ANZAC Day was observed as a closed holiday in Frankston last Wednesday by many of the business people.
It was noteworthy that all returned soldiers closed their shops during the whole day. It is difficult to realise why the full significance of the day should appeal less to John Citizen than to the man who offered his all for the freedom of his country.
At 3 o’clock in the afternoon a commemorative service was held under the arch at the Honor Avenue.
The attendance was not as large as in former years, due no doubt to lack of proper organisation. The Frankston branch of the Returned Soldiers’ Association would find the general public not unwilling to assist in carrying out arrangements provided they were invited to do so.
The arch was draped with flags, the Union Jack and the Australian flags occupying prominent positions.
A large number of returned soldiers were in attendance. A lorry drawn up in front served as a platform on which was accommodated a piano used to assist in the singing. Mr. R. Fairnie acted as accompanist, and the opening hymn “All People That on Earth Do Dwell” went with a fine swing.
The popular Padre, Rev. Hugh Jones, of Ormond, conducted the proceedings.
The following prayer in commemoration of the fallen was given by Lieut. Well, of the Salvation Army,
“O Lord, Thou Lover of Souls, who through the mouth of Thy prophet of old his declared that all souls are Thine; we thank Thee for the brave and faithful dead who willingly laid down their lives on the battlefields in the war, or succumbed to the perils of the deep. We bless Thee for the dauntless courage of the sailors and soldiers of our Empire in the cause of truth and righteousness; in Thy hands, O Father, we leave their departed spirits, for Thou hast redeemed them through the blood of Thy dear son. Grant us so to follow their good example in faithfulness and endurance, even unto death, that we may be found worthy of the crown of everlasting life, through the merit of Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.”
After the hymn, “Nearer, My God to Thee,” Mr. W. E. Watkins read the 66th Psalm.
The Rev. A. P. McFarlane (Anglican) was the first speaker. He said that the gathering was essentially, a religious one. The people had assembled to thank God for all He has done for them and the passage of Scripture just read gave the keynote of the service.
They had to thank God that in the hour of danger the young men, whose deaths they were that day commemorating, were inspired to perform a noble and splendid work.
They did their duty in the face of appalling difficulties, going onward in the spirit of self-sacrifice while guns were belching forth death on every side.
They not only did their duty, but they did it bravely.
They gave their very best – all they had – their very lives. The speaker believed that all the events of life are entirely under the control of God, and praise and glory should be given to Him for such splendid men and all they did for us.
The Lord’s Prayer was then repeated by the congregation.
Rev. A. E. Wellard, (Methodist) said their was no need to hesitate in giving praise concerning the deeds at Gallipoli on 25th April, 1915. All the world acknowledged that the heroism of our soldiers on that occasion would never be forgotten.
Because of the noble deeds of our men we were proud to call them sons of Australia and their exploits had made us prouder of the Union Jack and our Australian flag.
The people of the present day should feel themselves pledged to peace, because of the great sacrifice they make to win freedom; and in striving to maintain peace we should exhibit the same magnificent faith and courage as did the men of 1915.
Many present day evils should be fought in the same way when nobility of character as well as courage was required.
Kipling’s “Recessional” was then sung.
Mr. W.E. Watkins (Presbyterian) felt it a great privilege to be asked by the Returned Soldiers’ League to say a word or two on this memorable occasion.
They were celebrating an event which stood out gloriously in the history of our young nation. He would not add to what previous speakers had said in extolling the heroism of our soldiers. It did not seem necessary.
One could only feel an infinite pity for those who did not appreciate the noble men of Anzac.
Mr. Watkins thought that consideration might be given to the manner of perpetuating the event.
There appeared to be no unanimity of opinion on the subject. Personally he thought the ceremony should have a religious setting.
The soldiers gave their lives for all the things that God loved best. Remembering this consideration should be given as to how best to conserve and bring into the National life the spirit that actuated our men on 25th April, 1915.
How best could we guard and preserve the essence of that great sacrifice. One day should be fixed to commemorate Anzac Day, and the speaker favored the fourth Sunday of April, when all the people throughout the land could take part in a service of sweet reasonableness and make resolves to live as nobly as our brave soldiers had died.
Rev. Hugh Jones opened his address by asking all who had visited the War Museum in Melbourne to hold up their hand.
He noticed that only a few could signify in the affirmative, and suggested that parents make a point of taking their children to view the Museum before it was removed to Sydney.
It would help them to visualise some of the ideas they had regarding the events of the Great War.
There they would see one of the boats, very much worn and broken; in which our men had made the landing on Gallipoli.
It was necessary that the young people should grow up in a full knowledge of all they owed to our soldiers. It seemed to him that the sacrifices of our men who gave their lives seemed to range in a measure alongside those of the one good Man: “No man taketh my life from me; I layeth it down of myself.”
Our soldiers had been no conscripts; they gave their lives voluntarily, as a duty to their country. These soldiers were our representatives; they went out to serve and to die and their actions seemed to represent the sacrifice of the only begotten Son.
His opinion was that we were not grateful enough to our returned soldiers; some of whom laid down their lives just as truly as those whose bodies were now under the sod.
He besought tolerance for the incapacitated, many of whom had their nervous systems shattered beyond hope of recovery.
Lieut.-Colonel Lazarus said that although he felt tempted to refer to the remarks of previous speakers, he had to remember that he had a distinct function to perform, and that was to make a final appeal for funds in connection with the Frankston soldiers’ memorial.
He could say, however, he viewed Anzac Day as much as a birthday, as the anniversary of the more sorrowful occasion connected with the passing of loved comrades.
Anzac Day represented a majestic birth – it was the birthday of glorious nation. Twelve, months ago he had appeared before the people of Frankston as a stranger. He had a distinct message that day, and he gratefully remembered how finely the people had responded to the appeal for funds for the solders’ memorial.
The date of the erection and unveiling of the memorial was now on site, and with the money he felt sure of collecting that day the fund would be closed.
In addition, the committee would have enough money to add another room to the soldiers’ club house.
From the pages of the Frankston and Somerville Standard, 25 & 27 Apr 1923