FREMANTLE’S Anzac Day Dawn Service attracted a crowd of more than 4000 at Monument Hill on Tuesday.
Those who gathered paid their respects to the city’s fallen soldiers, with monument warden and RAN captain Angela Bond making special mention of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.
“The greater Fremantle area has been proudly represented in the Australian military and has been centre to much activity to support war efforts,” Capt Bond said.
“The Port of Fremantle has seen many Australian and New Zealand service personal depart for foreign shores…some from World War I never quite made it home.”
Army reservist Lieutenant Colonel Robert Coales gave the Anzac address and said the Anzac spirit was born at Gallipoli but still burned strong.
“From the shores of Gallipoli to the jungle of New Guinea from the valleys of Kapyong to the deluges of Vietnam, from the streets of Delhi or here at home, our army is an army for our nation,” he said.
“The Anzac spirit lives on in all of us.”
The wreath laying ceremony saw a variety of leaders and loved ones paying tribute to each Anzac campaign, before members of the public were invited to lay their flowers on the monument.
Fremantle mayor Hannah Fitzhardinge spoke of her grandfather John’s bravery in WWII when he jumped from an improvised barge full of Anzacs trying to escape Crete and swam to negotiate the surrender of their officers with an approaching enemy ship.
She noted similarities with young Italian fisherman Vincenzo Carbonaro, who jumped off his fishing boat as a 15-year-old when the British submarine Triumph opened fire on the unarmed crew.
After the war both men ended up in Fremantle where they forged respected careers, her grandfather as an architect and Mr Carbonaro as one of the port city’s pioneering fishing families.
At 10.15am crowds formed around Henry Street for the Anzac parade, though the Chook noticed many families weren’t quite as stoic as the marching veterans and retreated as heavy rain fell.
The march concluded in Wyalup Koort where a sea of poppies had been created on the grassed slope of the new civic centre and former comrades embraced each other before heading off to pubs and RSLs to share stories and thank their lucky stars they’d made it home alive.
“Life reflected new opportunities,’ former captain George Booth said.
‘It connects us’
DAVID ARNOLD (above) spent three years in the British army before moving to Australia 50 years ago and signing on with the Army Reserve.
Rising to the rank of warrant officer, Mr Arnold never had the opportunity of serving overseas, but says the Anzac values are still important to him.
“I have been to Gallipoli with my son in 2005,” he said.
Although he has an armed services connection to both England and Australia, Mr Arnold says its Down Under where he feels a closer patriotic attachment to the Anzac values.
“In England it’s different; it does feel further in terms of culture, but here it does connect to us all.
by JOLANTA KIRCHNER and OLIVIA NIXON