Home' Army News : September 15th 2011 Contents 24 FEATURES
Army September 15, 2011
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'Be proud of them': CO
By Cpl Melanie Schinkel
AN OVERWHELMING 800 people
attended a memorial service at Robertson
Barracks on September 2 to unveil com-
memorative plaques for two 1CER sol-
diers who were killed in Afghanistan in
February this year.
Recently returned MTF 2 and Rotation
4 personnel, family, friends and community
members from Palmerston and Darwin gath-
ered to pay tribute to Cpl Richard Atkinson
and Spr Jamie Larcombe during a touching
service at 1CER's unit memorial, designed
and built by 1CER sappers when the regi-
ment moved to Darwin 10 years ago.
2IC MTF 2 Maj Cameron Ellis said
MTF 2 personnel had held memorial ser-
vices for both soldiers in theatre and in
Australia but this was their first opportunity
to honour them together.
"It was quite an appropriate service and
it offered closure for all of us to mourn and
remember together. The service was a fitting
tribute for the families and an opportunity
for us to demonstrate to them how much we
feel their loss," Maj Ellis said.
CO 1CER Lt-Col Matt Pearce offered a
tender message to the fallen soldiers' fami-
lies and friends.
"Look past the starched uniforms and
nervous smiles and I'm sure you'll see that
you're not surrounded by strangers, you are
in fact surrounded by family -- Jamie and
Akka's other family, their Army family.
"Look and you'll see you are surrounded
by Akka and Jamie's other brothers and sis-
ters, their Army mates," Lt-Col Pearce said.
"I'm sorry it has taken so long to get
them gathered here in one spot, but they had
an important job to finish -- a promise made
between mates to see the job through to the
end, a promise they dare not break. They
have kept that promise."
He said he was conscious that many
ADF personnel were unable to attend the
formal ceremonies and had to say their own
"Each name on this wall reminds us of
the real meaning of sacrifice. They provide a
visible reminder of the danger of our profes-
sion. They challenge and inspire us. Akka
and Jamie both loved the Army and were
passionate about being combat engineers.
I'm honoured to add their names to our
memorial -- they will never be forgotten.
"I hope this service gave you the chance
to pause, and to remember with a smile
Akka and Jamie, and indeed other mates
who have been killed in Afghanistan such
as LCpl Andrew Jones, Pte Scott Palmer and
Cpl Matthew Hopkins.
"We honour the memory of our mates
by continuing to talk about them, sharing
our memories and by looking after those
who are left behind. I urge you all to hon-
our them, remember them and be proud of
Defence Science and Personnel Minister
Warren Snowdon, CA Lt-Gen David
Morrison, Commander Forcomd Maj-Gen
Jeff Sengelman, Commander 1 Div Maj-
Gen Rick Burr and Commander 1 Bde Brig
Gus McLachlan were among the dignitaries
at the service.
"Look past the starched uniforms and nervous smiles and I'm sure you'll see you are in fact surrounded by family --
James and Akka's other family, their Army family." -- CO 1CER Lt-Col Matt Pearce
Solemn service: Family, friends and members of MTF 2 attend a memorial service for Cpl Richard
Atkinson and Spr Jamie Larcombe at Robertson Barracks.
Photos by LS Andrew Dakin
Remembering: Cpl Guy Higgins, 1CER, talks
about Cpl Atkinson at the memorial service.
Minute's silence: The Last Post is played during
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