Home' Army News : May 4th 2017 Contents May 4, 2017
ALWAYS IN OUR HEARTS
Cpl Max Bree
A ROUSING rendition of Waltzing
Matilda echoed through the small
French village of Bullecourt, where
100 years ago exploding shells and
deathly cries resonated across the sur-
The music was provided by a contin-
gent from the Australian Army Band who
joined members of Australia’s Federation
Guard and the French military for cen-
tenary commemorations of the battles of
Bullecourt this Anzac Day.
Australian soldiers stunningly broke
into German defences on their famous
Hindenburg Line in April 1917, despite
the diggers’ supporting tanks breaking
down or being destroyed.
But because high command didn’t
know how far they had advanced, artil-
lery support was withheld and the
Australians were forced back.
They suffered more than 3300 casual-
ties with 1170 Australians taken prisoner
the largest number captured in a single
engagement during the war.
The Aussies had another crack at
Bullecourt the next month when they
joined British soldiers in taking the town
and holding it against repeated German
Although the area was of little stra-
tegic importance, the actions cost the
Australians about 7500 causalities.
Chief of Air Force Air-Mshl Leo
Vibrant French connection honours the Anzacs
A banner in the French town
of Bullecourt on Anzac Day.
Photo: Cpl Max Bree
Davies attended the French and
Australian services in the village.
“The Australian Army was so desper-
ate here and ultimately so successful, and
that’s the set up for what [the ADF] is
currently doing,” he said.
“When I go to the Middle East and
talk to a soldier, sailor or airman, it’s that
same passion to be successful motivat-
ing them, which motivated soldiers 100
A large crowd of locals welcomed
the Australians and were present at both
“The French are so honest and
genuine in their recognition of what the
Australian soldiers did for them,” Air-
Mshl Davies said.
“It was such a long time ago, but it’s
vibrant, you can feel it.”
Air-Mshl Davies said the original dig-
gers at Bullecourt might be surprised at
us remembering their actions 100 years
“I think they would understand what
they did was important and that us rec-
ognising what they did is important,” he
“They would probably be a lot more
humble than we might think. You look at
some of the old photos and they have that
sparkle in their eyes, the feeling they’re
doing something that’s right.”
Capt Anna-Lise Rosendahl
THE Last Post echoed across Gallipoli
Barracks, Enoggera, repeatedly on Anzac
Day as units held services to commemo-
rate the fallen.
At the 6RAR Memorial Grove, members,
veterans and families of the regiment gath-
ered in the pre-dawn to see the catafalque
party emerge from an APC and begin the
Names from the 75-long battalion honour
roll were read out, with some in the crowd
family of those soldiers killed.
CO 6RAR Lt-Col Jim Hunter said it was
important to have families at the service.
“The families bear the burden of our com-
mitment to Army and operational service, so
allowing them to join us on such a special
day is really important to the battalion,” he
“It is important to show the families that
their commitment and sacrifice is just as
important as the sacrifice made by the
Also commemorating Anzac Day was a
contingent from the Royal Gurkha Rifles,
which has been attached to 6RAR while
exercising in Australia.
They joined 7 Bde in marching through
the Brisbane CBD for the annual Anzac Day
Thousands of people lined the streets of
Brisbane, proudly waving as a sea of troops
Gurkha rifleman Iman Grung said it was
an honour to be involved in Anzac Day com-
memorations given the history Australians
and Gurkhas share, including fighting at
Gallipoli in WWI.
“In that time we saw the bravery and
that’s what we have to remember,” he said.
7 Bde troops
7 Bde troops march past veterans during
the Anzac Day march in Brisbane.
Photo: Cpl Brenton Kwaterski
Flg-Off Chloe Stevenson
WHEN Monsieur Dubois sculpted the
Menin Gate lions in 1822, he never
would have known the depth of mean-
ing they would hold for the Australian
and Belgian people almost 200 years
When WWI found its way to the quiet
city of Ypres in Belgium, the Menin Gate
was no more than a 13m roadway that
ran its way through the city. At the cross-
over with the rampart moat, two stone
lions stood proud and tall, each clutching
the city’s coat of arms.
During the war, the lions watched
from atop their plinths as thousands
upon thousands of Australian and
Commonwealth soldiers marched past
their watchful guard on the Menin Gate
After Ypres was rendered near unrec-
ognisable in the destruction of war, the
lions were once again discovered – dam-
aged but not broken, much like the spirit
of the Australian soldiers who passed
them by so many years ago.
In 1936, the Burgomaster of Ypres
gifted the lions to the Australian govern-
ment as a token of friendship and grati-
tude for the sacrifices of its people in the
region during the war.
Since 1991, the lions have flanked the
entrance to the Australian War Memorial
(AWM) in Canberra.
That was until a joint initiative was
founded between the Belgian, Flemish
and Australian governments to see the
sculptures travel from their home in
Canberra back to Belgium.
AWM Director Brendan Nelson said
the lions were symbolic of the deep
connection between the Australian and
“They will act as a reminder of the
price paid by so many, in battles in which
many thousands of Allied soldiers per-
ished,” Dr Nelson said.
“We will be forever linked with the
city of Ypres and the people of Belgium.”
The unveiling of the lions took place
in a ceremony on April 24 at the Menin
Gate Memorial to the Missing. Rebuilt
after the war, the memorial has the
names of all 6191 Australians who have
no known graves and who perished in
the battles of Ypres. It is a place of peace
and rest, where the lost soldiers can be
remembered and respected.
A particularly moving moment dur-
ing the unveiling was when thousands
of red poppies were released from the
roof of the Menin Gate Memorial itself.
They fell, in a swirling cloud of crimson,
like the young soldiers whose names are
etched on the walls behind them.
The travelling lions will stand on
the bridge in front of the Menin Gate
Memorial before being returned to
the AWM after Remembrance Day on
Pride of place
Members of Australia’s Federation
Guard on duty at the Menin Gate
during the lion unveiling ceremony
in Ypres, Belgium.
Photo: Sgt Christopher Dickson
Musn Dave Leaders plays
the bagpipes at the Ari
Burnu cemetery during
Anzac Day commemorations
in Gallipoli, Turkey.
Photo: AB Kayla Hayes
the Last Post
during the Anzac
Day dawn service
at the Bomana War
Cemetery in Port
Photo: Cpl Ben Dempster
From page 11
“This is a reminder that the Anzac
story is not simply a matter for the his-
tory books,” Mr Turnbull said.
“It is alive. Their service, their cour-
age, their endurance, their mateship is
as alive today as it was on the shores of
Gallipoli more than 100 years ago.”
Mr Turnbull said the kinship today
in the fight against terrorism around the
world was apparent.
“The service of these young
Australians and New Zealanders, work-
ing together, serving together, putting
their lives on the line together, as their
grandparents and great-grandparents did
a century ago, inspires us all.
“We honour them. We thank them.
We salute them for their service and
we say again, as we always do, lest we
At Bomana War Cemetery in Port
Moresby, PNG, CA Lt-Gen Angus
Campbell and Governor-General Gen
Sir Peter Cosgrove attended the dawn
service to mark the 75th anniversary of
the Kokoda campaign and the Battle of
Speaking at the service, Sir Peter said
those who laid in the 4000 graves at the
cemetery would always be in the hearts
“Their deeds, their sacrifices and the
battles they fought have shaped us,” Sir
Peter said. “They were courageous and
enduring in some of the worst conditions
warfare can demand. Many would fall
here in the jungle, away from the wide
brown land they loved, but were destined
never to see again.”
He spoke of the 625 Australians
killed on the track including his uncle,
Bill, a flight sergeant with the RAAF
Beaufighter unit, who died in a plane
wreck. He is buried at Bomana.
Sir Peter said it was important to
remember the bravery of the more than
1600 wounded who made it home.
“They have assumed the mantle of
national treasurers, a living link to a time
when our nation fought for its very sur-
vival,” he said.
He also lauded the efforts the Papua
New Guineans and, in particular,
the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels who helped
wounded Australian soldiers along the
In France, Defence Personnel
Minister Dan Tehan said Anzac Day was
a chance for all Australians to reflect on
the service and sacrifice of every man
and woman who had served in defence
of our nation.
“For Australian soldiers, the third
year of the Great War was the worst they
ever experienced,” Mr Tehan said.
“More troops died in battle in 1917
and more were taken prisoner than in any
other year. There has never been a year
when Australia lost more to war than
1917. And yet they fought on; men asked
to take on an extraordinary task.
“And in this darkest year, they did
their duty and fought to the bitter end.
This is the legacy of 1917 bestowed by
those who gave their all.”
DUST off. It’s an old call sign that
relates to dedicated unhesitating
service to our fighting forces and
it was the theme of Paralympian
Spr Curtis McGrath’s address at
the national dawn service at the
Australian War Memorial on Anzac
In the eerie unnerving darkness
and deafening silence before dawn,
Spr McGrath’s moving address
reminded the 38,000 people gathered
of the dreadful toll war took and the
important role mateship and medical
teams played in saving the lives of sol-
diers who died from wounds like his in
He spoke of Pte Alan Luckel who
had his leg blown off at the knee on
the Kokoda Track and sang while his
mates struggled to stretcher him to
safety while “the blood from his half-
leg reddened the ridge”.
“300 yards later they buried him in
the cono grass.”
Spr McGrath said all the while, in
the God-forsaken jungle of Kokoda,
Pte Luckel’s mates provided dedicated
unhesitating service and continued to
do so after they buried him.
“This war was fought in a dark
life-sucking valley – some say it was
a constant fog – they couldn’t have
known where or how their next steps
Twenty years on, Spr McGrath said
a different sort of dust off came in the
form of the casualty evacuation chop-
pers in Vietnam.
“Badly hurt and dying solders were
airlifted out of enemy fire, treated on
board and choppered to the nearest
field hospital. Many would survive the
previously unthinkable,” he said.
Spr McGrath then spoke of his sur-
vival in Afghanistan after an IED blew
off his legs.
“What injured me on August 12,
2012, has taken thousands of limbs
and lives before me, many civilians
and too many unwitting young kids,”
“I was an Army combat engineer;
my job was to clear the day’s path of
IEDs ahead of the patrol. Instructions
came in late one morning to remove
a boulder blocking one of the access
roads. My mate Mac and I headed
to the job ... I was out front and got
caught unawares on what I thought
was familiar, safe ground.
“In a violent hot explosion the
ground beneath me erupted taking
both my legs instantly.
“Somehow in a state of bewilder-
ment and physical wreckage, bizarre
moments of clarity took hold. I found
myself trying to do my own first aid
and was instructing the men on how to
administer the morphine.
“Meanwhile my mates wrestled
with five tourniquets on what was left
of my legs as they swallowed their
own terror and tears.
“Then came the men and women
in the evacuation chopper, extraordi-
narily skilled trauma specialists – with
their care I got an unforget-
table dust off.
“When we join the
services and go to war, of
course we feel a strong
sense of duty to our nation
and to all Australians. But
when we’re out there in the
conflict zone, our greatest
responsibility is to our mates
alongside us. They are the
ones we trust with our mis-
sion and our lives.”
Spr McGrath reiterated
the need to look after vet-
erans when they returned
from war, especially the
“War hasn’t always
returned us well,” he said.
“Now in the aftermath
of so many conflicts, men
and women come home to
a silent, private suffering
borne alone or with their
distraught families, friends
and communities. It has
taken a terrible toll and, for
some, it’s far from over.
“In soldiering and in peacekeep-
ing we learn an ethic of service to our
nation, to one another and to the com-
munities we seek to unite and rebuild.
In return, our nation is learning an
ethic of care to our wounded veter-
ans, service personnel whose ripples
spread right across Australian life, a
true measure of a nation’s decency
“On this Anzac Day we look back
on a century of courage, endurance,
mateship and sacrifice. We honour
those who have died and suffered
through the old and the new wars
and we thank them for all they have
ingrained in our nation’s heart and
way of life. May we as a nation contin-
ue to provide those men and women
who have served us with the care
they need. Dedicated, unhesitating
service to our fighting forces. A mighty
Australian dust off. Lest we forget.”
An ethic of service to our nation
Spr Curtis McGrath gives a powerful
address at the national dawn service in
Photo: Jayson Tufrey
Pte Jonathan Bird presents
arms during the Anzac Day
dawn service at Camp Baird in
the Middle East region.
Photo: Cpl David Cotton
Soldiers of Australia’s Federation
Guard on parade during the rainy
Photo: Jay Cronan
For hundreds more
images of this year’s
Anzac Day ceremonies
across the country and
the world, head to the
Defence Image Gallery
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