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Veterans of HMAS Lismore bail out

ANZAC DAY 2009: The banner of HMAS Lismore is carried by TS Lismore representatives.
ANZAC DAY 2009: The banner of HMAS Lismore is carried by TS Lismore representatives. Jacklyn Wagner

THE World War II crew of HMAS Lismore will no longer march on Anzac Day in the city that is the namesake of their beloved ship.

The Bathurst Class vessel was one of 60 Australian minesweepers that were built for World War II and were commonly known as corvettes.

The ship travelled far and widebetween 1941 and 1946 and her crew were rightfully proud of the ship’s heritage. It was decommissioned in 1958.

As an active group of returned servicemen they also took pride indisplaying their history by marching in Lismore every Anzac Day, despite the fact that most of them hailed from far and wide.

But age has wearied them and the group will be formally disbanded during this year’s Anzac Day.

Lismore RSL Sub-branch honorary secretary Wilson McClelland said the occasion was ‘extremely sad’.

“Due to their age and ill health there will be no representation from HMAS Lismore,” he said. “Although one or two former crew may make the journey to Lismore unannounced and end up marching in the Anzac Day Parade.”

While it is the end of a long and popular era for the former crew of the HMAS Lismore, there is a future, in the form of eager cadets who are part of TS Lismore in Ballina.

Sub-Lt Heather O’Hare is the executive officer of TS Lismore and said the cadets were proud to carry the flag of HMAS Lismore now that the original organisation had disbanded.

“The cadets parade every Anzac Day and have always carried the banner for HMAS Lismore,” Sub-Lt O’Hare said.

In the past the original crewalways laid a wreath at the cenotaph, but this year the cadets will do the honour.

However many of TS Lismore’scadets would also march in Ballina and Byron Bay, depending on where they lived.

She said the 17 cadets and four staff of TS Lismore met every Saturday from 8.30am to 3.30pm to learn seamanship, leadership and how to live the routine on board a Navy ship.

There are currently eight former TS Lismore cadets now serving in the armed forces.

For more information about TS Lismore phone the cadet unit onSaturdays on 66 868 238.

Meanwhile, Lismore Sub-branch secretary Wilson McClelland is calling for public support in the lead-up to Anzac Day to help sell Legacy badges.

Usually schoolchildren are given the job, which provides most of the funding needed to carry out voluntary work by the sub branch.

But this year schools will havereturned from the Easter holidays.

Mr McClelland said funds raised from Anzac Day and Remembrance Day helped fund hospital visits toex-servicemen and war widows.



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