Today we gathered as a whole school community to commemorate Remembrance Day. We reflected on the significance of the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 1 and honoured those who have served our nation in times of war. We also acknowledged the part The Glennie School played in World War 2.

In 1942 the Australian Army requisitioned sections of our school to establish a General Hospital and later a specialised Orthopaedic Hospital. There are many stories from our Old Girls about trenches dug in the grounds to run to in case of attack and the students taking over duties from the domestic staff as they volunteered for war service. Glennie girls also contributed to the war effort through knitting socks and scarves for the service personnel overseas and making camouflage nets.

Many, many Glennie Old Girls served our country selflessly during World War 2 and in other wars since. It is important on occasions like today for us to recognise their accomplishments and I would like to share with you the service of just 3 of these remarkable women.

Sheila Kirk served for 7yrs in the Australian Army Nursing Service in Egypt and Palestine. She returned to Glennie became Deputy Matron of the 1st Australian Orthopaedic Hospital and subsequently Deputy Matron of Glennie Hospital.

Joan Fletcher served in the Middle East, in Victoria and at the Red Cross unit attached to the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration in Greece.

Gwen Dowling joined the reserve nursing service in 1939. She served in France and was evacuated after the battle of Dunkirk. She then served in India and Malaya and was again evacuated from Singapore when her ship was torpedoed off Pong Pong Island, she was one of a small number rescued and taken to Sumatra. Gwen continued to serve as a nurse in India until 1945 when she transferred to Scotland and finally returned to Australia in 1946.

As part of our commemoration, we also present the finished panels of our Poppy Project. The Flanders poppy has long been a part of Remembrance Day. During the First World War, red poppies were among the first plants to spring up in the devastated battlefields of northern France and Belgium. In 1915 the sight of poppies at Ypres moved Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae to write the poem, In Flanders Fields. Moina Michael just before the Armistice in 1918 read McCrae’s poem and was so moved that she wrote a poem in response and decided to wear a red poppy always as a way of keeping faith, as McCrae had urged in his poem. Thus began the tradition of wearing a poppy as a symbol of remembrance.

The poppies on display today are a result of many months of hard work and bring to fruition a vision of past staff member, Tina Tilden, who not only wanted to honour the 100th anniversary of the Armistice but to honour the 100 years of the Glennie Old Girls Association and the significant contribution Glennie and Glennie girls have made to our nation’s history. Each poppy has been lovingly created by members of the Glennie community and brought together in this magnificent display. Thank you to each and every person who has contributed to our poppy project, whether through providing wool and buttons, knitting, crocheting, sewing or helping to complete the display. Mrs Cohen officially presented the Poppy Project – the panels hanging from the verandah under the clock tower. They will be transferred to St Luke’s Church this afternoon to be included in the commemorations there on Sunday morning. There will be a Eucharist service at 8:00 am and a Remembrance Day service at 11:00 am.

The Glennie Singers sang a beautiful version of In Flanders Fields and GOGA president Mrs Linda Lester read Moina Michael’s poem in response.

Today we remember, pay our respects and honour all those who have died in war in order that we are able to live in peace. Our duty and responsibility is to do all we can to ensure that war on the scale of World War 1 and 2 never happens again. We do that through being informed and engaged global citizens. Speaking out against injustices, voting responsibly in elections and keeping our leaders accountable for the decisions they make.

God desires that all people live peacefully with one another. Jesus gives us the best example of how we are to do this: to love our neighbours as ourselves; to be accepting of and celebrate the wonderful diversity of peoples in our world and to open our hearts to care for one another.

As we remember this day, may we all strive to do these things here at Glennie, in our local communities and across the world.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to today’s service: Mr Finlay on trumpet, The Glennie Singers, Mrs Vicky Bravery, Mrs Elizabeth Gordon, our cadet unit, speakers, the Development Office Staff, Music Department, IT and Grounds staff.

Revd Sharon Baird

Click here to view the Remembrance Day photo gallery.

Posted with permission.
Originally published here.