BUGLES will sound from 4am onwards at dawn services across Parramatta and Holroyd on Friday, with thousands expected to make the early rise for Anzac Day.
One such person will be John Haines, both president of Granville RSL sub-branch and vice president of the Returned and Services League of NSW, and a former Parramatta lord mayor.
Mr Haines, 77, will attend not one - but three - events, beginning his day in darkness at Parramatta RSL from 4am to lay a wreath before heading to Granville and finally on to the city to march with the state council of the RSL from 9am.
While each local sub-branch will hold events to mark the start of the centennary of the landing at Gallipoli in WWI, Mr Haines said the City of Parramatta service is expected to be the biggest, with crowds of up to 2,000.
‘‘It’s big. Big enough to block off Marsden Street,’’ Mr Haines said.
‘‘More and more people are going to dawn services in the western Sydney area.
‘‘I often go to Parramatta and just say g’day, then I go over to Granville to make sure that’s ok, then I go into town for the march,’’ said Mr Haines, who served in Vietnam and as a military policeman.
He encouraged people to attend dawn services, particularly current and recently returned service men and women and their families.
‘‘We’re encouraging younger people this year, including those who’ve recently come back from Iraq, Afghanistan and East Timor, but also those who have come back since 1975,’’ he said.
‘‘In this day and age, it’s more important than ever to recognise those men and women serving all over the world, even at the present time, to recognise what they do for this country.’’
Mr Haines said Granville RSL would soon approach local schools to ask students to conduct historical research on two WWI diggers from Granville who received the Victoria Cross, to help prepare for local centenary celebrations from 2014-18.
‘‘George Cartwright of the 33rd battalion and Arthur Charles Hall, a country boy whose father sent his mother down to Granville to give birth… I have his birth certificate and I maintain he’s still a Granville boy,’’ he said.
‘‘Both served in different units during WWI. They both came home and volunteered to train young soldiers going overseas for WWII. They were really, truly patriots... George Cartwright of trained young soldiers in trench warfare down in Merrylands Park behind the old Maccas on the corner of Woodville Rd."
City of Parramatta RSL sub-branch:
4am: Parade assembles at the club.
4.15: March to Prince Alfred Park starts.
4.30: Dawn service commences at Prince Alfred Park.
Post service: Community breakfast in the club auditorium.
Guest speaker will be Lieutenant Colonel Robert Lording.
Epping RSL sub-branch:
6am: Service begins at Forest Park Epping.
If raining, the service will be held in Epping RSL’s foyer.
Reverend Mark Hillis will be guest speaking.
Granville RSL sub-branch:
6am: Service begins at Granville Memorial Park.
Breakfast will be served for all dawn service attendees at Granville RSL.
Merrylands RSL sub-branch:
5:15am: March up to Memorial Avenue begins.
The dawn service will be held outside the club.
A hot breakfast provided for dawn service attendees.
A serving officer from the army will be guest speaking, alongside two children from Hilltop Primary School who will talk about what Anzac Day means to them.
Seven Hills/Toongabbie/Wentworthville RSL sub-branch:
5am: Warm up for the march.
5:30: March from Boomerang Place Seven Hills to the club.
The dawn service will commence after the march, followed by a chat inside the club.
Wentworthville RSL Memorial Bowling Club:
5.15am: Meet at club for a service at 28 Pritchard St, Wentworthville.
Post service: Breakfast will be served at the bowling club.