‘Imagine yourselves as grown men. One of you would have gone off to war’

As part of our 2023 Remembrance Day commemorations, we today welcomed Warrant Officer Class One Eliza Mayger, Unit Resource Manager, Adelaide Universities Regiment, to address our students.

Warrant Officer Class One Mayger’s three brothers attended Blackfriars – Garth Mayger (BPS’85), Derek Mayger (BPS’87) and Charles Mayger (BPS’99). Garth and Charles are currently serving members of the Australian Defence Force.

Speaking at the ceremony, WO1 Mayger brought home the reality of World War I to our students.

“Look to the person to your left, and look to the person to your right,” she said.

“Now imagine yourselves as grown men. One of you would have gone off to war … to serve in World War I. And there is a one in five chance that you may not have returned. Luckily for us, though, World War I ended.”

We are so thankful to WO1 Mayger for joining us today and sharing the World War I story.

We were also thankful to have Year 8 student Rien Nair join our Remembrance Day ceremony in a formal capacity. Rien is a member of the Air Force Cadets, and attended today in full uniform. Thank you, also, to Rien’s family for attending.

Read WOI Mayger’s address below.

Year 8 student Rien Nair, who is a member of the Air Force Cadets, was part of our Remembrance Day ceremony.

Lest we forget

The fighting stopped when an armistice between the Allied powers and Germany came into effect at 11 o’clock on the morning of 11 November 1918.

Millions had lost their lives during the war, among them more than 60,000 Australian service personnel – about one in five of those who served overseas. Many thousands more were wounded in body or mind.

During the war and after its end, survivors returned home to a country both grateful for their service and traumatised by the war’s enormous cost. The dead lay in cemeteries and unmarked graves around the world; from New Britain in the south-west Pacific, to Mesopotamia, Gallipoli, the Sinai, Palestine and the United Kingdom.

But nowhere on earth do Australia’s war dead lie in greater numbers than in the soil of the Western Front in France and Belgium. The momentous announcement that the fighting was over on this front, and with it the war, was met with joyful celebrations around Australia.

Warrant Officer Class One Eliza Mayger, Unit Resource Manager, Adelaide Universities Regiment, addresses our students.

But joy was neither universal nor unqualified. Too many had died, too many more wounded or made ill by their war service. Everywhere communities knew the pain of losing fondly remembered men. Across the country, memorials were erected to honour those who served and to remember the dead.

In 1919, Britain’s King George V proclaimed two minutes of silence at 11am on 11 November. At the appointed hour, people around Australia, many gathered before local memorials, paused together in common reflection, remembering the dead and beginning a tradition that has endured for more than a century.

In time, Australia’s war memorials would come to honour the fallen of the Second World War and of the many other conflicts and operations in which Australians have served.

Today, the Australian War Memorial’s Roll of Honour lists the names of over 103,000 Australians who have lost their lives in war and conflict.

As we pause on Remembrance Day, our thoughts turn to war’s enormous cost and the toll it takes, not only on those who fall but on all who serve.

Lest we forget: Year 6 student’s journey to France to honour great uncle

As we pause to observe a minute’s silence on Remembrance Day, that moment of quiet will have extra significance for a Year 6 student.


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