As we soon approach the 25th April, a significant day in our national calendar, I would like to share some words for all to ponder over.
We are fortunate enough to have many ex serving men and women in our CP family, and as always I thank them for their selfless service, to our Country and our National interests. I trust they commemorate this day, with old friends.
All of us know only too well the importance of this day, and to those who are on duty at sites, far and wide, I have no doubt in the early hours of the morning, many of you will reflect on what the day means to you. I also thank those staff, across Australia and Oceania, who shall be on duty this ANZAC Day and sincerely appreciate their ongoing service to our Company.
One hundred and eight years ago, our soldiers landed on the shores of the Gallipoli peninsular. This was the first time our troops fought under the newly formed nations of Australia and New Zealand. The campaign significantly forged the national identities of both nations and further bonded our countries as brothers in arms and peace. From Gallipoli the ANZAC took part in various notable battles in the middle East and France. Our Divisions participated in the battles of Menin Road, Polygon Wood, Broodseinde, Poelcapelle and Passchendale. To put this campaign into perspective over 38,000 casualties were incurred in this offensive alone.
Eighty Three Years ago we again mobilised with almost a million Australians, both men and women, serving in the Second World War. Our forces fought across all theatres of that war most notably in Africa, the Mediterranean and the Pacific with distinction. Both Australian and New Zealand troops were integral to the first land war defeat of the German army. The great German commander Erwin Rommel was quoted as saying: “If I had to take hell, I would use the Australians to take it and the New Zealanders to hold it. Thirty Four Thousand Australian and twelve thousand New Zealanders lost their lives.
Seventy Two years ago, just five years after the end of the Second World War, 17,000 Australian and troops were again called into action for the Korean War. Of these, 340 Australians and thirty three New Zealanders fighting with the United Nations forces lost their lives. At the Battle of Kapyong an Australian battalion (approximately 800 soldiers) along with another from Canada defeated an entire Chinese division (approximately 15,000 men) and prevented it from taking Seoul. Both battalions were awarded US Presidential Unit Citations.
During this same time through to 1960 both Australian and New Zealand forces served in the Malaya Emergency. This campaign saw the formation of both the Australian and New Zealand SAS regiments. 39 Australians and 15 New Zealanders lost their lives fighting communist guerrillas in the jungles of the Malaya.
Sixty years ago the arrival of the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam, saw the beginning of our involvement in that war, which commenced in 1962 and continued until 1975. This saw the loss of 521 Australian lives and some 3000 wounded.
Twenty years ago was the early stages of our involvement in both Iraq and Afghanistan and the passing of Sergeant Andrew Russell, our first loss on operations since the Vietnam War. In Afghanistan, 2001 to 2021, our longest war, over 26,000 personnel served. 41 of our soldiers made the extreme sacrifice, whilst 261 were wounded.
Our Defence personnel have served with dignity, honour and bravery. We will never forget their service and their sacrifice. On this ANZAC Day may we all pause and reflect.
Lest we forget