A MUSICIAN has travelled across the world to visit Harefield’s Anzac cemetery as part of his preparations for the centenary of the Battle of Gallipoli.
Chris Latham paid his respects to the 111 members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzacs) buried in the extended churchyard at St Mary’s Church, in Church Hill.
A stirring ceremony is held each year on Anzac Day – April 25 – to remember the soldiers buried there, and flowers are laid on each grave by veterans, dignitaries and schoolchildren.
Mr Latham, who is also visiting Turkey as part of a whistle-stop tour of Europe, is artistic director of Canberra International Music Festival and musical director of Gallipoli Symphony, a music project 10 years in the making which will be launched in 2015 as part of the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings.
Leading the cemetery tour last Wednesday was Mike Rimmer, a former teacher from Surrey who lived in Queensland between 1970 and 1990 and has since taken a keen interest in Anzac history.
“[Chris] was very moved by the visit,” said Mr Rimmer, whose father, JFD Rimmer, was headteacher of Harlington Secondary School during the 1960s and 70s.
“Chris has been working hard to make the Anzac centenary memorable.”
Since 2005, Mr Latham has been researching the historic battle, and contacting prominent musicians in Australia, New Zealand and Turkey, to assemble an orchestra, which will play pieces written by composers from the three countries that best reflect their war experiences.
One showpiece composition will be the once-lost violin sonata written in the Gallipoli trenches by Frederick Septimus Kelly, a celebrated soldier and accomplished musician, who fought alongside men now buried in Harefield.
The sonata was written for the object of Kelly’s affections, Hungarian violinist Jelly D’Aranyi, and has been passed down through the generations of her family. It had been forgotten until 2010, when Mr Latham traced the manuscript to D’Aranyi’s great-niece in Florence.
Mr Latham said after the incredible find: “The fact that it was lost and now has been found is amazing to me. I didn’t expect to find this.
“I think it will become famous. It’s certainly the largest thing we’re going to find to do with the centenary.”
Harefield Hospital, in Hill End Road, was originally Harefield Park, a mansion-turned-military hospital for wounded soldiers.
? Go to http://harefieldanzac.mikerimmersphotos.com.