Colac and district remembers

Jim Haizis, who served aboard the HMAS Colac, right, with RSL volunteer Chris Potter at Colac’s Remembrance Day service.

MORE than 200 Colac and district residents gathered at Colac’s Memorial Square on November 11, pausing to remember those lost in conflicts since the First World War.

Joining the Remembrance Day service was Jim Paizis, 87, who served aboard the HMAS Colac during the Second World War.

Mr Paizis, of Balwyn, Melbourne, said he’d come to Colac to commemorate Remembrance Day due to the relationship residents of the city had formed with the ship’s sailors during the war.

“Towns around the country generally adopted the ships that were named after them,” Mr Paizis said.

“During the war the ladies used to send comfort packages to the ship, and used to keep in touch,” he said.

Mr Paizis served as a sub-lieutenant gunnery officer aboard the HMAS Colac.

While the ship was in for repairs in Sydney in June 1945, five members of the 80-strong crew, including Mr Paizis, were invited to Colac.

“We were entertained by the council and the Rotary Club,” he said.

A reunion was also held in Colac in 1992 to mark the 50th anniversary of the commissioning of HMAS Colac.

Mr Paizis said it was good for everyone to think about those who lost their lives in conflicts on Remembrance Day.

“We lost two members of our crew, after the ship was shelled in the Solomon Islands,” Mr Paizis said.

After the minute’s silence observed by Mr Pataizis and the crowd that gathered in front of Colac’s war memorial, students from Sacred Heart School and community members laid wreaths.

Colac Otway Shire mayor Brian Crook paid tribute to the city’s service men and women.

“As a community we owe these men, the ex servicemen and women present today and those who made the ultimate sacrifice a debt that can never be repaid,” Cr Crook said.

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