A fly-past of three biplanes was the highlight of a huge Remembrance Day Commemoration at Ettalong Beach on November 11, honouring the 100th Anniversary of the end of World War One.
The commemoration was conducted by the Gosford SubBranch of the Vietnam Veterans, Peacekeepers and Peacemakers Association and attracted more than 1000 people. At 11am, a flight of three biplanes, similar to those used in World War One, fl ew over the gathering and were greeted with waves and cheers from the crowd. The guest speakers were Mr David Myers and Ms Marjorie Hines.
Mr Myers, who commands the National Service 1951-72 Reenactment Unit, spoke of his great uncle Private William Alexander Jamieson’s service in the 31st BN Australian Infantry 8th Infantry Brigade 5th Division. At 18-years-old, he travelled to Sydney with his mother and joined the Australian Armed Forces fighting his first major battle at Fromelles, France, on July 19, 1916, just three days after they arrived. The unit suffered 572 casualties, over half its strength. Mr Myers told the gathering that it was reported in records that William Alexander Jamieson suffered wounds on the fi rst day. “He was said to be not too badly wounded and walked to the Fleurbiax Dressing Station, Fromelles, from where he was taken away by ambulance, Mr Myers said.
“Conflicting reports state that on July 19, Private Jamieson, was rumoured to have been killed. “Other reports state that on July 21, he was still with his company. “He was deemed MIA on July 12, 1916. “German Prison of War records show he died of wounds on July 21, 1916,” Mr Myers told the audience. “He said Australian records state that William Alexander Jamieson was killed in action on July 21, 1916, aged 19, which was only 10 months after he enlisted and was buried in a mass grave at Pheasant Wood with over 400 bodies. Private Jamieson’s story took a new twist in 2013. Bodies in the mass grave were exhumed and 124 Australian soldiers killed during the Battle of Fromelles were identified by name through the use of family DNA technology, forensic science and historical data. William Alexander Jamieson was one of these.
In July 2014, he was reinterred in Pheasant Wood Military Cemetery with full military honours in an individual grave with his own headstone, at the Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery. Mr Myers said his son, Paul, his wife and two cousins attended that very moving ceremony. “For a very short time, William Alexander Jamieson served his country with honour, courage and in the spirit of ANZAC,” Mr Myers said. Majorie Hines of the Wyong Toastmasters Club gave an impassioned call for peace. Ms Hines was a little girl living in Birmingham, England, during the early part of World War Two. She barely escaped with her life when German bombers attacked the city destroying her home. When her house was engulfed in fi re, she was forced onto the roof from where she was luckily rescued.
Ms Hines told the gathering that she hated war but always supported soldiers who she said were only doing what their country demanded of them. While the Commemoration Service was organised by the SubBranch, there was considerable support form community organisations and individuals. Member for Gosford Ms Liesl Tesch, Cr Chris Holstein, who is patron of the sub-branch, and Federal Member for Robertson Ms Lucy Wicks and Senator Deborah O’Neill all attended. They lay wreaths during the ceremony along with representatives of defence and ex-service organisations and local members of the community.
Retired Uniting Church Minister, the Rev Arthur Pearce conducted the service and the Brisbane Waters Brass Band provided the music and the Last Post. Radio 50Plus, Woy Woy Rotary Club, Wyong Toastmasters Group and Umina Surf Life Saving Club all contributed. Army and Navy cadets units were also involved. The National Service 1951-72 Re-enactment Unit, kitted out in World War One replica uniforms, provided the catafalque party and honour guard.
SOURCE: Media release, 13 Nov 2018 Walter Pearson, Woy Woy