Returned service men and women prepare for Remembrance Day in Kangaroo Flat

Even as returned servicemen and women begin selling poppies ahead of Remembrance Day, preparations for 2018’s centenary commemorations are already underway in Kangaroo Flat.

The 99th Remembrance Day takes place on Saturday 11 November and Kangaroo Flat RSL secretary Craig Chilver said members were preparing to go out into the community to sell poppies in the coming week.

A portion of the funds raised would be returned to the sub-branch and used for veterans’ welfare.

The funding also helped finance twice-weekly lunches.

“It gets these veterans out of the house and down here (to the RSL hall). They enjoy a free lunch and also camaraderie. It’s a chance to talk about things that concern them,” Mr Chilver said.

Money raised from poppy sales would also help finance a January trip for seven children, some of whom had never seen beaches.

“Somewhere in their distant past, these kid’s fathers, grandfathers, great uncles or what have you, have served in World War One or World War Two,” he said.

The sub-branch had about 130 members, including four who served in World War Two, as well as some who served in Korea, Vietnam and others who were national servicemen.

Respect: An artist's impression of the planned new soldiers memorial at Kangaroo Flat. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Respect: An artist's impression of the planned new soldiers memorial at Kangaroo Flat. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Even as the sub-branch prepared for this year’s Remembrance Day commemorations, work was already under way for 2018, which would mark a century since the Armistice was declared.

Those preparations included upgrading a memorial in Kangaroo Flat to include the names of 65 men who did not come home from World War One.

The men were not named on current memorials, Mr Chilver said.

An avenue of 65 trees already marked the highway into the Kangaroo Flat CBD, but did not include the names of those honoured.

Earlier this year Mr Chilver told the Bendigo Advertiser the number of people paying their respects at the High Street memorial site during Anzac Day and Remembrance Day commemorations had quadrupled in recent years.

A number of upcoming meetings were scheduled to plan funding both for the memorial the sub-branch’s hall, which Mr Chilver said was also in need of an upgrade.