Tathra Anzac Day march, Gallipoli centenary service | Photos

THE sunrise spread golden light over the Tathra War Memorial, bringing with it the perfect start to the coastal town’s Anzac centenary service.

A large crowd of all ages gathered with reflective eyes and colourful wreaths to lie in memory of the tragedy that unfolded on the shores of Anzac Cove in Gallipoli, Turkey, 100 years ago.

Tathra resident and Lions Club member Rex Kermode lead the intimate dawn service and buglers Terry Twyford and John Winston played a humbling rendition of The Last Post.

Returned servicemen, their families and students from Tathra Primary School joined the Bega District Band march down Bega Street to join those gathered to witness the order of commemoration.

The prologue was read by Tathra resident Allen Collins who paid tribute to the deeds of war veterans past and present.

“Let us take strength in the knowledge and hope that our sons and daughters will never forget the examples set by their forefathers,” he said.

“We think of every man, woman and child who, in those crucial years, died so that the lights of freedom and humanity might continue to shine.”

Wreaths were laid at the memorial by community groups and members of the public as all in attendance paid their respects.

“At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them,” Mr Kermode said, his voice cutting through the warm morning air.

The Tathra Hospital Auxiliary’s handmade poppies stood a bright red against the green grass as the Uniting Church Choir led the singing of hymns.

Taking part in the march for the first time was Tathra resident Dennis Whitford, alongside his granddaughters Aysha and Shea Kelly, the three held framed photographs of three members of the family who died during the World War 1.

“I promised my dad I would march, but I didn’t want to wear someone else’s medals, so I haven’t marched until now” he said.

Holding a frame containing the medals of Jack Patrick Whiteford, he said it was his love of photography that led him to making the frames for the centenary service.

Jack was killed in action at Gallipoli nine months after enlisting on August 24, 1914, at the age of 20.

His brothers William and Eric also served in the war and their portraits were carried in the march by Aysha and Shea.

The difference in surname spelling comes from Mr Whitford’s great grandfather John who was a one time a convict who earned himself a ticket of leave, and changed his name to Whiteford to separate himself from his convict past.

Having recently discovered the story, Mr Whitford dropped the ‘e’ from his name.

“To servicemen and ex-servicemen please accept our best wishes, and good luck to you all,” Mr Kermode said before calling up all the New Zealand citizens present in the crowd to join in with the hymns.

“It wouldn’t be Anzac without the NZ,” Mr Kermode said.