WITH a newly-reformed RSL Sub-Branch, Aberdeen has enjoyed one of its most highly-supported Anzac Days to date.
Hundreds of people packed the main street on Wednesday morning to witness the march followed by a commemorative service, laying of wreaths and lunch hosted by the Aberdeen RSL and Citizens Club.
Aberdeen RSL Sub-Branch president Doug McLeod said it was one of the most well-attended Anzac services in Aberdeen in recent memory.
“It’s been wonderful community support,” he said.
“We have had a bigger crowd this year and the dawn service was well-attended.
“For the first time this year we had donated raffle items and a lunch which was completely donated thanks to Woolworths Muswellbrook and Scone.”
Special guests included Captain Campbell Barlow from the School of Infantry, SES members, Lions Club, Hunter Valley police, Upper Hunter Shire councillor Lorna Driscol and Aberdeen Fire Brigade.
It was also the first time Aberdeen had hosted a catafalque party and flag bearers from the 12/16 Hunter River Lancers.
The men carried long sticks named lancers – the first time this practice has been used in a commemorative service in the Hunter.
Shane Dawes from the 12/16 Hunter River Lancers said the group stems from the 12th Light Horse association.
“We originate back in the late 1800s,” he said.
“Initially to show that the Light Horsemen could ride, they used lancers and that was part of their initiation or selection process for the army or for the light horses.
“That selection process involved the lancers being utilised for picking up items on the ground.
“We’ve gone back to our initial history.
“This is our initial tradition in relation to lancers and this is the first time for numerous years that the lance has been introduced back into ceremonial parties.”
Sub-branch president Mr McLeod also offered a special thanks to their fabulous sponsors Equilaw solicitors, Woolworths, Dimmock’s Quality Meats, IGA, Foodworks, Pays Air Service and Bakers Delight.