Remembering Anzac heroes at St Albans service

A special Anzac service was held in St Albans

A special Anzac service was held in St Albans - Credit: photo supplied

The centenary of the Gallipoli campaign, a major engagement of the First World War, was commemorated at a special Anzac service in St Albans on Sunday.

St Albans Mayor Cllr Geoff Harrison represented the district at the service which took place by the war memorial in Hatfield Road Cemetery.

It was held ahead of Anzac Day, a national day of commemoration observed on April 25 each year in Australia and New Zealand, to remember those who perished.

Canon Tony Hurle from St Paul’s Church led the service, while Lionel Wallace, Deputy Lieutenant of Herts, gave the address.

Also attending were Captain Warren Bairstow, RAN, the Australian Naval adviser, and representatives of the New Zealand government.

Representatives of the Royal British Legion, the Royal Air Forces Association (RAFA), Burma Star and cadets from No.220 (St Albans) Squadron Air Training Corps. The Last Post was played by Julie Littlemore of St Albans Brass Band.

The campaign involved more than 400,000 British, over 40,000 French and around 140,000 Commonwealth and Irish servicemen.

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It saw a higher number of Australian and New Zealand deaths than in any previous conflict.

Cllr Harrison said: “The First World War involved devastating loss of life and destruction.

“It also saw incredible acts of heroism and bravery in nearly every corner of the world. The centenary of the Gallipoli campaign remembers the sacrifice made by so many, not least the contribution of Commonwealth troops including the Anzac forces from Australia and New Zealand.”

He added: “It was fitting that the service took place in Hatfield Road cemetery where servicemen from Australia and other Commonwealth countries who served in the First World War are buried.”

• A Victoria Cross commemorative paving stone is being laid at St Albans war memorial, St Peter’s Street, next Friday, May 1, to honour First World War hero Private Edward Warner, who was born in the city. His family will lay the stone at a special ceremony that starts at 4.30pm.

The ceremony is taking place 100 years to the day of his act of bravery, defending a trench from attack before he was killed by poison gas.

Prior to the ceremony Private Warner’s family will join the Mayor and dignitaries in a procession from St Peter’s churchyard to the memorial. Pupils from Aboyne Lodge School will read a citation detailing his act of bravery.

The stone will be unveiled and laid by his family, after which the Mayor will lay a wreath, followed by the Last Post played by John Back, and a prayer and blessing given by Reverend Anne Hollinghurst.

The Mayor said: “Please come along to the ceremony on May 1 and join us in remembering Private Warner. This special stone is being laid to honour [his] bravery.”