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Huge turnout for Woodcroft’s
ANZAC Day service

Living Choice Woodcroft held another of its memorable ANZAC Day services in the Auditorium on 25th April. ALICE CONWAY REPORTS. PHOTOS BY BERNADETTE CHETCUTI.

It was almost standing room only at the 2023 ANZAC Day service attended by 180 residents, family and friends who followed the event with a program produced by Marg Manning.

Our regular team put together a presentation that opened with an awe-inspiring movie, “Australia’s Heroes” set to the tune of Waltzing Matilda, showing our armed forces throughout the years. Doug Tilley was the MC who presided over the official requirements of the day. This was followed by our own Father Ed Pumphrey, who did the Commemorative Address in his usual inimitable way.

The topic for our speech this ANZAC Day was The Rats of Tobruk and The Chocos of Kokoda and was presented by Alice Conway. This brought home the trials and struggles of the soldiers from the heat and dust of the desert by the AIF, to the rain and disease-infested jungles of New Guinea, where the “Chocolate Soldiers” of the CMF were all that held the line, until the AIF arrived back to support them.

The information about both engagements was very informative and many of those present commented that they “learnt something today”.

We are fortunate to have the wife of an original “RAT”. Jeanie Croxton (aged 101), living in our village with her daughter Fran Buller. They were very proud to allow us to use William Ernest Croxton’s army jacket as part of our display. W.E.R. Croxton fought in both theatres of war, North Africa/Tobruk and New Guinea.

A poem by A.E. Lockrey, “The Chocolate Soldiers of New Guinea”, was read by Doug Tilley.

Each year we select a resident who has served in some capacity in the armed forces to lay the wreath at the foot of our Poppy Cross which is topped with a Slouch hat and has a lit candle at the base. This year it also had Corporal Croxton’s jacket hanging there. The resident we chose to lay the wreath was Kevin Butler who served in the RAAF as an LAC. He had eight members of his family proudly come and support him on the day.

This was followed by the official part of the service including the Prayer, Ode, minute’s silence, Reveille and the National Anthem of both New Zealand and Australia, finishing off with the Blessing by Father Ed. A short sing-a-long film by “The D-Day Darlings” completed the morning’s events. Our Social Club provided morning tea with sandwiches and the bar was opened.

Doug Tilley does all the computer compilation which makes the morning run smoothly, for which we are truly grateful.