Commemorating our lost war leaders

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By David Bulafkin

In commemoration of the centenary anniversary of Gallipoli, a revered Minister who battled in World War One was celebrated in a service at his community Church in East St Kilda.

Rev Andrew Gillison died in Anzac Cove, Turkey, on 22nd August 1915, being one of the first casualties in the devastating war.

Approximately 50,000 Australian soldiers were deployed to Gallipoli during the 8-month mission that resulted in 8700 deaths.

What is remembered of this courageous man is of someone who was known to be ‘larger than life’.

Vivid details describe how Gillison was caring, compassionate and truly loved by the community that he was so much a part of. Consoling men on the field, helping with the burial of the dead and providing support for those that needed it, this was a man who genuinely took an interest in every individual.

Gillison was born in Scotland and was 46 when he left Melbourne to join the war efforts-a far cry from the youth that would have been enlisted.

Gordon Traill, a war veteran and peer support worker for Creative Ministeries Network, explained how Gillison is emblematic of a much larger picture of the overall loss from Gallipoli.

‘We’re commemorating all the service men and women that were lost during the First World War,’ said Traill.

Creative Ministeries Network (CMN) is an arm of the United Care Victoria that offers services and support for Veterans’ faith and wellbeing.

Traill highlights the importance that these services that CMN provide to individuals when coming back from war.

Just coming back from overseas’ operations, it’s always a bit of a struggle. We might return in body but maybe not all the same thinking patterns,’he said.

There was a strong mix of current serving soldiers with war veterans showing the unique kinship that exists with those that have served.

This will most likely be the last service held at St George’s that has been bought by St. Michaels Grammar and will be transformed into an arts precinct.

 

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