Remembrance Day 2015 in Wollongong

I went along to the ceremony this year. My photos are not great as my camera is small, the light could have been better, and I was standing back keeping a low profile. The Illawarra Mercury has some much better shots and a report.

Nearby, Paul Cracknell was wearing the naval medals won by his father, who ran away age 15 to World War I, then came out of the reserves when it was time to go one more in 1939.

Ray Reay and Alf Green were National Servicemen mid-last century, and they are still involved with their comrades though the “Nashos” association.

And they joined a diverse crowd in true Wollongong style – from school students to members of the armed forces, police and ambulance officers, tattooed twentysomethings and workers in their high-vis.

Somehow, as Ted Millner lifted his bugle for a stunning rendition of the Last Post, every car in the city centre seemed to suddenly go quiet.

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Nice to see the red ensign on display.

…the blue ensign became Australia′s national flag only in 1954. Prior to that date, its use by ordinary citizens was strongly and actively discouraged. The blue flag was not some glorious and romantic flag of the people, but an instrument of Government, much like the Coat of Arms.

This meant that the public didn’t officially have a flag to fly other than the Union Jack, which is what many people did. In this official vacuum, if anyone wanted a more Australian symbol they used the red ensign as a de-facto Civil Flag. It was not strictly correct, but it happened at every level of the community, including the Armed Services…

…there is a wealth of pictorial evidence which proves that the red ensign was the flag which both the public and members of the Armed Services overwhelmingly related to and “adopted” as Australia′s de-facto national flag prior to 1954. This period of course includes both World War I and World War II.

In fact, in 1967, prime minister Robert Menzies wrote in his book Afternoon Light, Some Memories of Men and Events

“In the year of my birth 1894 – Queen Victoria was on the throne of the United Kingdom and Ireland and the Dominions and Colonies beyond the Seas… For us, the maps of the world were patterned with great areas of red, at a time when red was a respectable colour.”…

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