Anzac Day is a day in our national calendar like no other. We have commemorated Anzac Day for more than 100 years, from 25 April 1916 on the first anniversary of the Gallipoli landing, and it has always been a time for people from all walks of life to come together.
While our School has long held an Anzac Day ceremony, since 2004 these ceremonies, and our involvement in the Anzac Day March, have become even more meaningful. In 2004 St Michael’s formalised its relationship with the 14th/32nd Australian Infantry Battalion AIF Association and became the custodian of the Battalion’s regimental banner. In accepting that honour we undertook to provide standard bearers to carry the banner in ANZAC Day Marches in perpetuity. It has since become a tradition at the School that our School leaders carry the banner and we take great pride in knowing that through our students the Battalion continues to take its place in the Anzac Day March.
Sadly, this year there will be no Anzac Day March, but people across Australia have come together in spirit to find innovative ways to pause and remember serving men and women whose sacrifices secured the freedoms of so many and whose efforts have striven to bring peace to the world. At St Michael’s, our staff and students have also been working hard to engender that spirit of togetherness, producing a special video commemorating ANZAC Day and the School’s long association with the 14/32 Battalion
Phillip Cripsey performs The Last Post in St Georges Church
This year is also significant for another reason. This week we mourned the passing of Mr George King, the last Secretary of the 14th/32nd Australian Infantry Battalion AIF Association, who died on 18 April. Mr King was enormously proud of the Battalion’s relationship with our School. So this week, even as we reflect on the all those who gave so much to serve their country in time of war, we will think of Mr King. We will remember him. We will remember them.
Vale Mr George King
It is with great sadness that the St Michael’s Grammar School community mourns the death of Mr Albert (George) King, who passed away on Saturday 18 April 2020 at the age of 98. Mr King was the last Secretary of the 14th/32nd Australian Infantry Battalion AIF Association and he had become a good friend of the School through our strong links with that Association. This week the School flag was flown at half-mast in Mr King’s honour.
Since 2004 St Michael’s has been custodian of the 14th /32nd Battalion’s regimental banner and in accepting that honour we undertook to provide standard bearers to carry the banner in ANZAC Day Marches in perpetuity. It has since become a tradition at the School and Mr King was very proud that the Battalion would continue to take its place in the Anzac Day March through the participation of St Michael’s students.
Although he was not able to visit the School Mr King remained keenly interested in the School’s activities and, with the help of his sons Geoffrey and Ronald, he continued to be well informed about the recipients of the 14th/32nd Battalion AIF Award for Courage and Fortitude, the gift of the 14th/32nd Australian Infantry Battalion AIF Association to the School. This award was established initially by Mr Keith Bilney and Mr Basil Smith on behalf of the Association and first presented in 2005.
Mr King was generous in sharing information about his experiences and keen to preserve the history of the 14th/32nd Battalion. He was a lively raconteur with a good memory and it was always educational to listen to his recollections of his time in New Guinea during the Second World War.
Born in Williamstown, Mr King lived his whole life there, apart from his war service, becoming a highly respected member of the community. He was actively involved in Legacy and with Rotary and was a member of the Robbie Burns Phoenix Lodge. Happily married to his wife Marjorie for 67 years, as a couple they were much loved members of the Parish of St John’s Anglican Church in Footscray. Mr King served as both Vestry Treasurer and Church Warden.
The King family are a close and loving family and after the death of his wife Marjorie in 2012, Mr King took great comfort in the support of his three sons, Ronald, Geoffrey and Kenneth, and Kenneth’s wife Julia and their children and grandchildren.
Mr King’s name has been added to the St Michael’s Memory Book, so that he will be remembered in our prayers at Eucharist Services held in the School’s Chapel of St Michael and All Angels on the anniversary of his passing each year.
We offer our heartfelt condolences to Mr King’s family. Our thoughts are with you.
Lest We Forget.
Our School Leaders pay their respects to the ANZAC soldiers