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TROOPER COLE AND LANCE
The little community of Grantville enthusiastically welcomed home two of its fighting men on Friday night last. In this respect Grantvilie can show the way to many more populous districts, for they treat their re turned heroes more generously than any we have seen. It was unfortu nate that heavy rain fell early in the evening, which prevented people com ing from a distance. However, there was a large attendance, and the wea ther could not damp the ardour of those who braved its inclement condi tion, although many, got a soaking. The hall was nicely decorated, and the stage was garlanded with foliage and flowers. The evening's entertain ment commenced with dancing, inter spersed with songs and recitations. Mrs. McNabb (piano) furnished ad mirable music, assisted by Mr. G. F. Hopkins (piccolo), Mr. Bowcher also providing excellent music with his ac cordeon. * Mrs. Cracknell sang a song
appropriate to the occasion, "Sweet Home," and showed possession of a cultured soprano voice of good range, sweetness, and power. She was re
Mr. Bartells gave an amusing reci tation about a dog and a phonograph, and was loudly applauded. Mr. Schultz's song, "Eileen Alannah," with flute accompaniment by Mr. Hopkins, was very harmoniously ren dered, and gained great applause. Mr. T. Harrison, a visitor from Morning ton, sang "Nita Gitana" in good style, and was encored. Later in the evening Mrs. Cracknell sang "Mary," which was as effective as her first item.
Just before supper the real business of the evening commenced.
Mr. C. T. White, chairman, said there would have been a much larger
arienaance out ror tne almost impos
sible weather. While listening to ! that song, "Sweet Home," lie could not help being struck with its appli cation to the present occasion. He supposed most of them had sons and daughters, and if home was so sweet to them, how much more so must it mean to these lads coming home from the war? Lance-Corporal Combridge had been away three years, and had seen much lighting. He had the unique experience of being on the torpedoed Southland. Like most of the lads, you could not get much out of him about his exploits. But if he liked he could tell you some things that would make your blood boil. He hoped that their young soldier would get better of his wound. Trooper Cole had not been much in the fight ing line, but it was not through any fault of his own. He had been en gaged in a very hazardous occupation with horses, and he had been rolled on and incapacitated. He had tried twice to get back, and intended to try again. (Applause.) He (the chair man) said it was a shame to send these men back when there were
thousands of young men fit to go to
the front. He did not see where their manhood came in. Only the other day some Anzacs had come back after
3§~ years' service. It was a cowardly shame to ask those men to go back
again. What had become of our old I Australian pluck and stamina? He thought they must be—well, he wouldn't say what. It was up to them to do something for the re turned soldiers. He thought that by and by there would be hard times for those who would not fight. When all the soldiers came back, with their strong R.S. Association, they would have a say in the affairs of the coun try. They were the soldiers who had fought for it, and they were the men who should rule it. (Hear, hear.)
Mr. W. Lang said it was an honour to welcome these boys home. Lance Corporal Combridge, who had seen 3£ years' service, had the good for tune to receive a wound which had sent him home fairly sound, and the speaker hoped he would come out of the hospital quite strong again. He considered the Government was not treating the men in the right spirit, and was leaving too much to chance. It should not be left to men who were trying to make money out of the con cern, and local disinterested commit tees should be selected to go into the matter. They were selecting land which was not good enough for the soldiers. Local men wanted to see the •soldiers get good and sound invest ments. They were the men who were entitled to good treatment and a say in the co.untrv's affairs. If they did not take and make their own privi leges, he thought they would be foolish. He trusted that the time would not be long in coming when tliev would have one grand welcome home of all the troops. (Loud cheers.) He had known these boys since thev were little fellows, and
they had "always been straight and manly. Cole's calling was a hazard ous one amongst horses, and he could say that if this lad had the opportu nity he would be just as good a fighter as he was a horseman. (Cheers.) All
honour to him. There were thou- i sands of shirkers knocking about the cities, dolled up and living on the fat of the land, eating the best m'eals in cafes and restaurants. They should be treated as America was treating her men, and should be made to fight or work. (Cheers.) Thank God, there were not manv shirkers left here. He would say that if they had to call 011 the girls thousands of them would re spond, but he hoped it would not come, to that. It seemed as if the shirkers were not to be shamed. It was a shame to send returned sol diers back, and he hoped they would not have to go. (Cheers.)
Mr. Bartells said he had a son on the Southland when she was torpe doed. He congratulated Lance-Cor poral Combridge on being one of the noble band whose behaviour on the Southland would ever be remem bered as one of the finest pieces of heroism and cool discipline. When he was an old man he would be able
to spin yarns about the Southland. Anyhow, he would be able to even if he did not. He could not get his own boy to talk about it. The only ones who could speak about these things were those who were not there. (Laughter.) Lance - Corporal Corn bridge was one of the heroes who had shown the world what was considered to be be the most courageous conduct on land or sea. It was something to be extremely proud of, and he hoped he would be quite strong and able to take his part in the world again. His youngest son came back from Galli poli, .and afterwards lost a leg in France. It was only those who had sons away who knew the anxious times parents went through—the dan gers of the sea as well as those on land, the anxious hearts wearying, waiting, and watching for the return of their boys. He congratulated the parents on their boys' safe return. (Cheers.)
Mr. Bartells spoke with deep emo tion, and was visibly affected.
The chairman said he had come to the most pleasant part of the evening, the presentation of gold medals to the guests. These medals are of handsome design, with the Australian coat of arms, surmounted ..with a boomerang, a soldier being repre
sented with rifle, the reverse side suitably engraved. These medals are given by the Grantville Welcome Home League. He regretted to say that there had been some friction at the Bass, and was very sorry the Red Cross had closed down. The ladies had -practically been insulted by others who were too mean to give, and did nothing except pick holes in the actions of others. They stood it for a long time, but had now re signed in a body. The Bass society included San Remo, Corinella, Grant ville, and Kilcunda. Bass had handed back to Grantville their amount of the returned soldiers' fund. He handed to Lance-Corporal Combridge £10, and the gold medals to both soldiers. Trooper Cole would get his £10
Lance - Corporal Combridge said only those Who had been through it had any idea what it was like. He had also listened to the song of "Sweet Home," and realised its import. He had known he was coming home, but could hardly realise it until at a time like this, when it could be appreciated to the full. He would like to tell them how much the Red Cross was appreciated. In fact, he could not find words to tell them what they thought of it in England and France. He heartily thanked them. (Cheers.)
Trooper Cole said he did not know how to thank them all. It had been no fancy of his to come back here, and he intended to have another go. (Cheers.)
1 he Chairman: If they cant speak, they can light. I think their parents should be proud of the example shown to the rest of Australia. I know you will be glad to see all the other boys comc home. (Cheerc.)
"For They Are Jolly Good Fellows" was lustily sung, and cheers three times three were given.
' An excellent supper was prepared by the following:—Mesdames Ken nedy, Boucher. George, and Schultz, Misses Lang, White, Reid, and Wil
The chairman moved a vote - of thanks to Mr. Hopkins, of the "Lang Lang Guardian," for his assistance during the evening, which was second ed by Mr. Schultz and carried with acclamation. The vote was acknow ledged by the editor of "The Guar
The proceedings terminated at a late hour, everybody having spent a most enjoyable time.