History – Unveiling of the WW2 Honour Roll and Photographs

More than 200 residents of the Lansdowne district assembled in the Upper Lansdowne Memorial Hall, on Sunday afternoon, November 24th, to witness the unveiling of an Honor Roll, and the photographs of four of our boys who paid the supreme sacrifice while on active services. The Honor Roll contains the names of 70 men and women, all of whom enlisted from an area approximately seven miles long by 5 miles wide, and it is doubtful if many other areas of a similar nature could show a better performance.
The meeting opened by the singing of the National Anthem, after which the chairman (Mr C C Drury) extended a welcome to Mr L C Jordan, MLA, Mr W P Chapman (district president of patriotic societies), Mr Frank Belford (ex-president, Returned Soldiers’ League), Cr W McLaughlin (Manning Shire Council), Rev R A Munro and Major Bailey.
The chairman then read a very appropriate poem, after which he invited Mr Chapman, who spoke briefly, recalling to mind the inauguration of the local patriotic committee and keen enthusiasm displayed. “We realise our duty to returned men and the difficulties of rehabilitation”, concluded Mr Chapman.
Apologies were then read from the Rev. Mr Fullerton and Rev. Father Whibberley for non attendance.
Rev. Munro, on being invited to speak, said that three of the boys who had paid the supreme sacrifice were members of his church. He referred to early English history and the manner in which Christianity and English history worked in harmony. He sympathised with the bereaved. Like embroidery, it must be viewed from the right side to be beautiful; so also must we look at God’s plan from the right side.
Cr. W McLaughlin spoke of the lives of the young men and women who had rendered such good service, and said all were proud of them. He extended, on behalf of Manning Shire Council, sincere sympathy to the relatives of the bereaved.
Major Bailey, of the Salvation Army, said that recently, two returned men specially requested that the Band should play “Abide With Me”. They said it brought back old memories of days on “the other side”. At the Major’s request, the congregation joined in singing a verse of this grand old hymn. The two great wars were really only one war, with a breathing space between, during which an effort was made to build an enduring peace, declared Major Bailey. Tribute was also paid to those who stayed behind, particularly the old people who carried on under extreme difficulty. He also spoke of national days of prayer and God’s merciful intervention. He believed the British people were not deteriorating. In 1940 they stood against Hitler as they had done in 1804 against Napoleon. “Let us dedicate ourselves to stand by all for which so many men died”, the Major said in conclusion.
Mr Frank Belford spoke of the pride in which we hold our men and women who rendered service in world war 2. Although having lost two sons in the war, he thought it was not a day of sorrow, but of pride. He appealed for genuine sympathy towards returned men, many of whom now suffer great disabilities owing to war injuries, etc. He apologised for the unavoidable absence of their president (Mr Richardson), and extended the sympathy of the local branch of the R.S.L. to relatives of the men who will never return.
Mr L C Jordan, MLA, spoke of the pleasure it gave him to be present on such a memorable occasion to unveil the photos of the men who paid the supreme sacrifice, also to unveil the Honor Roll containing the names of 70 men and women who gave their services for King and country. He had been informed that the ages of the men who died on active service ranged from 21 to 37 years, one of whom had left behind a wife and children. The war, he said, revealed many reverses, but it gave us a Churchill. England and the Empire had gone to war in the cause of justice, and had for some considerable time stood alone against a terrible foe. Today, they stand in the vanguard and forefront of all important world affairs. Without England today, the world would be greatly impoverished. He was looking forward to better days and trusted that the tribulations of the past would contribute to a better world in the future. He deeply regretted that returned men were not getting number one priority; the 40 hour week and other political issues having superseded their rightful claim.
While the congregation stood, Mr Jordan very appropriately unveiled the four photographs, and many eyes were filled with tears as they looked upon the likenesses of four noble young men who had paid dearly for the liberty we now enjoy. The speaker referred to the difficulties of those who were called upon to carry on, but commended the community spirit of country people. He then unveiled the Honor Roll of 70 names, which bore the following inscription: “In honor of the men and women of Upper Lansdowne, who gave their services for King and country in word war 2, 1939-45”. “Think of Dunkirk and Milne Bay”, said the speaker “Might is not right, God overrules”.
At this stage, Mr C Bennett presented the relatives of the deceased servicemen with certificates expressing the sympathy of the residents of Upper Lansdowne in the very sad loss they had each sustained. These certificates were presented to the relatives of the late Bruce McLaughlin, Harold Christensen, Len Bartlett, Eric Fleming and Stan Unger, the photo of the last named having been unveiled on an earlier occasion.
Mr James McLaughlin, who with his wife had journeyed all the way from Sydney to be present at the ceremony, extended his thanks on behalf of the bereaved relatives and others, to the committee who had worked hard to make the occasion a success, and to the visitors who had travelled far to be present, and for their contribution to the meeting and their kind words of sympathy.
Mr H Bartlett seconded the vote of thanks, and expressed very deep appreciation of the many words of sympathy spoken.
Mr Jordan briefly responded. The singing of “The Recessional” brought to a close the end of a chapter, and an event that should long be remembered by all who were privileged to attend the ceremony that day.
“Lest We Forget, Lest We Forget!”