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History of Two Minutes Silence

This article was written for the South African Legion by Peter Dickens and later published in the Kenya Regiment Magazine, Mini Sitrep Kenya.  One of our members, Don Thompson kindly forwarded the publication:

 I wonder whether readers realise that the ‘ two minutes silence’ and its association to Armistice Day, Remembrance Day (or 11/11). has a South African origin?

 This is why South Africans should stand proud of what they have given the world and on Remembrance Sunday and on Armistice Day in November – when the Western world stands silent in remembrance for “two minutes”, remember also that the entire ceremony has South African roots.

 At 05.30 in the morning of 11th November 1918. the Germans signed the Armistice Agreement also known as the Armistice of Compiegne, in a railway carriage in a remote siding in the heart of. the Forest of Compiegne, 60 km north of Paris.  Soon wires were humming with the message – ‘Hostilities will cease at 11.00 today,. November 11th.  Troops will stand fast on the line reached that hour.’

 Thus, at 11.00 on 11th November 1918 the guns on the Western Front in France and Flanders fell silent after more than four years of continuous warfare; warfare that had witnessed the most horrific casualties.   World War One (then known as the Great War) had ended.

 The time and date attained an important significance in post-war years and the moment that hostilities ceased became universally associated with the remembrance of those that died in that and su

When the first casualty lists recording the horrific loss of life in the Battles of the Somme were announced in Cape Town, Mr J.A. Eagar, a Cape Town businessman suggested, that the congregation of the church be attended, observe a special silent pause to remember those in the South African casualty list.  It was the church also attended by Sir Percy Fitzpatrick.  In May 1918, the Mayor of Cape Town, Councillor H. Hands (later Sir Harry Hands,) at the suggestion made by Mr. R.R. Brydon, a city councillor, in a letter to the Cape Times, initiated a period of silence to remember the events unfolding on the battlefields of Europe and the sacrifices being made there.    Mr. Brydon’ s son. Major Walter Brydon, was three times wounded and once gassed, was killed on April 1918.

 The pause would follow the firing of the Noon Gun, the most audible signal with which to co-ordinate the event across the city of Cape Town. The boom of the gun for the midday pause of three minutes for the first time on 14 May 1918, became the signal for all activity in the Mother City to come to a halt. Everything came to a dead stop while everyone bowed their heads in silent prayer for those in the trenches in Flanders.

 As soon as the city fell silent, a trumpeter on the balcony of the Fletcher and Cartwright’s Building on the comer of Adderley and Darling Streets, sounded the Last Post, the melancholy strains of which reverberated through the city. Reveille was played at the end of the midday pause.

 Articles in the newspapers described how trams, taxis and private vehicles stopped. Pedestrians came to a halt and most men bared their heads. People stopped what they were doing at their places of work and sat or stood silently. The result of the Mayor’s appeal exceeded all expectations. One journalist described a young woman dressed in black, who came to a halt on the pavement and furtively dabbed at her eyes with a handkerchief. ‘One could not but wonder what personal interest she had in the act of remembrance’, he wrote.

 A few days later, Sir Harry, whose son Captain Richard Hands, a member of Brydon’s Battery, had been mortally wounded in the same battle in which Major Brydon had been killed, decided to shorten the duration of the pause to two minutes, in order to better retain its hold on the people.

 In terms of the meaning of ‘two minutes’, it was also argued that the first minute is for ‘thanksgiving for those that ‘survived’, and the second is to ‘remember the fallen’.

 The midday pause continued daily in Cape Town and was last observed on 17th January 1919, but was revived in Cape Town during the Second World War. It had however, become a pause throughout the British Commonwealth from 11th November 1919.

 Sir Percy Fitzpatrick, author of the book ‘Jock of the Bushveld’, had been impressed by the period of silence kept in his local church after the horrific loss of life at Delville Wood became known and the casualty lists read out.  He had a personal interest in the daily remembrance as his son, Major Nugent Fitzpatrick, battery commander of 71st Siege Battery, was killed on 14th December 1917 by a chance shell fired at long range. Sir Percy was understandably deeply affected by the loss of his favourite son and was also so moved by the dignity and effectiveness of the two-minute pause in Cape Town, that the date and time of the Armistice inspired him to an annual commemoration on an Imperial basis.

 On 27th  October 1919, a suggestion from Fitzpatrick for a moment of silence to be observed annually on 11th  November. in honour of the dead of World War I, was forwarded to George V. then King of the United Kingdom, who on 7th  November 1919, proclaimed “that at the hour when the Armistice came into force. the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. there may be for the brief space of two minutes, a complete suspension of all our normal activities, so that in perfect stillness, the thoughts of everyone may be concentrated on reverent remembrance of the glorious dead.”

 11th November was the date in l918 that the formal end of combat occurred to end WWI.  Fitzpatrick was thanked for his suggestion of the two-minutes silence by Lord Stamfordharn, the King’s Private

Secretary who wrote:

 Dear Sir Percy.

 “The King. who learns that you are shortly to leave for South Africa, desires me to assure you that he ever gratefully remembers that the idea of the Two Minute pause on Armistice Day was due to your initiation, a suggestion readily adopted and carried out with heartfelt sympathy throughout the Empire”.

 Use the link below for more info on the Kenya Regiment.




Social Member Celebrated Birthday

One of our regular social Members, Pat Barlow celebrated her 70th surprise birthday at the weekly morning tea on Friday 8th September with other club members.  Pat turned 70 on Tuesday 12th September.  The President provided the cake which was prepared in the shape of a very hairy little dog.

 All members of the Kenmore-Moggill RSL wish her well.

Member’s Milestone


Keith Victorsen OAM, a long-standing member of the Kenmore-Moggill RSL recently celebrated his 90th birthday.  Pictured is Keith and his wife Barbara with a birthday cake presented by the RSL Club made by Julie Grey.

Keith was born in Brisbane on 3rd September 1927 and attended the Coorparoo State School between 1932 and 1942. He left school at the age of 14 and commenced working at the Truth Newspaper the day Singapore fell – 15th February 1942. 

At the age of 16 Keith joined the Air Training Corps for a two-year theory training course after which an automatic Air Force call up would happen.  Unfortunately, two weeks before his call up was due the Americans dropped the two bombs on Japan and all call ups and recruiting for the Air Force was terminated.  Following the end of the war Keith did attempt to enter the Air Force but due to recruiting restrictions limited to ex RAAF personnel and technical tradesmen, he was excluded.

Being despondent with the Air Force, Keith joined the CMF and spend most of his time at the Annerley Dudley Street Depot – Royal Australian Army Service Corp.  He spent six years with the CMF reaching the rank of Staff Sergeant, qualifying for the rank of Warrant Officer and missing out on securing a Commission due to the failure of one subject – Army Tactics.  Keith says: “that his view on tactics and his colonel instructor’s view widely differed” – hence no Commission.

 In 1947 Keith joined a new company -Equitable Probate and General Insurance Company and continued on with the company for 45 years working in Brisbane, Sydney (1961) and South Australia on a temporary basis.

 Following Keith’s retirement, he returned to Brisbane and took up voluntary work as a guide in Government House working for both Quentin Bryce and Penelope Wensley.   He did this for seven years while concurrently volunteering as secretary for the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) for some 13 years.  At the age of 90, Keith still volunteers his services to RSUI two days per week

 It was during the time Keith was volunteering at RUSI he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia – the Citation states (in part) “for services to the Royal United Services Institute and veterans”.

 Keith has stated that he thoroughly enjoyed his time at RUSI and made mention of the three wonderful presidents he had the pleasure of working with, they were: Major Generals John Hartley and Kevin Cooke and Group Captain Ross Clelland.

Everyone at Kenmore-Moggill RSL wishes you a very happy 90th birthday and wish you and Barbara well.

Increased risk of attempted suicide in Australian veterans

Increased risk of attempted suicide in Australian veterans is associated with total and permanent incapacitation, unemployment and posttraumatic stress disorder severity.

You can read the full paper on suicide amongst veterans conducted by Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation in conjunction with Toowong Private Hospital, and published this week in the Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry by clicking here.


Background: Military veterans have higher rates of suicidality and completed suicides compared to the general population.  Previous research has demonstrated suicidal behaviour is higher in US combat veterans who are younger, suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety and score lower on measures of health. However, research on predictors of suicide for Australian veterans is limited. The aim of this study was to identify significant demographic and psychological differences between veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder who had attempted suicide and those with posttraumatic stress disorder who had not, as well as determine predictors of suicide attempts within an Australian cohort.

Methods: A retrospective analysis was conducted on 229 ex-service personnel diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder who had attended a Military Service Trauma Recovery Day Program as outpatients at Toowong Private Hospital from 2007 to 2014. Patients completed a battery of mental health self-report questionnaires assessing symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, alcohol use, anger, depression, anxiety and quality of life. Demographic information and self-reported history of suicide attempts were also recorded.

Results: Results indicated the average age was significantly lower, and the rates of posttraumatic stress disorder, anger, anxiety and depression symptoms were significantly higher in those veterans with history of a suicide attempt. Multivariate logistic regression analyses indicated posttraumatic stress disorder symptom severity, unemployment or total and permanent incapacity pension status significantly predicted suicide attempt history.

Conclusion: Among a cohort of Australian veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder, psychopathology severity, unemployment and total and permanent incapacity status are significantly associated with suicidality. This study highlights the importance of early identification of posttraumatic stress disorder and psychopathology, therapeutic and social engagement, and prioritisation of tangible employment options or meaningful and goal-directed activities for veterans
deemed unable to work.


NMHC Review into the Prevention of Self-Harm and Suicide.

Dear ESORT members,

I am writing to inform you of the recent release of the Government’s Response to the National Mental Health Commission (NMHC) Review into the prevention of self-harm and suicide. The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel released the Government’s response on 30 June 2017 in Melbourne.

The response is available online at www.dva.gov.au/nmhcreview.

At the same time, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) also released its update of data on the incidence of suicide among current and former ADF members. Its report is available online at http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=60129559898.

I encourage you to share these reports with your members.



Neil Bayles

Assistant Secretary Portfolio, Program and Assurance Office

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

Korean War Veterans Remembered

Today, the nation remembers those Australians who served in the Korean War, on the 64th anniversary of the 1953 Armistice agreement.

images 21

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Dan Tehan, said that of the more than 17,000 whoserved, 340 Australians lost their lives and more than 1,200 were wounded.

21 Nations provided military personnel, medical support or other assets to the United Nations effort in Korea, despite most still recovering from the impact of the Second World War.

“Australian soldiers, sailors, airmen and nurses made an important contribution to this international endeavour, serving both during the conflict and in the post-armistice period which continued until 1957,” Mr Tehan said.
“In Korea Australian service personnel earned international respect for their courage and endurance in battle. Today we pause to remember the service and sacrifice of our veterans and the debt of gratitude owed to them by all Australians.”

Australia’s War Animal Memorial


The Australian War Animal Memorial Organization (AWAMO) will be opening Australia’s War Animal Memorial at Pozières, France on 21 July 2017.

This Australian first, honours not only all Australian animals that served and died on the Western Front but all other animals from all nations.

Read the full account and history of war animals on the following link:

Aust War Animals


Qld Govt. Concessions to Vetreans and Seniors

The Queensland Government offers many concessions to veterans in possession of Gold and White Cards as well as seniors and pensioners in our community.  The link below provides a consolidated overview if the concessions available.  Further information can be obtained for the Department of Communities or by contacting the Pensions Officer at Kenmore-Moggill Sub-Branch Inc.


Qld Gov Booklet concessions-made-easy (004)


Vietnam Research Resource

Attached at the Web Link below is a very well constructed and in depth research document which may be of interest to Vietnam Veterans or anyone interested in the Vietnam era or those carrying out research projects. 

The effort that has gone into the production of this document has been considerable.

Select the link below: