Saddle up for grand re-enactment of volunteers off to WWI

The Copmanhurst Lighthorse Reenactment Committee Brian Bultitude, Ted Brown, Fred Norris, Alan Ryall, Denis Benfield, David Morgan and Kevan Hutchinson. Photo Kathleen Davies / Contributed NO RESALE
The Copmanhurst Lighthorse Reenactment Committee Brian Bultitude, Ted Brown, Fred Norris, Alan Ryall, Denis Benfield, David Morgan and Kevan Hutchinson. Photo Kathleen Davies / Contributed NO RESALE Kathleen Davies

WHEN the call came for volunteers to fight in the First World War, men from throughout the Clarence Valley signed up.

Residents of the upper reaches of the Valley rode their horses across the river and across land to sign on at the Copmanhurst Hotel.

They then rode to Grafton, where they joined the main company before heading off to war.

Grafton RSL sub-branch president Brian Bultitude is part of a committee responsible for overseeing preparations for the centenary of Australia's involvement in the First World War.

He said plans were well under way to re-enact this mobilisation, with more than 80 people already showing interest in riding from Copmanhurst to Grafton to commemorate the event.

Anzac Day 2015 falls on a Saturday, and the re-enactment is planned for the days before and including Anzac Day.

"Up here at Copmanhurst there is a big interest," Mr Bultitude said.

Some of the fellows' fathers served in World War Two and some of their grandfathers probably fought in the First World War too.

"A lot of their families were involved. They'd come out of the bush to go overseas.

"It was a big time," he said. "They thought they were getting out to see the world."

Those involved with the re-enactment will camp at Copmanhurst on the Thursday night before "signing up" on Friday morning.

They will then ride into Grafton and bivouac the night at Grafton Showground.

"We're planning to go through Grafton about 3pm, so it would be great if people could turn out and welcome them in."

On Anzac Day, the men and their horses will join the main march in Grafton, and the committee has hopes of erecting a big screen to show a re-enactment of Gallipoli.

Anyone is welcome to join the ride.

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