About 1700 people paid homage to the servicemen and women of Australia’s armed forces in the pre-dawn light at Cannonvale on ANZAC Day 2014.
About 1700 people paid homage to the servicemen and women of Australia’s armed forces in the pre-dawn light at Cannonvale on ANZAC Day 2014. Sharon Smallwood

1700 people pay homage at Anzac Day service in Cannonvale

ABOUT 1700 people paid homage to the servicemen and women of Australia's armed forces in the pre-dawn light at Cannonvale on ANZAC Day 2014.

Officer in Charge of the Whitsunday Police Station, Acting Senior Sergeant Brad Teys, said this was an increase of about 200-300 people on the numbers from last year.

"And it's getting to a point where most emergency services want to show their support as well," he said, in reference to the increased turn-out from local police, paramedics and fire-fighters.

This year's dawn service was a particularly emotional one for Bowen resident Vicki Birkhead, who was presented with the long overdue honour of a gallantry citation insignia, accepted on behalf of her grandfather Bruce Cairncross.

A leading stoker in the Royal Australian Navy, Bruce Cairncross was one of just 13 survivors from the HMAS Yarra II, which was sunk by enemy forces in the Sunda Strait during World War II.

Sharing Ms Birkhead's emotions were Whitsunday residents both young and old who flocked to the Cenotaph with wreaths and bowed heads.

Airlie Beach / Whitsunday RSL sub-branch president Terry Brown said it was worth remembering that the sacrifices of war were made not just by those who fought on the front lines but also by those left at home.

"So let's make today a good day," he said.

"A day of stories and great memories. A day to raise a glass to your mates and those mates no longer with us."


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