SENIOR military figure Peter Meehan chronicled the heroism of Australian soldiers during World War I in a passionate, sometimes emotional address to an Anzac Day commemoration service held by the Victorian Association of Jewish Ex & Servicemen and Women (VAJEX).
At the annual service, held last Sunday at Glen Eira Town Hall, Squadron Leader (Ret) Meehan recounted that the youngest Digger killed at Gallipoli [James Charles Martin] was just 14 years of age. He also spoke about Lieutenant General Sir John Monash’s unique contribution to the war effort.
In a ceremony emceed by VAJEX vice-president Julie Leder, participants were officially welcomed by Major General Jeffrey Rosenfeld, VAJEX patron-in-chief. Memorial candles were lit by families of fallen soldiers and Psalm 23 was recited by Gary Edwards, of Friends of VAJEX.
VAJEX and Australian Defence Forces Chaplain Rabbi Dovid Gutnick led the prayers and later chanted Kel Malei Rachamim.
A wreath laying by attendees was followed by the performance of Last Post and of Rouse by bugler Tim Williams and the Australian Army Band, Melbourne, interspersed by a minute’s silence. VAJEX immediate past president and life member Ben Hirsh recited Kaddish.
Recognising youth achievement, the Private Gregory Sher Memorial Awards, in memory of Private Sher, who was killed while serving in Afghanistan in 2009, were presented by his parents Greg and Yvonne Sher to pupils of Victorian Jewish schools.