The Nostalgia of Cemeteries – part 2

In May 2015 I wrote about a visit to the West Terrace Cemetery.  As a part of that story I also commented on the unmarked grave of a firefighter, killed in the City of Singapore Ship fire at Port Adelaide.  Since then the challenges of research revealed that Albert Greenman was also a WW I – Western Front – returned soldier.  His unmarked grave gives no recognition to his service to Australia both in war and peace.

The Metropolitan Fire Service is supportive of providing some form of recognition on his grave.  However, all efforts to find any surviving family has, until today, drawn a blank.  As testament to the value and power of research and the internet, a nephew of Albert found my 2015 blog and has contacted me.

While it is still too early to predict what may eventuate from this online meeting, I am hopeful of a headstone being placed on Albert’s grave.  I’ll keep you posted on any progress via my blog.

Dawn Service – 2015

Poppies on display

Poppies on display

Eighteen months ago I presented a paper on my family’s 100 years of connection to war, 1913-2013.  This morning I commemorated the 100 year remembrance of the first landing at Gallipoli, by attending the Dawn Service at the Norwood Cenotaph.

When I was a child, I attended similar services with my father, here at Norwood and also in the city at the State War Memorial.  In the soft darkness before dawn it was quiet cold, but the atmosphere was quiet, respectful and there were more than 600 people there.  The youngest I saw was a babe in arms, but so many young children and teenagers attended, supporting those older men and women who had obviously served our country.  The hour-long service included some beautiful singing from students at the local Marryatville Primary School.


Dr Leanne Glenny and David Sweet


The Cenotaph at Norwood with memorial wreaths


A display of poppies created by a local primary school

Afterwards we met up with colleague Dr Leanne Glenny and her husband Roger, who both served in the Australian (Leanne) and New Zealand (Roger) Defense Services. A typical Anzac Day breakfast of eggs, bacon and toast, with coffee, afterwards, was most welcome.

Back home I watched the Tv coverage Anzac Day march through Adelaide and was pleased to see some ‘mates’ who served in Vietnam and other areas of conflict marching.  Then I was moved by the ceremony televised from Anzac Cove.  Politics aside, the speeches were appropriate, respectful and recognised all sides in this bloody conflict.

While today we remembered those who were, and remain, our Anzacs over the next three years similar centenary events will take place to honour those who were in France on the Western Front.

Lest we forget.

Look in the mirror

Service MedalsI normally refrain from commenting on newspaper reports or ill informed rants on social media.  So often the Australian media is opinion and not reporting, and social media, well that seems to cater for 150 characters of typing and not much else.

Reported in mainstream media last night and today has been the claim that Woolworths either mistakenly or deliberately tried to make some commercial mileage out of the approaching centenary celebrations around our ANZAC tradition.  This has led to a flurry of social media comments.  What has annoyed me more than Woolies making a singularly bad corporate decision has been to number of people who have dismissed this incident as something nothing.  That disappoints me, so I have this to say.

To those who are claiming that this is a non-story, or not important please stand in front of the mirror and open your eyes.  You (and we in Australia) are enjoying your/our freedom and quality of living today, because of the sacrifices these men and women (and their families) have made over decades.  It is not glorifying war or conflict, it is about the safety and protection of a way of life we have come to expect.  No, I have not served in a theatre of war, but I certainly respect and honour those who have.   ANZAC is a time of reflection that must not be sullied by crass commercialism by Woolworths, any other business, or an individual.

Lest we forget.