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Old soldiers ... Members of the crowd, which gathered at the Rangiora Cenotaph last week, prepare to lay wreaths during the Armistice Day commemoration service. PHOTOS: DAVID HILL

By DAVID HILL

Last week’s Armistice Day commemoration service provided the first opportunity for the Rangiora RSA to gather with the community this year.

Speakers … Waimakariri Mayor Dan Gordon, left, chats with Rangiora RSA president Ian Thompson and Salvation Army band master Bill Peck before the service.

Rangiora RSA president Ian Thompson was pleased with the turnout at the Rangiora Cenotaph on Wednesday, November 11.

Anzac Day services in April had been cancelled because of Covid-19.

Armistice Day marks the truce that came into effect at 11am on November 11, 1918, and saw soldiers lay down their arms, putting an end to fighting on the western front during World War 1.

In his address, Salvation Army band master Bill Peck said the four-year war resulted in nine million soldiers dying and 21 million being wounded, as well as tens of millions of civilian casualties.

We will remember them … Rangiora Salvation Army band master Bill Peck performed The Last Post and Reveille.

“We can live in hope that by remembering them we may save lives in the future.”

Waimakariri Mayor Dan Gordon said 100,000 New Zealanders fought in the war from a population of around 1.1 million.

“Many never returned and others were deeply affected.”

Mr Gordon recalled his experience of attending the 100th anniversary commemorations of the Battle of Passchendaele in Belgium in 2017.

At least seven Waimakariri soldiers lost their lives at Passchendaele in 1917, he said.

“I will never forget the hospitality of the local people. The Belgians have not forgotten.”