Hopes are high that an extra special guest will be laying a wreath at this year’s Remembrance Day service at the Brighton Cenotaph, Green Point.
Much loved digger, Alec McClure, 94, has been given the top job of laying a wreath in honour the HQ Aust 3rd Division – of which only 3 members, are still alive today.
Alec will be one of more than ten people who will lay a wreath at the Bayside Remembrance Day Ceremony that will feature Trumpeter Jamie Papps from St Leonards College, the guard and guard commander from the Mentone Grammar Army Cadet Unit and others representing the Royal Australian Navy, the Australian SAS Association, The Royal Australian Engineers and the 2/23rd Battalion 9th Division.
Alec, and his two brothers, joined the troops in the HQ Aust 3rd Division during WW2 and spent time New Guinea and on Bougainville Island as a driver in WW2.
All three boys made it home alive and soon after bought land, built their homes and raised their families in Wellington St, Beaumaris and Sandringham.
“Dad lived in Beaumaris for 63 year and built our home after being retrained as a carpenter after the war,” tells Alec’s daughter Jane McClure.
“He has also been a keen yachtsman, sailed the Sydney to Hobart several times, and is Life Member at the Black Rock Yacht club,” adds Jane.
Now not even a recent serious medical condition will keep Alec from his special duties to honour the WW1 diggers and his WWII mates at Bayside’s Remembrance Day service on Saturday 11 November, 2017 – almost a century after the end of the Great War.
“It’s not just another day to them,” says Louise Appleby, daughter of Wal Appleby a divisional mate of Alec’s who has now passed on and who co-ordinates the unit’s reunion for its 3 remaining members.
“Remembrance Day means everything to them,” says Louise.
“It means the world that people still stop to remember and it tells them that we have not forgotten what they did.
“Also it’s a day when the fellas give themselves permission to talk about it and to remember the stories they were told to keep quiet about when they came home,” tells Louise.
“They don’t talk about the harsh ones too much but you get answers to things that you never knew – like the reason that my dad never ate baked beans was because he was fed them every day for 49 days.
“Or that while they had 6 months of eating raspberry jam the delight that there was when it changed to apricot,” laughs Louise.
The Remembrance service will be held at Brighton’s Green Point Cenotaph that was unveiled in 1927 to commemorate those who served in World War I and later rededicated to all who have served in the various conflicts and peacekeeping campaigns Australia has been involved in.
Remembrance Day provides commemorates the day in 1918 when the guns fell silent on the Western Front signalling the end of WW1 and provides an opportunity to remember the 60,000+ Australian men and women who died in the service of our country during WW1.
Everyone is welcome to attend the Remembrance Day Service to be held at the Cenotaph at 10:45am on Saturday 11 November.
For further information visit the event page.
Alec on a barge to Bougainville Island (centre on bow in slouch hat)