Resting for an Eternity

IT RAINED at Villers Bretonneux on November 11 as if the leaden skies were weeping, remembering unimaginable horrors 100 years before.

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The long rows of headstones at Australia’s World War I National Memorial are a stark reminder of those horrors and the huge price that a generation paid in the war that was supposed to end all wars.

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Royal Australian Regiment 70th Anniversary Events: 23rd November 2018

The Royal Australian Regiment (RAR) will celebrate its 70th anniversary with events in Canberra on 23 November 2018, including a parade open to the public to be conducted at the Australian War Memorial.
All serving and ex-serving members of the RAR, their family and friends, as well as ADF members and the public are warmly invited to attend these events :
70th Anniversary Parade.
A parade featuring the Queen’s and Regimental Colours of all Battalions of the RAR and a Guard from the 8/9th Battalion RAR supported by RAR Pipes and Drums and the RMC Band will be conducted on the Australian War Memorial parade ground commencing at 1530 h. His Excellency the Governor General of Australia, will be the Reviewing Officer for the Parade. For those wishing to attend in uniform, dress is Dress 1B (Ceremonial Service Dress)
Last Post Ceremony.
In acknowledging those members of the RAR who died during their service, the Last Post Ceremony will remember the life and sacrifice of Corporal Kevin Cooper from 2 RAR, who was Killed In Action on 26 July 1953 during the Battle of Samichon in the Korean War.

All serving and ex-serving members of the RAR and their families and friends are invited to attend the Ceremony commencing at 1700 h. Please be in place by 1650 h.

Jason Blain
Brigadier
Head of Corps
Royal Australian Infantry
Contact officer: BRIG Simon Gould
RAR 70th Lead Coordinator
Telephone: 0437 715 642
Email: [email protected]

Virtual Reality Brings Australian Remembrance Trail to Life

VIRTUAL reality technology and stunning 360-degree drone footage are bringing the Australian Remembrance Trail along the Western Front to Australians across the world, through an Anzac 360 app featuring interactive videos.
download 16The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC, Darren Chester, today launched the new app at the Sir John Monash Centre in France.
“While Gallipoli will be forever etched in our nation’s history, it was right here on the Western Front that we suffered our greatest losses during the First World War,” Mr Chester said.
“This new app and videos, developed in partnership with News Corp Australia and produced by Grainger Films, will allow all Australians, including our next generation of school children, to experience these sites from their classroom or at home in their living room.
“Most importantly, it allows those who cannot visit these sites in person the opportunity to feel like a visitor, but at the same time inspiring others to travel over here to France, or across the border in Belgium.”
“The partnership with News Corp Australia will allow us to take viewers on a journey by exploring Australia’s story on the Western Front through a present day lens and technology.”
Eight key sites and battles are explained, highlighting the challenges our troops faced some 100 years ago, from the well positioned enemy to the tactical decisions that had to be made, or moments of bravery that resulted in a Victoria Cross.
The clips merge 360-degree aerial and ground footage from the present day with period imagery, graphics and more.
“This year we have seen our nation commemorate the 100th anniversary of the battles in Le Hamel and Villers-Bretonneux, and also mark the opening of the Sir John Monash Centre, which covers just some of the topics and sites featured in these videos,” Mr Chester said.
“I encourage all Australians to download the app and view the videos, learn more about the Australian Remembrance Trail and in doing so, never forgetting our troops and what they did right here on the Western Front,” Mr Chester said.
The app is free to download from the App Store and Google Play- search Anzac 360.

10th November 2018

Who Do You Remember During a Minute’s Silence?

IN the lead-up to Remembrance Day, Australians are being encouraged to take a moment to reflect on who they will be thinking about during the minute’s silence at 11am on 11 November and share it using the hashtag, #1MS (1 Minute’s Silence).

download 16As part of promoting #1MS, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC Darren Chester joined well-known Australians in expressing why they stop for a minute, including Cate and Bronte Campbell, Johnathan Thurston, Dan Sultan, Les Hill, Curtis McGrath and Bree Bailie, a current serving member of the Australian Defence Force.
“Remembrance Day is special to Australians, young and old, for many different reasons and sharing the stories is incredibly important,” Mr Chester said.
“I have been privileged in my role to attend several commemorative services and listen to the stories of veterans and family members, including who they are commemorating and what they think about during the minute’s silence.
“Many Australians have an ancestor or relative who has served or died in wars, conflicts and on peacekeeping operations and it is this deep personal connection that they remember.
“Others don’t have this personal connection, but stand in silent gratitude to those who sacrificed so much for our nation over the last century.”
This Remembrance Day marks the centenary of the First World War Armistice — the day the guns on the Western Front fell silent and the greatest war the modern world had ever seen was all but over.
“While this year marks this significant milestone, as a nation we need to ensure the custom of observing a minute of silence continues now and in to the future,” Mr Chester said.
“Remembrance Day is a time for us as a nation to unite in a minute of solemn respect and admiration for those who served and died in wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations.
“I strongly encourage all Australians to really think about why they pause on Remembrance Day, to attend their local Remembrance Day services and to stop for a minute’s silence.”

Media note
The videos will be rolled out across social media channels, including the Anzac Centenary and Department of Veterans’ Affairs Facebook pages, in the lead-up to Remembrance Day and the centenary of the First World War Armistice.
Media outlets wishing to use these videos to complement their reporting can download them on the Anzac Centenary website.

Just Ask About Your Military History. You Might be Amazed

AUSTRALIANS are being encouraged to Just Ask questions within their families and make enquiries online to see if they have a lost family connection to one of the almost two million people who have served Australia in wars, conflicts and on peacekeeping operations over the past century.

download 16Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC Darren Chester said the Anzac Centenary period encouraged many Australians to research their family history, which had uncovered for some a lost connection to the First World War.
“As time moves forward Australia continues to lose more of the original living memories of our wartime history, but uncovering the story of military ancestors is a straightforward process that can yield amazing results,” Mr Chester said.
Start by asking your oldest relatives what they know or if anyone has letters, diaries, medals or other memorabilia from a war, conflict or peacekeeping mission that could provide some clues.
“From there, it’s as simple as searching the online database of the Australian War Memorial, the National Archives of Australia, the National Library of Australia and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
“Communities should also use the valuable local resources such as local libraries, RSL branches and historical societies, which do an amazing job at documenting and preserving our history.”
In addition, if your relative was from the UK or New Zealand, you can search sites such as the UK National Archives and the NZ National Archives.

As part of the launch of the Just Ask initiative, Ancestry.com is providing 100 hours’ free access to its database from 9–12 November 2018 for people to track their family story.

“Throughout the Anzac Centenary period 2014–18, many people have found long-lost connections to the First World War, giving them a broader understanding and respect for their family history,” Mr Chester said.
I have been privileged to hear first-hand the experiences of Australians reconnecting with their family history and what it has meant to them.
“With the additional access to Ancestry, Australians will be able to readily research their family’s history and start the search for a connection to our military history.
“As a nation we need to take collective responsibility for preserving our family history and acknowledge those who have served and who are currently serving our country.
“On Remembrance Day this year, the 100th anniversary of the First World War Armistice, I encourage all Australians to buy a poppy, attend their local commemorative service, and stop for a minute’s silence.”
For more information about how to research your family connection, visit the Department of Veterans’ Affairs website.

Find Your Local Remembrance Day Service

This Sunday, 11 November represents a particularly special Remembrance Day – the Centenary of the Armistice of WWI.

There are more than 200 Remembrance Day services and special Armistice Centenary events organised by RSL Sub Branches around Queensland, including the service hosted by RSL Queensland at the Shrine of Remembrance in Ann St, Brisbane City.

Find your closest service and bring your family along to mark this significant anniversary.

 

The Royal Australian Regiment – 70th Anniversary Celebrations

The Royal Australian Regiment will be a focus of activities in Canberra 22-23 Nov 18 to mark the 70th Anniversary of the Regiment.


Past and serving members of the regiment, together with supporters of the regiment are invited to a number of events:

Thu 22 Nov 18.

Regimental style dinner at the Canberra Institute of Technology restaurant.

Guided tours of the AWM with a Regimental focus.

Battalion or State/Territory Associations may wish to hold functions in Canberra – AGM’s, lunches etc

Fri 23 Nov 18

Primary activity is a parade on the Australian War Memorial (AWM) Parade Ground from 1530hr, involving all the colours of the battalions of the regiment, a guard found from 8/9 RAR and a ‘massed band’ of regimental pipes and drums of 8/9 RAR and the RMC band. Of interest, it is anticipated that all of the battalion colours will have ‘new’ battle honours emblazoned on them.

This will be followed by the Last Post ceremony, where a soldier of the regiment will be remembered.

A reception in Anzac hall will be held from 1830-2030hr. A separate invitation list will be advised shortly.

It will be a great opportunity for former and current serving members of the Regiment, together with family and friends, to celebrate this important milestone and remember the sacrifice of those who have gone before them.

Place these dates in your diary and keep an eye out for more details to be made available in early September.

Happy Fathers Day

To all the military Dad’s currently serving, at home or away, and veterans our best wishes to YOU for a HAPPY FATHER’S DAY

 

Commemorating the Service of Malaya and Borneo Veterans

Malaya and Borneo Veterans’ Day, today recognises Australian military personnel who served in two historical campaigns – the Malayan Emergency (1948–1960), and the Indonesian Confrontation, or Konfrontasi, (1962–1966).

 

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester today encouraged Australians to reflect on the service and sacrifice of those who served during these post-Second World War conflicts in Malaya and on Borneo.

“The Malayan Emergency was declared on 18 June 1948, following the Malayan Communist Party launching an insurgency against British colonial rule,” Mr Chester said.
“Australia’s military became involved in 1950 and served in the Emergency until its official end in 1960, however, some units remained in Malaya until 1963.
“I encourage all Australians to pause and reflect on our 13 years in Malaya, and to recognise how our personnel from the Royal Australian Navy, Australian Army and Royal Australian Air Force played a key role in bringing the long-running insurgency to an end.”
The Indonesian Confrontation began in 1962 when Indonesian forces launched attacks on the newly federated state of Malaysia. Australian forces became involved two years later.
“The British led response to the Confrontation included the deployment of various elements of the three Australian armed services,” Mr Chester said.
“Australian and other Commonwealth troops proved themselves during the Confrontation as professionally adaptable to the challenges of conducting successful small scale operations in the thickly forested terrain of Borneo, experiences that would prove useful in the Vietnam War.”
“Today we should reflect on the Australian service personnel who served in the Malayan Emergency and Indonesian Confrontation, and pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.”

An Honour to Serve, a Dishonour to Forget

MANY Australians still remember that absurdly youthful face of Alec Campbell peering out from the front page of newspapers after he died in May 2002.
The “Last Anzac’’, who joined up at the age of 16 in 1915, was the final living link Australia had to perhaps our most enduring and powerful foundation myth – Gallipoli.

In a few short years, we’ll see another front-page, black-and-white photo. It will be of another youthful face sporting a jaunty grin and wearing a slouch hat at a rakish angle, the background depicting the jungles of Papua New Guinea or perhaps the brown deserts of North Africa.
Inside the paper and on millions of morning television screens will appear, adjacent to the ancient photo, colour portraits of a dignified old man wearing a sports jacket festooned with medals.
And, as we read about the death of the last Australian World War II veteran, we’ll feel a stab of poignant sorrow deep within.
We’ll ponder the horrors of war, the nobility of sacrifice and the whole transient, evanescent and inconstant nature of human existence.

And then we’ll turn to the sports pages.

It’s not that we don’t honour our war veterans. We do.
On a per capita basis, the Anzac Day crowds of April 25 possibly outshine the participation rates of Americans, who put aside not one but two days a year to honour their military vets – Memorial day and Veterans Day.
We can even (especially if we are politicians anxious to wrap ourselves in a flag of patriotic virtue) bestow upon anyone who dons a military uniform a righteous stamp of morality they don’t always deserve.

Yet it’s clear we can also take military service for granted, mouthing platitudes about the honour of taking up arms then failing utterly to provide assistance to those who do.

Last week, we were told veterans of the Battle of Long Tan could not march through Central Brisbane on the battle’s anniversary because of logistic problems related to Anzac Square renovations.
No one was at fault. All those engaged in the process – from the Queensland Police to the Brisbane City Council to the vets themselves, acted in good faith to resolve the problem.
Yet, somehow, the 52nd anniversary commemorations of one of the most important Australian military engagements of the past half century was limited largely to a handful of events across provincial towns.
Earlier this year, it was revealed that the Brisbane Anzac Day Combined Parade Committee who were looking for a few extra dollars (they need an extra $35,000 a year), were told by the Queensland Government to consider putting the begging bowl out to the private sector to take up the shortfall.
And just three years ago, I was intrigued to learn, while interviewing a WWII veteran who fought in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, about his struggle to obtain a disability pension.
“Ken’’ had lost both legs as the result of a ship board accident (not involving enemy fire) while serving in combat zones during WWII. Yet, for years the Department of Veterans Affairs argued with him over whether he qualified for a pension.
He won his case only because his wife found letters Ken had sent her (his then girlfriend) during the war years detailing the accident and its impact on his health. It struck me as an unseemly bout of bureaucratic churlishness given Ken had faced down kamikaze planes as he helped the Americans fend off the Japanese advance near the Philippine island of Leyte in October 1944.

Australia is a long way from the Roman ideal of the warrior. It can’t be disputed that in the years following WWII, the status of the military plummeted. Once military men (and they were almost exclusively men) dominated leadership positions in their communities and carried their honorifics (colonel, major etc) into civilian life, especially in rural parts of Australia.
Now, they are often ignored.

We might need a rethink of our attitude to those of us who, whatever their own personal motives or goals, perform one of the most difficult jobs on earth.

It’s clear we can also take military service for granted