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ANZAC: Mateship remembered in Maitland memorial service, photos

Scenes from the Maitland Anzac service. Picture: Simone de Peak WASHOUT: Anzac march participants take flight to the bowling club Picture: Simone de Peak
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Scenes from the Maitland Anzac service. Picture: Simone de Peak

Scenes from the Maitland Anzac service. Picture: Simone de Peak

Scenes from the Maitland Anzac service. Picture: Simone de Peak

Scenes from the Maitland Anzac service. Picture: Simone de Peak

Scenes from the Maitland Anzac service. Picture: Simone de Peak

Scenes from the Maitland Anzac service. Picture: Simone de Peak

PAYING RESPECTS: Abby Capararo, 16, of the 308 Squadron Australian Air Force Cadets with her father Graham after the memorial service, Picture: Simone de Peak

RESECT: Gladiators members lay flowers to honour fallen soldiers during the service. Picture: Simone de Peak

Scenes from the Maitland Anzac service. Picture: Simone de Peak

Scenes from the Maitland Anzac service. Picture: Simone de Peak

ON THE MOVE: Maitland’s Anzac march was transferred to the bowling club due to bad weather. Pictures: Simone De Peak

MAITLAND drew an impressive crowd to honour the Anzacs despite a cosy wet weather setting at the Maitland Park Bowling Club.

All were in good spirits as they heard the addresses given in honour of fallen soldiers.

Miss Maitland 2014, Alexis Adams gave the youth address, commenting on the bravery and mateship highlighted by many Anzac stories.

She said Anzac Day represented hard work that is mirrored in the everyday lives of many young people training in the armed forces today.

The main commemorative address focused on indigenous Australian soldiers, who were forced to fight for half pay with no opportunity for promotion and were not even allowed inside pubs for moments of long-earned respite.

One medal-adorned member of the crowd was Graham Capararo, 61, whose father and grandfather fought in the world wars.

Mr Capararo’s father, Kenneth Andrew Capararo, was posted in New Guinea during WWII. He was discharged in late 1944 due to suffering constant malaria. He served for almost four years.

Graham Capararo’s grandfather, Harry Langford fought in WWI and was wounded in two battles in France. After retiring, he returned to Australia, but Mr Capararo said shrapnel remaining in his body shortened his life.

Mr Capararo was conscripted to serve in Vietnam, but the war was over before his service began.

Another military-minded member of the family, Mr Capararo’s daughter, Abby, contributed to the Maitland Anzac dawn service as a sergeant in the 308 Squadron Australian Air Force Cadets.

Abby Capararo is just 16, but already has her heart set on joining the Australian Air Force next year.

She spent a month last year in France with the rest of the cadets, visiting WWI battlefields.

There, she saw the sites where her great-grandfather was wounded.

‘‘It was a very emotional experience for me,’’ she said of the trip.

‘‘I teared up in a lot of the places we visited.’’

But Ms Capararo said she was disappointed by the commercialisation of Anzac Day in Australia.

‘‘I saw Normandy and the Western Front. In the silence, I could hear birds and wind and silence from those visiting. Now there are seats everywhere. It’s like a theatre.

‘‘Gallipoli, as well, is particularly commercial during this time, and people going there for an emotional experience will be disappointed if that’s the kind of thing they see.’’

Still, she says the respect for WWI Australian diggers displayed by France and England was encouraging.

‘‘Recognising by our uniforms that we were from Australia, people near the battlefields in France asked us to have lunch with them and didn’t even make us pay,’’ she said.

‘‘And in the middle of Hyde Park in London, a WWI memorial pays tribute to Maitland, Cessnock, Dungog and Newcastle.’’

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