Ultimate sacrifice remembered

Ultimate sacrifice remembered

Agathering of 500, two guest speakers and a flypast by a vintage aircraft honoured wartime service and sacrifice at Beachport on Anzac Day on Thursday.

Not even showers at 5.30am could prevent a record crowd attendance.

It was an emotional homecoming for army officer and AFLW Crows footballer Lieutenant Jess Allan.

She had spent her formative years in Beachport when her family ran the seaside hotel and completed her secondary education at Millicent High School.

Lt Allan spoke about combining her dual roles of being an army officer and a semi-professional athlete.

As a coincidence, she had addressed the same gathering as a school student nine years ago after doing well in an essay competition relating to the hundredth anniversary of Gallipoli.

SERVICE HONOUR: Bill and Denise Gregurke, Annemarie Goods and Peter Burdon honoured those who served and continue to serve our great nation at the Beachport Anzac Day service. Pic: J.L. ‘Fred’ Smith

“I used information about two fallen Beachport World War I soldiers Walter Pretty and Russell Bosisto which I found in the local National Trust Museum,” Lt Allan said.

“The Anzac Legacy permeates everything I do.”

The other guest speaker was Vietnam War veteran Greg Carter who runs a veterans’ retreat in rural Victoria.

Mr Carter spoke about the first Gallipoli campaign, the role of animals in warfare and the devastating impact of serving in war zones on defence personnel.

Beachport’s observance of the 109th anniversary of the landing of Allied troops at Gallipoli had begun as dark clouds hovered over Rivoli Bay.

From 5.50am, lone bagpiper Janet Bellinger played traditional laments.

The dawn service was then held in the vicinity of the foreshore rotunda and flagpoles and was conducted by Bob Grieve of the Lions Club of Beachport and Rivoli Bay.

Beachport Lions Club volunteer breakfast cooks Haeyden Mansell, Garry Smith and Shannon Moran.

The Beachport sub-branch of the RSL closed over 30 years ago and the Lions Club reinstated the dawn service in 2010.

Mr Grieve explained the purpose and significance of Anzac Day.

Prayers were led by Anglican Church Lay Reader J.L “Fred” Smith and the national anthem was sung with the backing of the Beachport Ukelele Group.

Students from Beachport Primary School and Kangaroo Inn Area School participated in the events by laying wreaths and extending an “Acknowledgement of Country”.

Wreaths were also laid on behalf of a number of other organisations including Wattle Range Council, Beachport District Development Association, Beachport CFS, Lions Club of Beachport and Rivoli Bay, Beachport First Responders, Beachport Bowling Club, Beachport Ukelele Group, Beachport Meals on Wheels, Beachport police and the Beachport Surf Lifesaving Club.

The other traditional marks of respect like the raising of flags, playing of the Last Post and a minute’s silence were observed.

The flag raising duties were undertaken by Toni McGrath (New Zealand flag), Brevet Sergeant Rob Swift (Australian flag) and Jenny Bishop (Indigenous flag).

Vietnam War veteran Bob Wakelin usually undertakes the flag party duties but he was attending a reunion of his army unit in Queensland.

Lieutenant Sophie Corver, Lieutenant Jess Allan and Megan Allan.

Among those in the crowd were other Vietnam veterans and uniformed members of the SA Ambulance Service Beachport First Responders.

With near-perfect timing, Southend pilot Kym Redman flew his biplane over the gathering at the end of the service and dipped the wings in salute.

Following the dawn service, there was a breakfast of bacon and eggs provided by the Lions Club of Beachport and Rivoli Bay.

Club president Keith Sneath said well over 20 of his members were involved in staging the Anzac Day commemoration.

“We do this because Lions have been serving the Beachport community since 1980,” he said.

“If the Lions did not organise the Anzac Day observance, who would?”

His club accepted donations for the cooked breakfast to go to childhood cancer research which is part of the nationwide Lions Big Breakfast initiative.

There were a significant number of holidaymakers in attendance as Thursday became the first day of an unofficial four-day long weekend.

Beachport resident Heather Burdon captured highlights of the service on video and shared them via social media.

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