A bit about this event
The RSL Sub-branch is holding a service at 10.45am on Remembrance Day, 11th November, at the Memorial Wall in the grounds of the Hall.
History of Remembrance Day
Words by Richard Pelvin
At 11 o’clock on 11 November 1918, fighting in the First World War – the most destructive war fought to that date – came to a formal close as Germany, the Allied Powers and the United States concluded an Armistice. Turkey and Austria-Hungary had ceased fighting some days earlier.
The mass armies and unprecedented industrialisation that were salient features of the war had led to a deadlock in Northern France and Belgium that had required four terrible years of attritional warfare and economic blockade to break.
The result was a horrendous casualty list for all the major combatants that shocked their people. Total casualties for WWI are estimated at 20 million dead and 20 million injured.
Australia was a small nation with a population of fewer than five million. From this small population base, no less than 416,809 men enlisted of which 302,000 served overseas. Of these, 62,000 were killed and 155,000 wounded.
At least a further 8,000 died of war-related injuries after the war. These figures do not include the neurological trauma inflicted on so many soldiers, which negatively affected their lives and those of their families for many years afterwards.
In these circumstances, it is no surprise that 11 November – the day the carnage stopped – became a date of enduring significance. Armistice Day, as it was known, became the day to commemorate the sacrifice of the war.
The First Remembrance Day Commemoration
The first commemoration was at the Cenotaph in London on the first anniversary of the end of the war, and it was on this occasion that the tradition of maintaining two minutes silence from 11am was introduced.
Although the idea of a commemorative silence was first suggested by a London-based Australian journalist, Edward Honey, the tradition originated in South Africa during the war and passed to London in 1919 where it was approved by King George V, immediately prior to the Armistice Day commemoration.
He requested that the custom be observed throughout the Empire. The length of silence has since been reduced to one minute. It is preceded by the Last Post and followed by the rousing strains of the Reveille.