Century of remembrance marked

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Century of remembrance marked

Around 70 members of the public and invited guests accepted the invitation of the RSL Millicent Sub-branch to mark the centenary of the Millicent Cross of Sacrifice on Tuesday.

The commemoration took the form of a service at the cenotaph followed by a sit-down luncheon in the Millicent RSL War Memorial Hall for dignitaries and invited guests.

The Cross of Sacrifice was unveiled on December 5, 1923 by the then Governor of South Australia, His Excellency Lieutenant General Sir Tom Bridges.

The organising committee had invited the current Governor of South Australia, Her Excellency the Honourable Frances Adamson AC, to officiate at the service.

Although she had to decline this invitation due to other commitments, Her Excellency did pay her respects to the fallen on site less than a fortnight ago.

Her Excellency also arranged for RSL State president Dave Petersen to lay a wreath on her behalf at Tuesday’s commemoration.

Funded by public subscription and made of Grampians granite, the Cross of Sacrifice has the names of dozens of local service personnel who fell in World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War.

It is believed to be the only war memorial in Australia to carry an inscription attributed to late American president Abraham Lincoln.

Most of the traditional elements of a memorial service were retained including the Ode of Remembrance, Last Post, National Anthem and a minute’s silence.

Prayers were offered by Millicent RSL chaplain, retired pastor Paul Hales.

Appropriate music was played before, during and after the service by the Blue Lake Highland Band bagpipers Ross Anderson and Andrew Cruickshanks.

Addresses reflecting on the importance of the occasion were given by Member for MacKillop Nick McBride, Wattle Range Mayor Des Noll and Millicent RSL president Chris Mathias.

Mr McBride read a speech on behalf of State Veterans Affairs Minister Geoff Brock who could not be present.

Millicent Police officer in charge Senior Sergeant First Class Rick Errington told The SE Voice the Millicent Cross of Sacrifice was a place where local people were able to reflect on those who had given their lives.

“It is important the community does not forget their sacrifice,” he said.

Hatherleigh farmer Chris Skeer is the president of the Millicent Rotary Club and represented this service club on the day.

He was also a national serviceman from 1966-68 and served in Australia and Malaya.

“A lot of people passed through the National Serviceman system and a lot did not come back,” Mr Skeer said.

The other service clubs to be represented by their presidents were Lions (David Taylor) and Lioness (Yvonne Van Vlemen).

The presidents of the four neighbouring RSL branches were official guests namely Bob Sandow (Mount Gambier), Dennis Sigston (Kingston), Fred Wasson (Robe) and Peter DeGaris (Coonawarra/Penola).

There was a good representation of Millicent RSL members including newcomers David Smith and Ross McFarlane.

Army Reservist Corporal Joshua Clarke saluted after laying a wreath at the Cross of Sacrifice.

Cpl Clarke is based in Mt Gambier with the 10/27 battalion Royal South Australian Regiment.

He represented the Australian Defence Force at the 20-minute ceremony.

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