Members please find the attached article prepared by our own:- WO1 Ray “Dasher” Deed BEM LS MSM MID, (Retrd). – (Korean & Vietnam Veteran) in relation to the “Dawn Service on Anzac Day.”
Wikipedia refers to the “first Dawn Service” being held on the Western Front on 25th April 1916. It also refers to a Service held in Rockhampton at 6.30AM on 26th April 1916, where 600 people attended, as well as the Albany Dawn Parade Service in 1923. But claims no definite proof has been found to corroborate any of them.
However they claim the Dawn Service held at the Sydney Cenotaph in 1928 can lay claim to be the first of a continuous tradition. Well, we all know from experience that anything that happens in a major City, especially Sydney (where apparently the world first started) goes down in history! – whereas anything from the Bush is always hearsay. I tend to believe that both episodes at Rocky & Albany took place.
This story of the Padre sounds to me to be very true. We can thank Dasher for bringing it to our attention. Dasher, who is now 94Yrs, is planning to conduct a “Dawn Service” at the front of his house at Corinda on Anzac Day this year. A few of us 31st Bn members are planning to join Dasher at 6.00AM prior to our attendance at the 2/31st Bn Service at their Memorial at Southbank at 9.00AM then hightailing it down to the Exhibition Grounds for the Brisbane Anzac Day Commemoration Service in lieu of the March thru the Streets. Our 31st Bn Assoc. will have 3 Banners in the March around the Main Arena:- The 31st Bn Main Banner, plus the 2/31st Bn & the 31/51Bn -WW2 Banners.
Attached Photo of Dasher Deed (2nd from left) with other Veterans of the Battle of Kapyong 3RAR – Korea, receiving their 2nd US Presidential Citation as part of the Aust. Army Training Team Vietnam. (Note the two Bars Left Sleeve) (Photo taken in Vietnam)
Wo1 Ray “Dasher” Deed with other Veterans of Kapyong – Korean War and AATV – Vietnam
The Dawn Service – Anzac Day
The Dawn Service on Anzac Day has become a solemn Australian and New Zealand tradition. It is taken for granted as part of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) ethos and few wonder how it started.
This story as it were, is buried in a small Cemetery carved out of the bush some kilometres outside the north Queensland town of Herberton. Almost paradoxically, one grave stands out by its simplicity. It is covered by a protected white washed concrete slab with a plain cement Cross at its top end. No epitaph recalls even the name of the deceased. The inscription on the Cross is a mere two words – “A Priest”. No person would identify the Grave as that of a dedicated Clergyman who created the Dawn Service, without the simple Marker, placed next to the Grave, only in recent times.
“Adjacent to, and on the right of this marker, lies the grave of the late Reverend Arthur Ernest White, a Church of England Clergyman and Padre, – 44th Battalion, First Australian Imperial Force”.
On the 25th April 1923 at Albany in Western Australia, the Reverend White led a party of friends in what was the first ever observance of a Dawn Parade on Anzac Day, in Australia, thus establishing a tradition which has endured Australia wide ever since.
The Reverend White was serving as one of the Padres of the earliest Anzacs to leave Australia with the First AIF in November 1914. The Convoy was assembled in the Princess Royal Harbour and King George Sound at Albany West Australia.
Before embarkation at 4 in the morning, he conducted a Service for all the men of the 44th Battalion.
When Reverend White returned to Australia in 1919, he was appointed relieving Rector of St. Johns Church in Albany. It was a strange coincidence that the starting point of the AIF Convoys should now become his Parish.
Albany, he is quoted to have said, was the last sight of land these Anzac troops saw after leaving Australian shores, and some of them never returned. We should hold a Service (here) at the first light of dawn each Anzac Day to commemorate them.
That is why on Anzac Day 1923, he came to hold the first “Commemorative Dawn Service”.
In later life Reverend White moved to Herberton, North Queensland where he became the Chaplain of the Anglican Convent. However, shortly after his arrival, (on 26th Sept. 1954) he died, to be buried so modestly and anonymously as:-
Ray Deed – 31st Bn Assoc Brisbane. (Jan. 2021)