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Fitting tribute for 100th anniversary of Armistice

Fitting tribute for 100th anniversary of Armistice

Tuesday 2 October 2018
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Bass Coast will host three Armistice Living Tribute performances this Saturday, 13 October in Inverloch, Wonthaggi and Cowes to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armistice.

The group ‘Cultural Infusion’ will be performing the living tribute shows, supported by the Wonthaggi Citizen’s Band and members of the local RSL, providing everyone in the shire a chance to learn more about some of World War One’s lesser known heroes.

The Inverloch performance of Armistice Living Tribute will be held inside the Inverloch Community Hub in A’Beckett Street at 10.00am.

The Wonthaggi performance will be at Apex Park on Murray Street at 12.30am, or in the case of wet weather, in the Wonthaggi Town Hall on Baillieu Street.

The final performance for the day will be held at the Town Square on Thompson Avenue at Cowes at 3.30pm. In the case of wet weather, the performance will be held inside the Cowes Cultural Centre.

The Armistice Living Tribute is a musical and acrobatic story of some of the least known and least likely heroes of the World War One. From 1914 until 1966, Australia’s military musicians had two roles to play – as members of the band and as stretcher-bearers and medics. It was a tradition that Australia inherited from the British army, but one that the Anzac musicians made their own.

At Gallipoli, in the trenches on Walker’s Ridge, under the command of General John Monash, the 15th Battalion Band gave a concert. The bandmaster, William Crane, received three cheers. It was to be his last appearance before being wounded and returned to Australia. By the end of the Gallipoli campaign, only eight of the original 31 members of the 15th Battalion Band remained. It was not their duties as musicians that caused them to be killed and wounded at such a high rate. It was their other job, as stretcher bearers.

The role of musicians as stretcher bearers continued until 1966, when the Brass Band of the 5th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment went into battle in Vietnam as armed stretcher bearers and medics. Their band members became the last Australian musicians to serve as stretcher bearers in battle. When 5RAR returned to Australia in 1967, the band was able to lead the battalion in a parade through Sydney, despite suffering its own casualties.