Despite a chilling wind there was a good turnout in Dannevirke on Saturday for the Armistice Day service at the Cenotaph.

Among the good crowd was a determined Tom Collier, the Dannevirke and District RSA's first patron, braving the weather wrapped in a blanket, leaving behind the warmth of Rahiri Rest Home to take part in the service.

Ashley Griffiths, the Wairarapa St John district youth manager, left, with Dannevirke St John cadet Elizabeth Laws, presenting a wreath at Saturday's Armistice Day service.
Ashley Griffiths, the Wairarapa St John district youth manager, left, with Dannevirke St John cadet Elizabeth Laws, presenting a wreath at Saturday's Armistice Day service.

"We are here to remember New Zealand soldiers killed in World War I and those killed in action during the Battle of Passchendaele," said Paddy Driver, the president of the Dannevirke and Districts RSA.

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"Passchendaele was New Zealand's darkest hour and many of our men died a slow, painful death.

''Spare a though for those poor soldiers who died alone in horrific conditions on the battlefield in no-man's land."

John Ross, left, and former J Force soldier Tom Collier brave the cold weather at the Armistice Day service.
John Ross, left, and former J Force soldier Tom Collier brave the cold weather at the Armistice Day service.

Mr Driver, a Vietnam veteran, said it was very special to have Lieutenant Colonel Aidan Shattock, the commanding officer and Bradley Fairbairn, the Regimental Sergeant Major, from the 1st Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment Linton, attend the service, joining former servicemen and women, families, RSA members and young people.

"I was very thrilled with the contribution to the service by the young people, including having the Ode read by Dannevirke High School head girl Lauren Carr and St John cadets laying a wreath. Having young people involved in our services in the future is important," Mr Driver said.

Bradley Fairbairn, left, Regimental Sergeant Major 1st Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment. from Linton, with Paddy Driver, Vietnam veteran and president of the Dannevirke and Districts RSA and Lieutenant Colonel Aidan Shattock, commanding officer 1 RNZIR, at the Dannevirke Cenotaph.
Bradley Fairbairn, left, Regimental Sergeant Major 1st Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment. from Linton, with Paddy Driver, Vietnam veteran and president of the Dannevirke and Districts RSA and Lieutenant Colonel Aidan Shattock, commanding officer 1 RNZIR, at the Dannevirke Cenotaph.

RSA chaplain Ron Ashford delivered the prayer of remembrance.

"This service is to give thanks for the cessation of hostilities of World War I. Let it not be in vain that they died for our safety," he said.

Piper Harvey Sattrup played the lament, Flowers of the Forest, with the Last Post and The Rouse played by Steve Wallace in what was a poignant service.

After the service Mr Driver hosted a function at the Dannevirke Services and Citizens Club which was also attended by a busload from out-of-town, including Afghan and Timor veterans.