War service honoured with flypast

A gathering of 400 and a flypast by an aircraft honoured wartime service and sacrifice at Beachport on Anzac Day.

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

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

Mr Benson explained the purpose and significance of Anzac Day.

With the sun breaking over the Woakwine Range, bagpiper Janet Bellinger started proceedings playing at 5.50am.

Prayers were led by Anglican Church Lay Reader J.L “Fred” Smith and the national anthem was sung.

Students from Beachport Primary School and Kangaroo Inn Area School participated in the events by laying wreaths and reading snippets of history.

Wreaths were also laid on behalf of a number of other organisations including Wattle Range Council, Beachport District Development Association, Lions Club of Beachport and Rivoli Bay, Beachport First Responders, Geelong Vietnam Veterans Association, Beachport police and the Beachport Surf Lifesaving Club.

The other traditional marks of respect like the raising of the Australian flag, singing the national anthem, playing of the Last Post and a minute’s silence were observed.

The Ode of Remembrance was recited by Vietnam War veteran Bob Wakelin.

The flag raising duties were undertaken by Stacey Benson (New Zealand flag), Bob Grieve (Australian flag) and Jenny Bishop (Indigenous flag).

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

Southend pilot Kim Redman flew his vintage bi-plane over the service at its conclusion and dipped his wings in tribute.

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

Club president and former Royal Australian Navy sailor Garry Smith said 26 of his members were involved in staging the Anzac Day commemoration and associated events.

“We accepted donations for the cooked breakfast to go to the Lions Childhood Cancer Research Foundation,” Mr Smith said.

“The Lions Club has a sense of community and we bring people together on Anzac Day.

“We commemorate the fallen and honour those who have served.”

There were a significant number of holidaymakers in attendance including Taine Lang, of Bendigo.

“I always attend an Anzac Day service wherever I may be and pay my respects,” he said.

Beachport has a special place in Australian wartime history as it was the first place to suffer casualties during World War II.

It was 80 years last July since two sailors were killed while attempting to detonate an enemy mine which had floated into Rivoli Bay.

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