Nancarrow (36th Bn) KIA 12 October 1917.
Mrs Nerida Kikken, commemorating close family friend Sapper 3641 Herbert Erkwell Archer Warr (4th Sigs Coy Field Engineers) KIA 28 October 1917.
Mr Warren Cardwell, descendent of Sergeant Alexander Hood (1st Tunnelling Coy) KIA 31 October 1917.
Mr Denis Tamplin, descendant of Lieutenant Roy Keene MC (2nd Field Artillery Brigade) KIA at ANZAC Ridge 16 November 1917.
Mr Neil Falconer, descendant of WOI 7111 Alexander Falconer (5th Field Ambulance Bde) RTA 15 May 1917.
Mr John Nairn, descendant of Private 3806 William John Hayward (12th Field Ambulance) RTA 8 November 1918.
Mr David and Mrs Jill Stevenson, descendants of Gunner Ernest George Stevenson (10th FAB) RTA 26 August1918 and Private Horace Armitage Montefiore (20th Bn).
Mr Norman Leek, son of George Harold Leek (33rd Bn) WIA RTA.
Greg and Debbie Rogers and great niece, honouring Greg’s 2 great-uncles Hector and Roy Goldsborough, and Debbie’s grandfather, William Wemyss Dobson.
Greg and Debbie Rogers and great niece
Greg was wearing his Vietnam service medals (2 tours), the WW2 medals of his father Hector Roy Rogers who was named for his 2 uncles Hector and Roy Goldsborough, Killed in Action in April and May of 1917 respectively at Bullecourt.
Debbie was wearing the medals of her grandfather, ANZAC veteran, 2087 William Wemyss Dobson, 3 Bn, who was wounded at Lone Pine. He died in 1963 and is buried in an unmarked grave at Rookwood Cemetery.
The Ode was recited by Mr Joshua Favaloro, a Member of NSW Centenary of Anzac Advisory Council before the Last Post was played by Bandsman Ross Griffiths of the Fire and Rescue NSW Band followed by Silence and The Rouse.
Mr Joshua Favaloro reciting The Ode, with MC Darren Mitchell
The Last Post sounded by Bugler Ross Griffiths, Piper Jim Braid and RAN Flag Orderly Ensign M Gunter
Pastor Bob Durbin with Tom Barker
Musician Amelia Johnson with the Australian Army Band Sydney sang Colin Buchanan and Garth Porter’s haunting composition Oh Passchendaele.
You can hear Musician Amelia Johnson’s rendition of Oh Passchendaele backed by the Australian Army Band Sydney on the Anzac Memorial’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AnzacMemorial.
After a closing prayer and blessing by Pastor Bob Durbin, the Epilogue was delivered by President of FFFAIF, Jim Munro.
Jim Munro conveyed that FFFAIF was honoured to be able to organise the Commemoration for the Battles of Third Ypres. It has been an aspiration for some years and is a significant achievement. Mr Munro acknowledged those who helped organise the commemoration.
Then in closing, he remembered 2 soldiers who fought in the Battles of Third Ypres, and are remembered by their families, however their families were not able to travel to the commemoration:
Harold Campbell, relative of FFFAIF Committee member, Maurice Campbell.
Sgt Harold CAMPBELL, 2388, 3rd Battalion AIF, served as sniper at Gallipoli, was gassed & wounded at Pozieres, and Killed in Action, Anzac Ridge, 7th October 1917, buried in Aeroplane Cemetery next to his Captain with the other seven men killed by the same shell, with a headstone marked “Known Unto God”.
William Russell, relative of Adrian Russell and the Russell and Jeffries families.
Arthur and William Russell two brothers took part in the Battle of Fromelles. Arthur was killed in action body not recovered and William wounded. William recovered and returned to the Western Front in November 1916 and continued to serve with the 54th Battalion until September 1917 when he was killed in action during the battle of Polygon Woods.
Mr Munro assured:
“Harold and William, we remember you, and all those who served with you,
Those who fell in battle, and those who returned.
The shattered families, the trauma and debilitating injuries that changed careers and opportunities,
the disabled and institutionalised men who could barely play any part in the country that had asked them to give their all –
we owe it to them and their families to honour their service and sacrifice.
Lest we Forget.”
You can hear Jim Munro’s Epilogue on the Anzac Memorial’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AnzacMemorial.
The National Anthem of the Kingdom of Belgium was sung in Flemish by Musician Amelia Johnson, the New Zealand National Anthem was sung by Musician Jeff Camilleri, Musician Amelia Johnson also led the singing of God Save the Queen, the UK National Anthem and the National Anthem of Australia at the time of The Great War, and Jeff Camilleri led the singing of the Australian National Anthem with the Australian Army Band Sydney.
The Belgium National Anthem led by Amelia Johnson with the Australian Army Band Sydney
The Australian Army Band Sydney playing the New Zealand National Anthem led by Jeff Camilleri
The Australian Army Band Sydney playing God Save the Queen led by Amelia Johnson
Australian Nation Anthem led by Jeff Camilleri with the Australian Army Band Sydney
You can hear The National Anthems on the Anzac Memorial’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AnzacMemorial.
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 Australian Army Band Sydney under the direction of Officer Commanding and Music Director, Major Matt Chilmaid and in particular Musicians Amelia Johnson and Jeff Camilleri for showing us how commemorations can be enhanced with songs and music.
With special appreciation to the Australian Army Band Sydney with Major Matt Chilmaid
Pastor Bob Durbin, Chaplain at RSL LifeCare offered solemn prayer, to help when struggling with our thoughts and words.
Piper Jim Braid of NSW Scottish Regimental Association for his piping of the Lament.
Bandsman Ross Griffiths Fire and Rescue New South Wales Band for evoking the link to the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate in Ieper where the Buglers of the Fire Brigades salute the service of their military comrades nightly.
Warrant Officer Class One Rod Cornick OAM, Regimental Sergeant Major, Joint Ceremonial NSW of the Australian Army and the flag orderlies of the Royal Australian Navy, who along with the NSW RSL Corps of Guards led by Adjutant Iain Finlay and Assistant Adjutant Pam Richardson, contributed significantly to the solemnity and formality of the commemoration.
Photographer Rob Tuckwell has created a good photographic record, which contributes significantly to this Report.
Rosie Patrielli, from the Office for Veterans Affairs (NSW) for streaming parts of the service live to the Anzac Memorial’s Facebook page so that this commemoration can be viewed by others across Australia and indeed across the world who were not able to attend the commemoration but would like to honour those who served in the Battles of Third Ypres.
Special thanks also to the FFFAIF Extended Working Group Members Darren Mitchell and Geoff Lewis, Anzac Memorial Senior Operations Coordinator Belinda Mitrovich and Property Manager, Michael Trenear, NSW RSL Corps of Guards Adjutant Iain Finlay and Assistant Adjutant Pam Richardson, Regimental Sergeant Major Warrant Officer Class One Rod Cornick OAM, with input and assistance from FFFAIF members Margaret Snodgrass, Jill Hayes and Alexander Weilsmann.
And thanks to those who participated in the Commemoration Service:
- Mr Harry Allie BEM: Chair of the NSW Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Veterans Commemoration Service Committee;
- Consul at the Embassy of Belgium, Mrs. Andrée Kerremans and Mr. Paul Leroy, Honorary Consul of Belgium in New South Wales;
- The Hon. Natasha Maclaren-Jones MLC, representing The Hon David Elliott MP, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs;
- Emeritus Professor John Ramsland OAM;
- Mr Joshua Favaloro, member of the NSW Centenary of Anzac Advisory Council.
- And Master of Ceremonies, Darren Mitchell
And thanks to all the dignitaries, civic and military leaders, descendants and representatives of ex-service and descendant organisations as well as descendants and friends who have attended the Commemoration and helped mark this historic and significant commemoration.
And finally, we thank those who served in The Great War, and in particular, those who participated in the Battles of Third Ypres, and their families.
Lest We Forget
Jim Munro, President of FFFAIF
Chair, FFFAIF Commemoration Working Group