A CROWD estimated at more than 15,000 on Saturday flocked to Wagga’s Anzac Day march and service that commemorated 100 years since the Gallipoli landing.
Many people, including RSL sub-branch president Kevin Kerr, mayor Rod Kendall and former town clerk Brian Andrews, said it was the largest Anzac Day crowd they had ever seen in the city.
People stood shoulder to shoulder, and in places 10 deep, along Baylis Street as hundreds of proud marchers strode proudly along the road or were carried in an array of vehicles, including military Jeeps, mobility scooters, a bus and vintage cars.
“It’s a tremendous turnout for Wagga,” Mr Kerr said.
“I have been saying this for years, Wagga really supports us and we appreciate that.”
Councillor Kendall congratulated the massive crowd at the start of his speech at the commemoration service in the Victory Memorial Gardens.
“We have never seen such a gathering before in Wagga, so thank you very much,” Councillor Kendall said.
Rain that drenched the 6am dawn service held off for the 10.30am march and the following service, allowing a fly over of historic and modern military aircraft, including two World War II Spitfires.
Baylis Street burst into applause, children waved flags and friends and family yelled out in support when the marchers turned out of Morgan Street at the start of the parade.
“Good on you Pete,” called out one supporter. “Keep going John,” urged another.
Tears welled up in the eyes of some marchers who were overwhelmed by the occasion and the incredible show of support. Many wore poppies knitted by the Wagga Quilters Club.
Their heads held high, they were survivors of prisoner of war camps, ship sinkings, hand-to-hand combat, bullets, shells, heroic victories and terrible defeats.
Scores of young and old wore the medals of deceased family members with pride.
Non-stop clapping accompanied the marchers all the way along Baylis Street.
“It’s a good day,” Vietnam War veteran Bill Jacob said simply as he walked along and soaked up the crowd’s affection.