By Jim Birchall
A bright autumnal Sunday morning greeted an approximately 200-strong crowd at 2021’s Clevedon ANZAC Day commemorations. This year’s event took on special significance, as the monument, located at the end of its namesake road, turned 100.
Construction on the monument was completed in 1921 (the base concreted in 1928) and opened officially on the 28th of August 1921 amidst significant military ceremony. According to archival records, the Army Band of the 3rd Mounted Rifles came out from Auckland to play, and the B Squadron of the same unit formed the firing party to honour locals who fell in the Great War.
The unveiling was performed by Maria Munro, the mother of a local farrier named Robert William Munro, who was killed in action at Gallipoli in 1915.
In 1952, a stone was placed at the base of the existing structure to record the district’s casualties of World War Two. Here, the names of eight Clevedon men who never came home or died from war-related injuries or illnesses are immortalised. The dedication was performed on ANZAC Day of the same year.
This year’s remembrance started with a reading of the names of the fallen, followed by the customary laying of the wreaths by Clevedon community groups. Among the groups were representatives from Lions, Fire and Emergency NZ, Scouts and students from Clevedon School.
Duncan Munro, a descendant of the afore-mentioned Munro family, read the ode of reflection, and the flag was lowered to half-mast for the Last Post before being roused.
A local bagpiper, Stewart Lane, then performed the lament to the fallen and led a procession of villagers to the Clevedon Community Hall.
Here, the national anthems of both ANZAC nations were played, and In Flanders Field by John McRae was read by Evan Herbison-Scott and Hannah Hays. A message from Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy was delivered by Franklin Local Board Chairperson Angela Fulljames, and the day concluded with the organisers thanking all the singers, readers and volunteers who gave their time.
Lest we forget