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Chief Officer leads Jamieson Anzac Day
Excellent forward planning by Mitchell Shire Group Officer Noel Arandt secured Chief Officer Euan Ferguson three years ago for the Jamieson 2015 Anzac Day commemorations. Three years ago!
Despite heavy rain more than 300 locals attended the dawn service followed by a gunfire breakfast. The Chief joined Jamieson members for the march and flag ceremony with the group forming a semi-circle around the memorial stone.
The small memorial hall then packed to capacity for Euan’s speech in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Anzac landing at Gallipoli.
“I am proud to have been a sapper,” Euan told the audience.
“As a young Officer, the Army taught me about self-discipline, navigation and infantry minor tactics. The principles of war, the appreciation process and the method of briefing I have continued to use and apply in my civilian fire job.
“In fire we talk about initial attack, weight of attack, mopping up and defensive strategies. Much of the language of fire and the doctrine around fire control has been shaped by returned servicemen who have then brought these terms into their local fire brigades which have then been adopted at an organisational and industry level.”
The Chief also drew links between the all-volunteer first Australian Imperial Force (AIF) and the CFA ethos of volunteering.
“The official CFA history records that, ‘After war was declared in August 1914, hundreds of bronzed, fit young Australians downed their tools, rakes and hoes, pens and hammers to enlist in the first AIF’.
“In December 1914, the then Country Fire Brigades Board (CFBB) had 2,444 registered volunteers. By 1917 the numbers had fallen to 2,265. By the end of the war, a total of 893 of the then 2,308 registered volunteers had enlisted in the AIF – this is more than one in three.
“Between 1914 and 1918, 147 CFBB volunteers were killed in action and a further 191 were wounded.
“It has been suggested that many returned soldiers, sailors and airmen turned to the local fire brigade or emergency service to be with like-minded people. There was an ongoing sense of duty, service and (in a different way) sacrifice. Being a volunteer firefighter was a good release from the thoughts of war at a time where counselling and mental health was unheard of.”
“Euan’s address was very considerate and insightful,” said Noel. “There was a good deal of emotion in the audience when he expanded on the impact to families during World War I.”
In return, the Chief was deeply moved by Jamieson Primary School children singing ‘Lest We Forget’ supported by a video backdrop.
Events across the day raised more than $4600 for Legacy and organisers were delighted, saying of Euan, “We all think he’s a legend”.
Photos supplied by Freddie Leong