The RAE Association was once again invited to participate in the 2022 Pre-Anzac Day march conducted by the Ringwood RSL. The march commences at Target Square and includes many local groups such as veterans, Scouts, Army and Air Force Cadets along with community groups.
Marching for the first time this year were members of the South African Defence Force who were regular participants in the now ceased Reserve Forces Day (RFD). Always very smartly dressed they won many awards during the RFD parades for dress and bearing – great to have them on board and to catch up with them after the march.
This march is a family day activity with many young children representing their loved ones and able to happily march as the guidelines are not as strict as with the Anzac Day city march. In fact I welcomed my daughter and granddaughter (Kylie and Ellie) who marched for the first time.
The day was clear and fresh but no rain so we had a reasonable turnout of about 30 marching behind the banner.
The President Don Hughes did not attend due to illness so the RAE Association was led in the march by CAPT Noel Tipton. The Association was supported with our banner by members of 22 Engineer Regiment (Sappers Jamie Oppler-Lawrence and Raphael Maranon) and we must pay thanks to the Regiment for their support at such a busy time for the Regiment. By having the banner carried it allows the members of the Association to march with their family and friends and not have to worry about this task – with minimal instruction Jamie and Raphael completed the task to the highest standard and certainly did their Regiment proud.
The Regiment provided a cenotaph party for the formal activity at the clock tower and the drill was performed to a remarkably high standard – In charge was CPL Scott Eaton and they can all be proud that they represented the Regiment to the highest standard.
A service was conducted by the RSL at the clock tower including wreath laying, speeches, and the normal formalities. In the absence of Don Hughes Kevin Moss laid a wreath on behalf of the Association, its members and all sappers.
In addition to the normal Anzac Day formalities there was an unveiling ceremony conducted for 2 new plaques that have been installed at the Clock Tower recognising post 1975 veterans. This project was at the instigation of Don Hughes who overcame many barriers to bring it to a successful conclusion – a wonderful recognition and tribute to these veterans – well done Don. CAPT Tipton, being one of these veterans delivered, a wonderful speech.
Following formalities at the Clock Tower the gathering moved back to the RSL where finger food and drinks were provided and where everyone had the opportunity of catching up and enjoy the day.
All in all a successful day only made possible by the outstanding support of the members of the Association, their family and friends. The day also provided the opportunity to march behind our banner and be on display within our local area of Ringwood. By participating with the RSL on this special day it strengthens our ties with the RSL
Without doubt a wonderful day and one that I hope we will continue to support for many years to come