RSL Bribie Island. Anzac day.

Tags: RSL Bribie Island. Anzac day.

WEARING THEIR NAMES WITH PRIDE

Rotary and RSL Community Link Project

It was 104 years ago (1915) that the first Anzacs landed at Gallipoli. The name ANZAC means Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The Gallipoli campaign was not a successful one. Nearly 9,000 Australians lost their lives, with 2,000 dying on the first day of the 8-month campaign. Gallipoli had a deep impact on Australians at home, and 25 April soon became the day on which Australians remembered the sacrifice of those who died in the war.

Featured image(above): The Bribie Island contingent at the 2017 National Anzac Day March in Canberra

The first Anzac Day commemorations were held 25 April 1916 and today we remember those who died in all wars since “the War to end all Wars.” On a lighter note – it is also the only day “two-up” can legally be played in public. Thanks to the dedication and commitment of new Bribie Rotarian, Robyn Harper, and George Franklin of Bribie Island RSL, the Rotary Club of Bribie Island is proud to be the first local group to join the Bribie Island RSL’s Community Link Project.

The project is dedicated to keeping alive the names, memories, and deeds of departed Australian or Allied service veterans, no matter when or where they served or when they died. It does this by enabling people of all ages to attend remembrance services as the personal representative of the departed veteran. Bribie Rotary has paid for 37 local WWI and WWII veterans to be researched by Year 6 students at Bribie Island State School and Banksia Beach State School.

Students are presented with a Representatives Link Card and Memorial Plaque which shows the basic service details of the departed veteran, including a coloured ribbon bar indicating the medals to which the veteran was entitled. These can be worn at Anzac and Remembrance Day Services. On 19 March 2019, Mrs. Allison Lutton from Bribie Island State School was presented with a kit containing the plaques and cards for the 15 Bribie Island WWI and WWII veterans.

RSL Bribie Island. Anzac day.

The memorial plaque showing the Service Details for George Henry Boothe

Mrs. Sue Mackay from Banksia Beach State School was then presented with the kit containing the 22 plaques and cards for WWI and WWII veterans from surrounding districts. As well as the plaques and Community Link cards the kit contained a laminated list of the veterans each school would research and a research guide. The Year 6 students wore their plaques and Community Link cards at their school’s Anzac Day services held on 24 April 2019. Robyn Harper represented Rotary at Banksia Beach State School Anzac Service, our President John Oxenford attended the Bribie Island State School Service and our Youth Director, June Sturges attended the High School.

Rotary has been involved with the three schools and their very special Anzac Day services for many years. Every second year, since 1997, the Bribie Island RSL Sub-branch has taken a group of students from the local schools to Canberra to attend the Dawn Service and march in the National Parade. I usually represent my grandfather who died at Gallipoli and my father who won the Military Cross in the Buna Sanananda campaign in WWII, at the Canberra service. I always make a point of going over to see the Bribie contingent who lead the parade. These students wear the RSL Community Link cards and the plaques of their own family members whom they have researched.

My fellow Rotarian and local historian, Barry Clark wrote a marvelous article about “Those Who Answered the Call” for Issue 51 of the Bribie Islander. In this article, Barry told about the WWI and WWII men and women from Bribie Island, Toorbul and Donnybrook who served in our defence forces. These veterans have their names engraved on the Recognition plaques in Bongaree and are featured in the book “They Answered the Call” written by members of the Bribie Island Historical Society.

RSL Bribie Island. Anzac day.

Allison Lutton BISS, George Franklin (RSL Community Link) and Rotarian Robyn Harper

To help me better understand the research the students would need to do, I selected one plaque from the RSL Community Link kits, which were so professionally prepared by George Franklin. Following my research in the Australian War Memorial and the Australian National Archives websites, I found that George Henry Boothe served in both WWI and WWII. His WWI Service number was 3616 and his occupation was stockman. His rank was Private. George enlisted 20 October 1916 and his address at this time was Coonamble, NSW. His date of Embarkation for England was 24 January 1917.

He was a driver with the 4th Pioneer Battalion. He returned to Australia on 5 July 1919. On 27 May 1940, aged 56, George again enlisted and his Service Number was Q187425. His address at enlistment was Toorbul, Queensland. George served in Brisbane and Gaythorne and was discharged on 4 November 1944. His daughter Kathleen Violet Boothe Q267346 also served in the Australian Army Medical Women’s Service in General Hospitals in Brisbane.

RSL Bribie Island. Anzac day.

Robyn Harper with Sue Mackay from BBSS

Kathleen was only 18 years old at the time of her enlistment. So our Bribie students will help perpetuate the “Anzac legend” which is an important part of the identity of both nations. But it wasn’t just the bravery of our soldiers that became legendary, it was also their unique brand of humour which kept them going while in the trenches. The dark humour and “shit-stirring” was a defensive way of coping with horrors of war. An example of this humour from a book compiled in the Gallipoli trenches:

Sentry: Halt. Who goes there?
Voice: Demak Patel, 614, Corporal, Ceylon Rifles
Sentry: Pass friend.
Sentry: Halt. Who goes there?
Voice: Johnson, Otago Mounted Rifles, New Zealand Expeditionary Force.
Sentry: Pass friend.
Sentry: Halt. Who goes there?
Voice: What the F*** has it got to do with you?
Sentry: Pass, Australian.

This is such an incredible project and Bribie Rotary are very proud to be a part of an enduring program. More information about the project is available from Robyn Harper, robynlharper@hotmail.com or myself, annematthews49@icloud.com. Or RSL Community Link’s George Franklin, on 0438 216 039.

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