A revamped Apex Park looked its splendid best as in excess of 500 people attended the Nelson Bay Remembrance Day service in glorious conditions at the Cenotaph on Sunday.
This year’s 11am service marked the 100th anniversary of the signing of the armistice, bringing an end to World War I hostilities.
The Nelson Bay RSL Sub-Branch was well represented with vice-president Tom Lupton presiding, secretary Russell Durrant organising the ceremony and president John Tate, who suffers from Guillain-Barré syndrome, making a welcomed appearance.
Students from St Phillip’s Christian College delivered some of the readings, RAAF Base Williamtown personnel provided the catafalque party and dozens of people laid wreaths in honour of the fallen.
However, it’s a truism that the best laid plans don’t always go as expected and a minor hiccup with the audio recording almost spoiled the day.
Mr Durrant said that he could hardly believe it when the recording equipment for ‘The Last Post’ and ‘Reveille’ stalled before it could commence.
The sound of a lone bugler playing The Last Post has become one of the most distinctive sounds worldwide.
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“We have used the recording countless times before and I had tested it four or five times prior to the day without a hitch. It was just a shame that it had to happen on this important day,” Mr Durrant said.
Fortunately, the service was rescued by knight in shining armour, 40-year Air Force veteran, Wing Commander Rick Dyson, who happened to be standing nearby with recordings of both tunes on his mobile phone.
“I could see they were having problems with the equipment so I stepped up and placed the phone recording up to the microphone. It was actually my wife Tammy who nudged me to go forward,” WGCDR Dyson said.
A returned serviceman, WGCDR Dyson comes from a long line of military service with his father, Ernest Dyson Jnr, a member of the National Service and his two grandfathers, Ernest Snr and Thomas Watson, serving during World War II.
Mr Durrant said that he was grateful to the quick thinking of the couple to save the situation.
“I did have my own mobile phone recording as a back-up plan, but I didn’t want to cause more drama than needed,” he said.
He said that the sub-branch hoped it could secure one of the many student buglers currently in training for future Cenotaph ceremonies.