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SOLDIERS are representing
the nation as part of Australia's
Federation Guard's (AFG) sup-
port to Anzac Day ceremonies in
Belgium, France and Turkey.
A total of 34 guardsmen make up
the three contingents with 13 repre-
sentatives from the Army, 12 from Air
Force and nine from Navy.
Guardsmen perfected their preci-
sion and timing during the opening
and closing ceremonies of the Hall of
Remembrance at the Australian War
Memorial and in the forecourt of the
national shrine in the week leading up
to Anzac Day.
On the Gallipoli Peninsula, the
AFG personnel will stand as solemn
guards at the Gallipoli Memorial
throughout the Anzac Day Dawn
Service, while at Villers Bretonneux
and Bullecourt in France, and Ypres
in Belgium, they will feature during
Anzac Day commemorations and at the
famous Menin Gate service.
Their every move will be watched
by Australian and international
officials leading the services,
thousands of visitors who have
travelled to the battlefields to pay their
respects and millions of Australians
watching live television coverage of
Many in the AFG contingents are
experiencing their first trips to the bat-
tlefields during Anzac Day.
Pte Scott Simpson is quick to
remind his fellow guardsman he is no
relation to John Simpson Kirkpatrick,
On the tour of a lifetime
Guardsmen represent Australia in Anzac Day ceremonies around the globe
however, the co-incidence is not lost
"I'm not related," he says with a
smile. "I wish I was. He was such a
Pte Simpson joined the Army in
2008 and served in Afghanistan in
He was looking forward to repre-
senting the ADF in Gallipoli.
"It is a great honour. I never
thought I would get the chance when I
joined the Army," he said.
"Gallipoli is a once-in-a-lifetime
trip and I am honoured to be chosen
"There's a lot of preparation going
into this day -- not only drill, but a lot
of physical and mental preparation.
ings on the importance and meaning of
Anzac Day to ensure everyone appreci-
ates where we are going, the signifi-
cance of what we are doing and who
we are representing.
"Anzac Day means considerably
more to me now than it did when I first
joined the Army."
Cpl Ben Redman will be keeping
his fellow guardsmen in step in France
as a drummer.
He served in the reserves before
joining the regular Army and has
deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.
"We have been rehearsing for
2-3 hours a day on top of our normal
ceremonial duties," Cpl Redman said.
The France contingent will form
the centrepieces of Anzac Day services
at some of the most significant WWI
sites in Europe at Villers Bretonneux
"I am extremely proud and excited
to be part of the AFG," Cpl Redman
"It is a dream to be representing my
country on Anzac Day and in France.
"I have commemorated Anzac Day
while on deployment, but this is differ-
ent and has much more meaning."
Also on the contingent is LCpl Neil
Bautista, who is just as proud of his
Filipino heritage as he is of represent-
ing the ADF in Gallipoli on Anzac
Day.He joined the Army in 2006 and
has deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan
and Timor-Leste, and participated in
Anzac Day ceremonies in France and
"Gallipoli means a lot to me," LCpl
"Gallipoli brought out the best in
every man who fought and died there.
"Reading stories about heroism
and willingness to lay down one's life
for a mate makes me proud of our
AFG OC Maj Andre Le Masle
said the tempo for the guard would
increase in the lead up to the Anzac
Centenary in 2015.
Maj Le Masle said the opportu-
nity existed for guardsmen to travel to
Gallipoli, Villers Bretonneux or Ypres
to take part in commemoration activi-
"Any member of the ADF who is
interested in representing their service
and the ADF in the AFG should direct
their expression of interest to their
career adviser," he said.
Full Anzac Day coverage next edition.
Big trip: Members of Australia's Federation Guard conduct rehearsals at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra ahead of their trips to Belgium, France and Turkey for Anzac Day.
Photos by Lauren Black
LCpl Neil Bautista
Pte Scott Simpson
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