Funds help acknowledge Band War Heroes

anzac plaques -1
The memory of two previous band members who died in World War II has been bolstered by a government grant. The funding aims to support groups or individuals to express, celebrate, promote and maintain the Anzac spirit.

The Hahndorf Town Band was awarded $1000 for their efforts to commemorate former band members and WW II servicemen, Able Seaman Frederick Walter Cecil Balleine and Pilot Officer James Joseph Alexander McFadyen, through obituaries and plaques.

Band president Greg Francis said it was discovered during research for the band history that past members had fought in WW II and died in the conflict. "Their memories had never been acknowledged in any way," he said. "We wanted to piece together their history and create a commemorative plaque for each of these guys and we unveiled them on Anzac Day 2009." Both men commemorated by the plaque died in the line of duty.

Able Seaman Balleine, who was the band's side drummer for several years from 1933, died while serving on a ship on the Mediterranean Sea after it was struck by a torpedo on November 27, 1941.

Pilot officer McFadyen, also a side drummer, joined the band in 1939 and played with them for two years before being-enlisted. He was a spitfire pilot and his plane was shot as he returned home from his final mission on December 8, 1944. Although he tried to land safely he never made it home, and his remains were reported to have been found in Belgium.

Mr Francis said the special way of remembering the men was important for the band and the town. "They were local men and there are people here who know the family," he said. "Also we have a lot to do with Anzac Day each year, with members playing in various local remembrance services and also this year the local football match."

The plaques were unveiled on Anzac Day this year with past band member and WW II serviceman George Schneemilch of Hahndorf doing the honors.

Former Hahndorf Town Band member and WW II serviceman George Schneemilch, left, and band president Greg Francis proudly display the plaques which remember two past members who died at war.

Vale Jerry Grootenboer

Long time band members were saddened to hear of the sudden loss of previous member and treasurer Jerry Grootenboer, who died suddenly at age 78 on Saturday September 13th 2008.

Jerry is remembered for his jovial personality, his enthusiasm for the Hahndorf band and his dedication to continual improvement in his trombone playing.

After moving residence to the south coast some years ago, Jerry had left the Hahndorf Town Band, but was a current playing member of Goolwa Band. Condolences are extended to wife Doris and family.