ANZAC Day - 2007

A Wet Sydney March
Dennis Norman



In Sydney, Anzac Day 2007 was overcast, wet and miserable. The weather report mentioned, yet again, that although the rain was pouring in the streets and going down the gutters of the city, very little was falling in the catchment areas! 80% of NSW is still in drought. In spite of the rain, large crowds again lined the streets of Sydney and welcomed all the troops, with many waving flags and still others, including Dick Smith, displaying signs reading THANK YOU

A quick phone around a few weeks ago to alert each other that the RAEME Assoc of NSW was holding a reunion after the march at the City Bowlers Club again helped us get organised.

The Form Up

dn81_tn dn82_tn dn83_tn dn84_tn

As we were told to be there to form up by 11:00 hrs I arrived about 10:30. Other 106ers including Brian Carter, Will Simpson and Laurie Finch were already there along with a lot of other RAEME old and bolds and the large contingent of regular RAEME soldiers. The latter were there not only to march with us but also to protect and escort the Prince Phillip Banner. Others including some from 101, 102 and various LADs joined us as we waited in the drizzle. Ross Kitchener turned up almost at the scheduled march off time and during a downpour that soaked the formed up, currently serving RAEME group who were left to stand out in the rain while the rest of us ran for cover

The Prince Phillip Banner

dn86_tn dn87_tn dn88_tn dn90_tn

The banner guard did a marvelous job of protecting the banner from everything except the weather - it got soaked. From what I was told in Brizzie in 2004 it costs a fortune to have it cleaned and cared for so I guess RAEME Assoc NSW is up for quite a large cleaning bill. The "march on" of the banner was very well executed - a bit of pomp and ceremony goes a long way I reckon.

The March

We were asked to form up early this year as we were all marching behind the Post WWII RAEME group. However, we ended up stepping off at around about the same time as ever — probably due to the inclement weather.

As we marched past the War Memorial in Martin Place the somberness of the occasion hit us all yet again. A quick eyes right, a quiet individual moment to remember those who have left us to grow old and then we wheeled left and paraded with the banner along George St. The very large crowd was still applauding us (after 3 hrs of it) and calling out "Thanks Boys" along with a boisterous group who were calling out "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie...Oi, Oi, Oi!!!" further on.

It's a thrill to see and march past the little old Legacy ladies seated in George St and to see them waving to us and to have the occasional child who reaches out for us to clip them on the hand as we march past. There were so many, probably a couple of hundred, in the RAEME contingent marching. Not being much of a social animal I don't know who most of them were but all were friendly and a few chatted away quietly as we marched along.

The Reunion

The reunion was held at the City Bowling Club in York St, Sydney where we could dry out on the outside and, at the same time, wet our insides. Those who paid for it got a terrific sit down smorgasbord with entree of prawns, mussels, seafood salad and potato veg salad. Mains included medallions of roast lamb, cold cuts and all sorts of vegetables. Dessert was a choice of cr�me caramel, chocolate slice and cream and fruit salad with tea/coffee to follow. Drinks were at club prices.

We were welcomed by the new President of the RAEME Assoc NSW, Brendan Robertson who, after thanking all including official guests, march party and the rest of the attendees then followed by requesting more help with future functions from members old and new. At our table a group of us ex 106ers and some of our partners had an enjoyable time catching up and relating stories of long ago.

We talked about others from interstate and wondered what they would be up to. At one point Ross Kitchener rang Alex "Rembrandt" Visser - who couldn't make it to the march due, among other things, to an ankle injury - at home and we each said hullo and wished him well. We remembered some who are no longer with us and the good times we had with them.

The time seemed to fly past and with more stories to tell but most being too weary from the early start to the day to listen, we at last called it a day and departed around 17:30 hrs. Brian "Same Same Monkey" Carter was given a large stack of coasters that had BC - for Bowling Club - on them but he thought they were after his initials so were his.

Some headed home on the public transport and others headed off for more evening activities at the Auburn RSL club.

Dennis "Magic" Norman