POZIERES COMMEMORATIVE SERVICE
(Story and photos by FFFAIF Vice President Jim Munro)
The annual Commemorative Service for the Battle of Pozieres was held at Saint Columba Church, Woollahra on Sunday 26 July 2009. The band of The Scots College Pipes and Drums heralded the start of the service as they marched down Ocean/Forth Street towards the church. Major General Craig D. Williams AM, Commander 2nd Division, took the salute.
Photo: Major General Craig D. Williams AM, Commander 2nd Division takes the salute accompanied by Rev. Dr. Alan Russell,
Major-General Sandy Pearson AO, DSO, OBE, MC (Retd) and Major-General Gordon Maitland AO OBE RFD ED (Retd)
More than 120 people attended the service at which the Members of the Association of the First Infantry Battalions and Association Des Anciens Combatants Francais (Association of French Veterans NSW) formed an honour guard as the flags of the First Battalion entered the church.
Photo: The Queen’s and Regimental Colours of the First Battalion entering the church carried by the Colour Party of the RNSWR
The standards were received at the altar by Rev. Dr. Alan Russell, who conducted the Service.
Photo: The Queen’s and Regimental Colours of the First Battalion being laid upon the altar during the service
The Australian and French flags were also laid up by Rev. Russell
The Last Post was played by Mr Arthur Clemlin and The Ode was recited by WO1 Wayne Skinner RSM 1/19th RNSWR. Reveille was sounded followed by The Lament.
The French National Anthem was played by pianist Mme Giselle Hoarau who accompanied the singing of the Australian National Anthem.
At the conclusion of the Service the Queen’s and Regimental Colours of the First Battalion were returned to the Colour Party of the RNSWR and the First Battalion Flag and flag of the Association Des Anciens Combatants Francais (Association of French Veterans NSW) were returned.
Photos above and below: At the conclusion of the Service the Australian and French flags were returned by Rev. Russell
Following the Service, there was an opportunity to reflect on the memory of those who lost their lives at Pozieres on 23 July 1916 while morning tea was served by members of the Congregation.
TheFamilies and Friends of the First AIFthanks the Australian, UK and French governments for affording Australian and British soldiers buried in mass graves at Pheasant Wood by German soldiers following the Battle of Fromelles on 19/20 July 1916 dignified individual reburials in a new CWGC cemetery at Fromelles, and applauds the joint decision to DNA test the remains at exhumation and use every reasonable method to attempt identification of each soldier.