Events

ANZAC Day Dawn Service

Start Date & Time: Wednesday, 25 April 2018 5:00 am

End Date & Time: Wednesday, 25 April 2018 6:00 am

Address: Garden of Remembrance, Albert Ave, Chatswood

Cost: Free


Description:

Join a commemoration march and ceremony in remembrance of those Australian and New Zealand Army Corps soldiers who fought and died at Gallipoli in 1915. It is also a day of remembrance for all servicemen and women who have fought and died for their country.

Bookings Essential:

This event is part of Willoughby Heritage Festival.

Francis Eric Channon

Honouring a local hero – Gunner Francis Eric Channon (1893 – 1979)

Around 420,000 Australians enlisted for service in the First World War, representing 38.7 per cent of the male population aged between 18 and 44. The Australian Military Forces roll of honour 1914-1919 lists 776 men from Willoughby as having served, however it is thought that this figure could be higher.

One local resident and former councillor who served his country was Gunner Francis (Frank) Eric Channon who joined the 1st Australian Field Artillery Brigade in October 1916 aged 23. Frank was sent to the Western Front in France where he kept a diary about his experiences. The diary is a fascinating record of the daily life of a serviceman in World War I, tracking his journey from Australia to France via England, and demonstrates the very real and constant threat of death or injury experienced by these young Diggers.

17 July 1917

“…Fairly heavy shelling near (by)… Took cover in trench. Had left dump when 5.9s lobbed there. Trench blown in a good deal and plenty of carrying over the top. Hun aeroplanes above us…. Dumped bombs near Sanctuary Wood. Arrived home. No Casualties.”

Despite the brutality and cruelty of war, Frank saw the beauty in the battlefield, writing on

17 August 1917

“Enemy aircraft carrying and dropping many bombs. About 18 searchlights after them. Saw two planes in flight. Heard about 20 bombs. Very pretty sight to see and the search light on the cloud and crossing one another. Best display of lights I have ever seen.”

On his return to Australia in 1918 Frank and his family settled in Gordon Avenue in Chatswood where he lived for 60 years and made a huge contribution to the local community. A lifetime member of Chatswood/Willoughby RSL he worked tirelessly to assist Willoughby’s returned services and war widows and was very active in the annual ANZAC Day commemorations.

Frank played a key role in having the Garden of Remembrance set up in Chatswood, arranging for the Roses of Picardy to be imported from the WWI battlefields which formed the core of the garden and are still there today.

A variety of Frank Channon’s wartime memorabilia, including his diaries, are held at Chatsood library where a large portrait of him is also on display. As a tribute to his untiring community service the walkway between Chatswood Bowling Cub and the railway line was names the Frank Channon Walk in his memory.

Contact: Chatswood RSL on 9419 4765 or email enquiries@chatswoodrsl.com.au

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