Charlie, George and Albert Marlow – Thank you for your service and your sacrifice.

Today marks one hundred years since the first Armistice Day was commemorated across the world in 1919. Twelve months prior, the Armistice was signed and at 11.00 am the guns fell silent on the Western Front. The treaty officially ending World War I was yet to come. WWI was then thought to be the ‘war to end all wars’ – we know it was not. The name ‘Armistice Day’ was later changed in World War II to Remembrance Day.

Of the original Anzacs, those of the 1st AIF, one in five young men who enlisted did not come home. In the small Victorian community of Mologa there were twenty-two young men who were farewelled and ten did not return. They were neighbours and mates.  Five of those young men who enlisted were the Marlow brothers. Charlie, George and Albert lost their lives on the Western Front. Corporal Percy Marlow and Lieutenant Allan Marlow, twin brothers, survived the Great War and made it home. Allan is my grandfather.

The Marlows and their mates sacrificed their lives for King and Country with a sense of duty and as young, obedient soldiers. Yet, they had little time for spit and polish. They were renowned for their irreverent sense of humour, believed in a fair go, were resourceful, courageous and fiercely loyal – they were prepared to give their lives for their mates.

One hundred years on, it is not simply by chance that Australia is a safe and prosperous country. Members of the Australian Defence Force have continued to serve in the century that has passed with the same courage, sense of mateship and loyalty of the first Anzacs.

The spirit of the soldiers of World War I lives on in the legacy they left behind. We are the custodians of that legacy and we should never forget.