FORT Scratchley will turn crimson, an eternal flame will fare in Civic Park and a gun that fell silent 100 years ago this Sunday will receive a new lease on life.
Services across the Hunter are scheduled to mark Remembrance Day on Sunday, 100 years since the end of the first World War.
Fort Scratchley volunteer and project co-ordinator Michelle Thompson developed the idea of knitted poppies to commemorate each of the Hunter’s 2127 dead from World War I, following on from plans in Canberra and London to mark the centenary.
But her simple tribute gained momentum, eventually drawing more than 5000 contributions from around Australia.
Boxes came from Canberra and envelopes from elsewhere, some with messages attached to the woven red flowers. A few bore messages to young men lost in the so-called Great War.
Ms Thompson said that while some poppies came from descendants of those lost, many were donated by people who were simply seeking to commemorate the occasion.
She said she was hopeful that relatives would feel welcome to leave tributes to the flowers created over roughly an hour by strangers in honour of their ancestors.
“When social media got a hold of it, it went a lot further,” she said. “It’s just been so heartwarming and beautiful but sad.”
The poppies, attached to camouflage nets and draped over the slopes at Fort Scratchley, will remain on display beyond Sunday’s 10.30am service for two weeks.
Crosses will also stand in the grounds overlooking Newcastle’s coastline bearing the names of battles, some of which ended the lives of the 2127 soldiers hailing from the Hunter who never came home.
At Lake Macquarie, an example of World War I artillery is receiving a major overhaul in Sydney to mark the occasion.
The 25cm Minenwerfer German trench mortar has stood in Speers Point Park since 1926.
The weapon was captured by Australian troops on French soil during the Battle of Amiens in August 1918. Lake Macquarie City Council integrated planning manager Wes Hain said the war trophy had deteriorated after more than 90 years of exposure.
“Relatively few of these giant mortars were deployed to the battlefield and a far smaller number still survive today,” Mr Hain said.
“With Remembrance Day this Sunday, it is timely to recognise the importance of preserving and respecting war monuments and memorials across our city.”
Civic Park’s service on Sunday will also feature the lighting on an eternal flame, the city’s first.
WHERE TO PAY YOUR RESPECTS
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ADAMSTOWN: Service at Adamstown War Memorial, 282 Brunker Road, from 10.50am.
BOOLAROO-SPEERS POINT: Service at the Speers Point cenotaph, opposite Pippi’s, from 10.35am.
CIVIC PARK: 10.15am arrival for 10.30am ceremony.
EAST MAITLAND: 10.25am arrival for service from 10.30am at the corner of Williams Street and Newcastle Road, East Maitland.
FORT SCRATCHLEY: Service from 10.30am.
HAMILTON: Service at the Hamilton War Memorial, Gregson Park, from 10.50am.
KARUAH: 10.30am arrival for a 10.45am start in Memorial Park, corner Memorial Drive and Tarean Road (Old Pacific Highway).
MAITLAND: Service from 10.30am at the Maitland Park cenotaph.
MEDOWIE: 10.20am arrival for service from 10.30am at Lions Memorial Park, Ferodale Road.
NELSON BAY: 10.30am arrival for a 10.45am service at the war memorial in Apex Park, Government Road.
RAYMOND TERRACE: 10.30am arrival for a 10.40am service at the Jacaranda Avenue memorial.
RICHMOND VALE: Gates open 9.30am. Gather at 10.45am for an 11am long steam whistle whistle blast that will signal the beginning of two minutes’ silence.
STOCKTON: 10.45am at Rawson Park memorial, corner Mitchell and Hereford streets.
TANILBA BAY: 10.30am arrival for a 10.45am service at the Tilligerry RSL Sports Club memorial, Lemon Tree Passage Road.
WANGI WANGI: The Outcasts pipes and drums play at Wangi RSL at 11am and 5pm.