On 25 April, musicians from the Band of the RAF Regiment were deeply honoured to support the village of Harefield’s Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) Day commemoration. This year’s ceremony was especially important to the village as it marks 100 years since its inhabitants first performed this Act of Remembrance on 25 April 1918. This tradition, which continued even through WWII, was carried out this year for the 98th time, and included a parade through the village to the ANZAC Cemetery where just over 100 Servicemen are buried.
The Band's 5 musicians played music outside St Mary’s Church before and after the service and trumpeter Senior Aircraftsman Jeremy Bristow performed the Last Post and Reveille as part of the Remembrance ceremony at the cemetery.
ANZAC Day is observed on 25 April each year, and was originally devised to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps who fought at Gallipoli against the Ottoman Empire during WW 1, the first campaign that led to major losses for Australian and New Zealand forces during The Great War.
This year is the 103rd anniversary of the ANZAC landing in Gallipoli in 1915 and the 100th anniversary of the Australian Army Battle for Villers-Bretonneux. This Battle for Villers-Bretonneux in France is significant in WW1 history; the combined actions of Australian and British forces on that day brought the last major German offensive of WW1 to a decisive end.
The ceremony in Harefield was one of many commemorations of ANZAC Day in the UK and across the world. The Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson laid a wreath at the Cenotaph and attended a service at Westminster Abbey alongside HRH Prince Harry and Defence Service Chiefs from all three countries and made the following comments:
“On ANZAC Day, we remember the sacrifice and courage of troops from Australia and New Zealand. Almost a century has passed since the end of the First World War and Britain is proud to have served side-by-side with them in many conflicts over the last 100 years. Our alliance is one of the most constant and enduring military partnerships in history, one which will continue to protect our shared values and commit to make the world a safer, more secure place.”
The Defence Secretary