Today, Monday 11 November, 101 years on from the end of World War I, most Australians will pause to reflect and remember members of armed forces who died in the line of duty.
The day is special at most Mercy Place aged care homes, as many residents are among the last remaining Australians to have lived through a World War.
A resident at Mercy Place Shepparton, Geoffrey Crisp, aged 94, served as an Officer Steward in the Royal Australian Navy aboard the HMAS Junee in World War II after illegally enlisting at just 17. The Junee was one of Australia’s 60 minesweepers and while she saw little action, it is recorded that she sank three Japanese barges. Geoffrey served aboard the Junee as she steamed between New Guinea waters and Darwin.
In Geelong, World War II veteran Sandy Concannon, 95, will be recognised at Mercy Place Rice Village’s Remembrance Day Service. Sandy completed 35 missions as a gunner in the Royal Australian Airforce over enemy territories, including the infamous D-Day landing. Sandy and 24 crewmen in his squadron flew across the English Channel and bombed the Normandy coastline.
At Mercy Place Parkville in Melbourne’s inner north, residents have been knitting poppies all year, to help complete the 50,000 poppies project. The poppies are donated to the Victorian RSL.
Service Manager Rachelle Regis says Remembrance Day is a time for residents to become involved in the activities, share stories, as well as reflect on their past.
“Most of our residents grew up during World War II but it is rare that you hear them speak about life during wartime,” Rachelle said. “The knitting group at Mercy Place Parkville has helped residents create new friendships and reminisce while creating lovely poppies.
“The poppy is an iconic symbol of remembrance and we are proud to be involved in the 50,000 poppies project for the Victorian RSL,” Rachelle said.
Find out more about Mercy Health.