Every year since 1949, the Down Under Club of Winnipeg (DUCW) has commemorated Anzac Day.
“It’s an important national occasion Down Under,” explained Gordon Keatch, one of the earliest members of the DUCW and Parade Commander of the annual event.
“And this year will be even more special because ours will be part of a worldwide commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.”
It was April 25, 1915, when Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of the allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula. They became known as ANZACs – Australian and New Zealand Army Corps – and the pride they took in that name continues to this day.
To mark the occasion, members of the DUCW will gather on Sat. Apr. 25, 2015, at the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada (958 Ferry Rd) with local military and city and provincial representatives.
“The first time we did this back in 1949 was our first significant function as a Club,” remembered Keatch. “We borrowed a huge Australian flag from the Free Press, wrapped it around the Cenotaph, and the then Mayor of Winnipeg, Garnet Coulter, placed a wreath on behalf of the city.”
Organizers are hoping to reach out to Aussies and Kiwis living in Manitoba who are not current members of the DUCW and might not know about what is planned.
“The formal ceremony will start promptly at 2 p.m., and attendees are asked to arrive by 1:45 pm,” said Liz Hydesmith, coordinator of the event. “The service will include a formal ceremony, laying of wreaths, speeches, and singing of national anthems.”
Following the service, the Club will host an afternoon tea, and present an ANZAC History presentation titled Lest We Forget First World War Mates: ANZACs and Newfoundland Canadians Together at War. It will feature invited speakers discussing historical perspectives and details of the First World War.
Given that the Royal Newfoundland Regiment was the only North American unit to fight in the Gallipoli campaign of 1915, the DUCW is also inviting anyone associated with that Regiment, as well as other members of the public who have an affiliation with or affection for Australia and New Zealand.
If you would like to attend, you are asked to RSVP by Apr. 21 to Liz Hydesmith — firstname.lastname@example.org OR call 204-487-0067.
The DUCW is a social group that represents Australians, New Zealanders and their Canadian families and friends living in Manitoba and beyond. Members are proud to have been a part of this city and province for the last 66 years.