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Re-creation of 1918 Armistice Day celebrations in Orange, 11 November 2018. Image courtesy Robert Bruce.
Centenary of Armistice Day – Re-enactment of 1918 celebrations in Orange – Official speeches
Frank Mullholland (Town Clerk):
Good morning everybody. I am Frank Mullholland, Town Clerk of Orange and it is my pleasure to be master of ceremonies on this momentous day. How magnificent that we can finally come together and celebrate peace after so many years of conflict and heartbreak. Please join with me in welcoming our Mayor, Ald W E Bouffler.
W E Bouffler (Mayor):
Fellow-Australians, we have gathered together today to celebrate the signing of the armistice. Peace has been obtained after more than four long years of war. During this time we have made Australian history, and we have broken the hearts of mothers across the nation in order to uphold the Empire’s flag and defend our civilisation. We are indeed thankful to know that the armistice has been signed. It is an armistice the like of which has never been seen before.
During the terrible conflict new records have been reached and have been broken, and the best traditions of our nation have been achieved in the air, in the field and on the sea. The implements of destruction employed by the enemy have never been known before, and, I trust, will never be heard of again.
Though there are many sad hearts today, the sacrifices our boys have made, and the sacrifices our people have made have not been made in vain. I trust that this day will mark the end of all wars. May such a conflict never be entered into again. The sacrifice of our brave boys will not be forgotten on their return. I will do all I possibly can for our brave soldiers
E T McNeilly (former Mayor):
Some time ago someone said, “McNeilly and his nine nephews will win the war.” I wish to say that McNeilly and his nine nephews have helped to win the war. I am proud to belong to the British Empire, which has a navy that has carried 20 million men and only lost 5,000 in the face of submarines and mines. I rejoice to be an Australian; our army did not retreat one inch during the whole war.
I wish to pay tribute to the schools, the women of Orange and the councillors, all of whom had a relative on service. When each boy comes home from the war we will be able to look them in the face and say that they have done their duty. I urge every one of you to do your best for the boys on their return.
Today cannot go by, without paying tribute to the late Lord Kitchener, General Birdwood (who has done so much for our boys), and expressing sympathy with the parents of deceased soldiers. Have a thought for the boys that are gone for ever from amongst us.
Canon Taylor (Holy Trinity Church):
Today we are celebrating a peace the like of which had never before been laid down in the history of the world. Australia has become famous for the bravery of its sons, who have fought to preserve their nationhood for generations to come.
We are thankful to Almighty God for guiding them so successfully, and for all those people who have done so much to secure this armistice.
One of the most glorious outcomes is that the British Empire now stands to be the strongest empire the world has ever seen. Belgium, Serbia, Rumania and other Allied nations look to the Union Jack as a symbol of their freedom. During four years of awful struggle, the blood of brave men has been well spent. We owe a debt of gratitude to those who were willing to sacrifice their lives.
The memory of those who have died in this war will be written indelibly in history. I pray for a League of Nations, the formation of which will prevent a future war. Britain on one side and America on the other will need to stand together to maintain their Christian freedom. The hope of the future lies in the maintenance of the Union Jack.
Rev Walkden Brown (Methodist Church):
1 Praise ye the Lord. Praise the Lord, O my soul.
2 While I live will I praise the Lord: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.
3 Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.
4 His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.
5 Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God:
6 Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth for ever:
7 Which executeth judgment for the oppressed: which giveth food to the hungry. The Lord looseth the prisoners:
8 The Lord openeth the eyes of the blind: the Lord raiseth them that are bowed down: the Lord loveth the righteous:
9 The Lord preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down.
10 The Lord shall reign for ever, even thy God, O Zion, unto all generations. Praise ye the Lord.
I would like to acknowledge the help that everyone has given our soldiers by sending them regular letters from home. I trust that when they return each and every one of us will fight for them as they have fought for us and render them every assistance.
Rev J C McDonald (Presbyterian Church):
We are here to give thanks to the Almighty God for His great goodness to us all during the war.
Our memories go back to the earliest days of the war, of the heroic defence put up by the Belgians, who risked their very existence rather than be dishonoured. We remember the glorious deeds of the Allies, and thank God for the patience and steadfastness of those who stood in defence.
We are thankful to our leaders in peace, and everyone who has contributed to today’s success. Again and again the enemy was on the point of victory; and again and again their armies were defeated and pushed back.
The 11th day of November 1918 will be the most memorable day in the history of the British Empire. Our hearts are full of joy
Rev Father Brosnan (St Joseph’s Catholic Church):
Today we must not forget to give our thanks to God. If there is one person more than any, other who appreciates peace it is the minister of God. Four years ago war broke out and with it sorrow came to this country. Ministers have felt like culprits stealing into homes, their fingers seeming to drip with the blood, the shedding of which they had come to announce.
Thank God it has come to an end. Our duty of prayer should go further; we must pray for a lasting peace.
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Armistice Day Celebrations in Orange, 13 November 1918. Image courtesy Orange City Library.
Houses, shops and businesses throughout Orange are decorated with flags and bunting in Allied colours
More than 1,000 people attend a united thanksgiving service in Robertson Park at 11am
A huge procession leaves the Drill Hall at 2pm bound for the Town Hall. The procession is led by Police Inspector Lewis on horseback; the entourage includes returned soldiers, aldermen and shire councillors, the Model Band, the War Chest, Red Cross and VAD workers, school children, boy scouts, the Fire Brigade and Salvation Army. Hundreds of people join in and crowd the streets adjacent to the Town Hall. The Mayor, Ald WE Bouffler and the Orange clergy address the crowd; the bands play God Save the King and The Marsellaise. The Victory Celebrated
At 5.10 am, in a railway car at Compiègne, France, the Germans sign the Armistice which is effective at 11 am – the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Fighting continues all along the Western Front during the morning. Artillery barrages increase as 11 am draws near, then cease. Silence descends.
At 7.30 pm official news of the armistice signing reaches Orange. Thousands of people gather at the intersection of Summer street and Lords Place and rejoice with fireworks and musical instruments. An effigy of the Kaiser is hung from a lamp-post and burnt. Ald Edwin Thomas McNeilly delivers a patriotic address from the balcony of the Club Hotel. How Orange Received The News
Shortly before midnight the silence of Orange is shattered as train whistles blow and fire bells ring announcing the abdication of the Kaiser. The Model Band parades, cars toot their horns and people take to the streets, many in their night attire
Ex-Kaiser Wilhelm II and his entourage flee to Holland to seek asylum
Emperor Karl of Austria abdicates. Army aeroplane hangars in Vienna are torched, shootings occur in the streets of Salzburg and Austrian navy boats are scuttled to prevent their Allied capture.
George Frederick Reed and his family were living in Edward Street, East Orange, when the First World War began. George was employed as a locomotive engine driver with the Orange Railway Station. He was also a member of Orange Rifle Club.
Born in Brixton, England, in 1883, George emigrated to Australia as a young man. In 1902 he married Hilda Maude Beahan in Wallerawang. George and Hilda had four children: Nilda (born in 1902), Clarence (1908), George (1914), and Leslie (1916).
The cock-a-doodle-doing of the railway whistles on Wednesday night was not owing to the death of the Kaiser, but simply as a send-off to Driver George Reed, who left on the last mail to join his battalion, en route to where the lid has been lifted from Europe.
George embarked for overseas service from Melbourne in May 1917. He disembarked in Plymouth on 19 July 1917 and was marched in to the 4th Railway Section, Australian Railway Operating Division, at Bordon.
In early October 1917 George proceeded to France to serve on the Western Front. On 1 January 1918 he was promoted to Corporal.
Corporal George Reed survived the war unscathed. On 11 November 1918 – the day peace was declared – he proceeded to England on two weeks’ furlough. George rejoined his unit on France on 25 November.
On 22 February 1919 George was admitted to hospital in Dunkirk, dangerously ill with bronchial pneumonia. He survived for thirteen more days, succumbing to his illness on 7 March 1919.
George Frederick Reed is commemorated on the World War I Roll of Honour on the southern face of the Orange Cenotaph and on panel number 26 on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
In 1923 the Anzac Memorial Avenue of trees was planted along Bathurst Road to commemorate fallen WWI soldiers. A tree was planted in honour of “Capt CF Reed”, presumably George. It was donated by Mrs M Reed. Very few of the trees are still standing today.
George Frederick Reed died almost four months after the armistice was signed. He is believed to be the last WWI serviceman from the Orange district to die as a direct result of the First World War. A multitude of other servicemen and women, however, would bear physical and psychological scars which would plague them and their families for the rest of their days.
Thomas was born in Stuart Town in 1901 to Peter Haydon and Annette nee Bastardi, who had married in Wellington in 1888. Thomas’ father, Peter, a well-known identity in the district, was recognised as “one of the best bush men in Australia”.
Thomas was educated at Summerhill Creek Public School and later worked as a labourer. He embarked SS Field Marshal in Sydney on 19 June 1918 for overseas service. On 10 July he was admitted to the ship’s hospital, where he spent nine days with a bout of tonsillitis. Thomas disembarked in London on 26 August and was marched in to the 11th Training Battalion at Sutton Veny and allotted to the 2nd Battalion Reinforcements.
In October 1918 Thomas was transferred to Artillery Details and marched out to the Reserve Brigade Australian Artillery at Heytesbury. The following month Thomas proceeded to France, joining the 1st Artillery Division at Rouelles.
Following the declaration of peace on 11 November 1918 Gunner Haydon continued to serve on the Western Front. In early February 1919 he was in Belgium, when, on 6 February, he died. His military records simply state:
Died of asphyxiation in the field
No other details are known of Thomas’ death. He was the third WWI serviceman from the Orange district to die post-armistice. He was 17 years old.
Thomas Reuben Haydon is commemorated on the World War I Roll of Honour on the southern face of the Orange Cenotaph and on panel number 21 on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
In 1923 the Anzac Memorial Avenue of trees was planted along Bathurst Road to commemorate fallen WWI soldiers. A tree was planted in honour of “Pte TR Haydon”; it was donated by Cleve Hutchinson. Very few of the trees are still standing today.
Thomas’ brother, Leslie, also served in WWI; he was a Lieutenant with the Royal Flying Corps.