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Battle tours open eyes
Army June 9, 2011
Lone Pine: Cpl Matthew Luhtasaari, 1RTB,
reads the Ode of Remembrance at the Lone Pine
service. Cpl Erin Moore, 10FSB, (inset top) and Bdr
Peter Smith, 1RTB, (inset bottom) were the other
recipients of the CA's scholarship for the study tour
Photos by Cpl Raymond Vance
French connection: From left, LCpl Nicholas
Lines, 2CER, Cpl Rebecca Piper, RMC, WO1 Jodie
Stewart, Army HQ, and Bdr Shane Fender, 7 Fd
Regt, at the site of the 'Cobbers' statue at Fromelles.
Amonth ago Cpl Matt Luhtasaari, 1RTB,
Bdr Peter Smith, 1RTB, and Cpl Erin
Moore, 10FSB, knew plenty about
Gallipoli -- they just had never seen the
Now, after visiting Gallipoli as recipients of the
CA's 'I'm an Australian Soldier' scholarship, they
would know more about the place than most people in
Also for the first time, three soldiers travelled to the
Western Front as part of the scholarship. Cpl Rebecca
Piper, RMC, Bdr Shane Fender, 7 Fd Regt, and LCpl
Nicholas Lines, 2CER, walked the battlefields where
more than 45,000 Australians died and said it was
something they would never forget.
Cpl Piper said learning about the history of the bat-
tles and "what the soldiers endured was a profoundly
deep and emotional experience".
"It was an honour to be part of the three Fromelles
services from Cobbers Memorial Park, VC Corner and
Pheasant Wood," she said.
For Bdr Fender, the tour took a personal turn when
the group travelled to Villers Bretonneux.
"Reading the Ode on Anzac Day at Villers
Bretonneux with my great uncle's name there on the
wall is etched in my memory," he said.
"By chance on the same day I discovered my other
great uncle's grave in Belgium -- their deeds will never
LCpl Lines said he felt honoured to be a part of the
tour which was both humbling and inspiring.
"The Army traditions of teamwork, mateship, ini-
tiative and courage were forged by these men in World
War I," he said.
"It wasn't until I stood on the battlefield I really got
a sense of how horrible the frontline was -- to volunteer
was an act of bravery in itself."
The soldiers of the Gallipoli contingent also said the
experience was the best education.
"I feel I now have a thorough and deep knowledge
of the Gallipoli battle and what occurred there," Cpl
Bdr Smith said, he had "all this information in my
mind, but I didn't really understand it until I got there
and saw all the stuff for myself".
Cpl Moore said she had developed a good under-
standing for what it "must have been like to have
landed and fought at Gallipoli".
"They were subject to relentless enemy shelling and
sniping. It was far from easy; they had to live with rot-
ting corpses, lice, flies and open toilets," she said.
The scholarship wasn't just about the tours, as all
recipients took part in Anzac Day ceremonies including
the dawn services.
Cpl Luhtasaari read the Ode of Remembrance at
Lone Pine, while Cpl Moore and Bdr Smith acted as
"As an Australian soldier I stood proud knowing
how many Australians have worn the uniform and
endured tremendous hardships to serve their country,"
Cpl Moore said.
Bdr Smith said being there "as a serving soldier
made it not only the highlight of my military career but
pretty much my life".
The scholarship is fully funded and promotes the
study of military history while recognising and reward-
ing soldiers who achieve in the core areas of the 'I'm
an Australian Soldier' initiative.
A call for nominations and further details for 2012 will be pub-
lished in a later edition.
Six soldiers have experienced
first hand two of Australia's
infamous WWI battlefields as
recipients of the CA's scholarship,
Lt Adrian Miller and
WO1 Jodie Stewart report.
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