ANZAC DAY GALLERY, VIDEO: Wodonga dawn service 'just gets bigger and bigger'

A member of the catafalque party stands guard at the Wodonga dawn service at Woodland Grove. Pictures: DAVID THORPE
A member of the catafalque party stands guard at the Wodonga dawn service at Woodland Grove. Pictures: DAVID THORPE
Wodonga RSL president Kevyn Williams lays a wreath at the cenotaph at Woodland Grove.

Wodonga RSL president Kevyn Williams lays a wreath at the cenotaph at Woodland Grove.

The Wodonga dawn service at Woodland Grove.

The Wodonga dawn service at Woodland Grove.

The Wodonga dawn service at Woodland Grove.

The Wodonga dawn service at Woodland Grove.

The Wodonga dawn service at Woodland Grove.

The Wodonga dawn service at Woodland Grove.

A member of the catafalque party stands guard at the Wodonga dawn service at Woodland Grove.

A member of the catafalque party stands guard at the Wodonga dawn service at Woodland Grove.

A member of the catafalque party stands guard at the Wodonga dawn service at Woodland Grove.

A member of the catafalque party stands guard at the Wodonga dawn service at Woodland Grove.

Wodonga Vietnam Veterans Club. Peter Reilly from Baranduda and Jaimie Yates from Wodonga.

Wodonga Vietnam Veterans Club. Peter Reilly from Baranduda and Jaimie Yates from Wodonga.

Breakfast at the Wodonga RSL sub-branch.

Breakfast at the Wodonga RSL sub-branch.

Breakfast at the Wodonga RSL sub-branch. Mark Thompson, from Wodonga, Jacob Frauenfelder, 13 from Baranduda, Emma Frauenfelder, 12, from Baranduda and Patrick Sommerfield, 13 from Wodonga.

Breakfast at the Wodonga RSL sub-branch. Mark Thompson, from Wodonga, Jacob Frauenfelder, 13 from Baranduda, Emma Frauenfelder, 12, from Baranduda and Patrick Sommerfield, 13 from Wodonga.

Kate Tittensor from Wodonga helps serve up breakfast.

Kate Tittensor from Wodonga helps serve up breakfast.

Hamish and Jessica Robinson from Wodonga with their children Lachlan, 6 and Matilda, 4. They were in line for a big breakfast at the RSL Club.

Hamish and Jessica Robinson from Wodonga with their children Lachlan, 6 and Matilda, 4. They were in line for a big breakfast at the RSL Club.

There was a long line of people waiting for breakfast at the RSL Club.

There was a long line of people waiting for breakfast at the RSL Club.

Dawn service. Nichola Morcombe, Jennifer Ryan, Hunter Ryan, 7, Jessica Bardebes, Bruno Vlahovic, Carla Jenkins and Isabelle Smillie, 8 all from Wodonga.

Dawn service. Nichola Morcombe, Jennifer Ryan, Hunter Ryan, 7, Jessica Bardebes, Bruno Vlahovic, Carla Jenkins and Isabelle Smillie, 8 all from Wodonga.

Dawn service. Fiona Marshall from Wodonga with her children Olivia Warren, 7 and Marshall Warren, 5.

Dawn service. Fiona Marshall from Wodonga with her children Olivia Warren, 7 and Marshall Warren, 5.

Dawn service. Mark and Jessie Versteegen from Wodonga.

Dawn service. Mark and Jessie Versteegen from Wodonga.

Wodonga RSL president Kevyn Williams leads the dawn service.

Wodonga RSL president Kevyn Williams leads the dawn service.

The cenotaph at the Wodonga dawn service at Woodland Grove.

The cenotaph at the Wodonga dawn service at Woodland Grove.

The crowd at the Wodonga dawn service at Woodland Grove.

The crowd at the Wodonga dawn service at Woodland Grove.

DAWN broke on a clear and crisp morning in Wodonga, as RSL sub-branch president Kevyn Williams described the landing of three platoons of the leading company of the 7th Battalion on the shores at Gallipoli, 99 years ago.

“As the lead boat, under the command of Captain Bert Layh entered the field of fire, five out of six rowers were shot but others took the oars, and they pushed on.

“The boat was scraping the shingle when, as Captain Layh threw himself into the water beside it, he was shot through the hip.

“As he turned to call his men forward, he was again shot in the leg.

“With the survivors, he scrambled towards the little grass-tufted sand hummocks fringing the beach, and they lay low behind them.

“Of the 140 men in the four boats, only three officers and 36 men, many wounded, made the safety of the hummocks, the rest lay dead or dying behind them.”

Click on the video below to see the Wodonga dawn service at the cenotaph in Woodland Grove. (iPhone users go to Video tab in Menu.)

An estimated crowd of 1500 people gathered in Woodland Grove yesterday morning to pay tribute to the Anzacs and all of those who had paid the supreme sacrifice while serving Australia in times of war.

Piper Doug McRae and drummer Milton Mann accompanied the catafalque party as it was mounted before chaplain Father Ben Hall offered prayers for the fallen, for peace and for those who continued to suffer as a result of war.

The laying of wreaths by Mr Williams on behalf of the RSL and by Sgt Ellen Greig on behalf of the Australian Army was followed by the Ode, the Last Post by bugler Sgt Ross Draper and a benediction offered by Father Hall as the service came to a close.

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Veterans, service personnel, parents, grandparents and children of all ages filled Woodland Grove to capacity, delighting Mr Williams, who described the crowd as “phenomenal”.

“It gets bigger every year. There is so much about Anzac Day out there that people are listening to or reading in the papers and they want to be part of it,” he said.

“The kids want to march and be part of it.

“They will carry it through and remember it for the rest of their lives.

“It’s now the kids who are telling their parents they want to go to the dawn service.”

Mr Williams said over several decades the RSL had refined its planning for the commemorations in Wodonga, ensuring the services ran smoothly and encouraged public participation.

He said that same planning would be important as the RSL sub-branches looked ahead to the Anzac centenary commemorations next year.