Motions: Remembrance Day

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Published Wednesday, November 7, 2018 | Share:


Remembrance Day

Debate resumed.

Mr BELL (Mount Gambier) (12:53): I promised the mover of this motion that I would give him five minutes, so I will be very quick. I support this motion in its original form and want to acknowledge a few people in our region who support Remembrance Day, including Bob Sandow, the RSL president, who every year does hundreds and hundreds of hours of work to put these types of days together. They are important for our community. I want to acknowledge Cyril Blackmore, who passed recently and who was a very good friend of mine and of the Mount Gambier community. Unfortunately, a lot of our World War II veterans are passing; however, we still have a couple with us.

I acknowledge Jack Hopgood and Charlie Miller, who I will see at Sunday's service. Obviously Cyril supported me and my campaigns, and led a few campaigns himself in the Second World War. He was 14 years old when he tried to enlist, but his dad always had the same answer, and these are Cyril's words: 'If you do, you'll get a boot up the arse.'

There were many Americans in Mount Gambier at the start of the Second World War, and Cyril was keen to support the Australian effort. When he did enlist, he recalls it was one of the happiest days of his life. He was not afraid to talk about his time in the Second World War and talk to people about it. I cannot go into his story because I have not been left a lot of time, but Cyril received life membership last year, and it is a real credit to his family and him. I acknowledge the work they still do in our community.

He talks about being in the jungles and just how hot it was. He was talking about the Japanese having had 'a beautiful knee mortar, which was very effective, with red hot metal', that wounded a lot of his guys, including himself, but they never retreated, they always kept going forward. He had 33 diggers of his battalion killed in New Guinea and 104 wounded. I just wanted to put on the record my appreciation of what Cyril Blackmore did for our community and commend this motion to the house.