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Laidley remembers First World War with Call to Arms

A recreation of the recruitment march at Laidley's Call to Arms.
A recreation of the recruitment march at Laidley's Call to Arms. Derek Barry

ONE hundred years ago, almost to the day, the streets of Laidley and the Lockyer Valley lit up with the cries of volunteers signing up for king and country.

Britain entered the First World War on August 4, 1914, and that meant Australia was at war too.

The Laidley Pioneer Village took the valley back to that time with the re-enactment of the local recruitment march on Saturday.

The re-enactment was the largest such event in Queensland this year, with a contingent of Light Horse troopers marching down Patrick St.

The riders followed the Salvation Army band - just as they did 100 years ago.

They were followed by "recruits" for the AIF (Australian Imperial Force), whose banner asked, "Will you join us?".

Saturday's marchers and riders were followed by today's 2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment from Enoggera Barracks with their modern "horses", the ASLAV - Australian Light Armoured Vehicle.

A contingent of vintage Model T Fords in immaculate condition also joined in.

The party stopped outside Das Neumann Haus, where the "mayor" (David Green) gave a rousing speech to farewell the raw recruits before festivities moved on to the Pioneer Village.

Ian Rickuss MP told the crowd he did not know whether to call the day a celebration or a commemoration, given the amount of men that were lost during the war.

"It was a broad spread of the community (that recruited) and you still see the family names today - the Brimblecombes, the Logans - these are the sort of people that made communities," Cr Rickuss said.

"A lot of the young men thought it was going to be an adventure and unfortunately Australia lost over 60,000 people."

Pioneer Village president John Barwell said the weekend was a big job and something they started organising in October.

"We applied for $48,000 in grants and got exactly nothing," Mr Barwell said.

"Next year we are going to recreate the Dungaree March and we'd like to see everyone back here.

"There were over 500 people that originally signed up here and an enormous percentage didn't come home."

Topics:  call to arms, first world war, laidley


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