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Hobart Boer War commemoration goes ahead

DESPITE social distancing regulations due to COVID-19, the annual Hobart Boer War Commemorative Day was held on the first Sunday in June.

The ceremony took place at the Boer War Memorial on Queen’s Domain.

It was the 18th time it had been held in Hobart

Organiser Reg Watson said it was important the ceremony was observed.

“I was delighted to lay flowers with my granddaughter, Gracie Ryan, on behalf of those Tasmanians who served and in memory of my grandfather and Gracie’s great, great grandfather, Trooper Frederick Wentworth Watson, who served with the Second Tasmanian Imperial Bushmen,” he said.

“I was also pleased to see members of the public do likewise.”

After the laying of the flowers, lone bugler David Hardstaff gave the ODE, played the Last Post and then Reveille.

“It was good to see the small public participation,” Mr Watson said.

“Hopefully next year we will get back to normal with the event being colourful and well attended.”

The memorial was adorned with a magnificent piece of bronze sculpture of a Tasmanian soldier created by past Hobart artist Ben Sheppard.

The memorial was unveiled by the Duke of Cornwall and York on 4 July 1901.

The Boer War was fought in South Africa from 1899 to 31 May 1902.

Forty-two Tasmanians died because of their service, and two Tasmanians, John Hutton Bisdee and Guy Wylly, were awarded the Victoria Cross – the first Australian born-soldiers to receive the award.

Tasmanian nurses went to the war at their own expense.

Caption: Organiser Reg Watson with granddaughter Gracie Ryan (left). Photo credit: Francis Ryan.

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