Parade to mark Great War effort

BLANTON SMITH
Last updated 05:00 01/08/2014

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Current and former servicemen and women will take to New Plymouth streets on Sunday to mark 100 years since the start of World War I.

The National Army Association organises the annual Soldiers' Day, and this year's service and parade is dedicated to those who served in "the war to end all wars".

"Approximately 3800 New Zealanders were serving in the British Army, the Royal Navy and the Merchant Navy at the time of declaration," organiser Brian Inns said. "The service is dedicated to them and the thousands who died."

Association president Bryan Benton said war was declared on August 4 and announced in New Zealand on August 5.

"The fact 100,000 served from a country of 1 million people, at the time, is special."

Soldiers' Day was started to acknowledge those who had served or were currently serving their country, he said.

This year was the 14th, and was the first time the New Zealand Naval Association was involved.

A commemorative march will start at the intersection of King and Queen streets at 11am, with a service at the Cenotaph followed by a parade through New Plymouth's central business district.

"There will be two bands, the pipe and brass band combined, and 18 military vehicles," Inns said.

Benton said there would be a range of military vehicles on show including a Scorpion tank.

The event would be held regardless of the weather.

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