Last St Albans Anzac Day service a success
- Credit: Archant
Veterans and military personal have commemorated soldiers from Commonwealth countries in St Albans for the last time.
There has been an Anzac Day service at Hatfield Road Cemetery for more than 25 years in memory of soldiers from nations including Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
The service in St Albans particularly remembers those who came to the city for medical treatment during the First World War - many of whom were subsequently buried in Hatfield Road Cemetery.
However, this year marks the final service to be held in St Albans because many of the veterans have now passed away.
Nearly 100 people attended the service, which was led by Canon Rev Tony Hurle and included a short address given by Rev Andrew Prout of Hatfield Road Methodist Church.
St Albans Mayor Cllr Mohammad Iqbal Zia, representatives from abroad, veterans from various military associations, the British Legion, and local cadet forces all attended the service.
Rob Tillotson of the St Albans Army Cadets said: “It was good, it was the first year we have done it to pay our respects and remember those who go to conflict and it is a chance to visit the Commonwealth graves which is something the cadets don’t normally get to do.
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“I can obviously see why it is stopping but I think it is a shame. Even if no-one is there it would be good to get a service in place to remember those soldiers in their passing.”
The cadets were led by detachment commander Gary Clark.
St Paul’s Church administrator, Helen Chilton, said: “It went really well, it was wonderful because we were lucky with the weather and we were able to be outside. We were very blessed in that way.”
She described it as “the right time” to end the tradition, as it is a century since the end of World War One.
The service ended with refreshments in St Paul’s Church and an opportunity to chat with the foreign visitors in attendance on the day.
Although the St Albans service was held on April 15, the official Anzac Day is on April 25.
This marks the 1915 date when the First Australian Imperial Force and New Zealand Army troops both landed on Turkey’s Gallipoli Peninsula at around dawn.
Just the next year, in 1916, Brisbane citizens voted unanimously to establish the commemoration day.