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May 12, 2011
ANZAC Day was commemorat-
ed around the world wherever
Australian and New Zealand-
ers gathered, and especially
wherever members of the ADF were
based or deployed.
For many, the horrors of conflicts
past and present were clearly visible.
For the crew of a 34SQN BBJ, the
horrors of the Siam/Burma railway
were graphically reinforced when it
flew four former POWs, who worked
on the line, and Governor-General
Quentin Bryce to Thailand for Anzac
Day commemorations there.
The four men were Tom Uren,
Lex Arthurson, Bill Schmitt and Cyril
The aircraft departed Fairbairn on
April 22 and flew to Bangkok.
On April 24, the four veterans and
the Governor-General's party and
some of the 34SQN crew travelled to
Then on Anzac Day at Hellfire
Pass, hundreds of Australians, New
Zealanders and others joined Ms
Bryce at the dawn service as she
spoke of the bloody history of the
Later, the party travelled to the
Kanchanaburi War Cemetery for the
commemorative service and wreath-
SQNLDR Ian Lane, 34SQN's VIP
operations officer who also travelled
with the party, said it was a privilege
to fly the veterans to Thailand.
"The dawn service was extremely
moving and to get a personal
insight from the vets on the hor-
rors they endured as POWs only
reinforced my admiration for all the
ex-POWs who worked on the Siam/
Burma railway," he said.
"It was a further indication of true
Aussie mateship and digger spirit in
the face of real adversity.
"The vets were a fantastic bunch
of guys and I feel extremely grateful I
had the chance to meet them."
Meanwhile, across Australia,
Air Force personnel at all bases and
centres turned out for dawn services,
marches and ceremonies in the main
centres while others spread out to
provide catafalque parties and other
officials at smaller centres.
At the same time, Air Force air-
craft took to the skies in a flypast
salutes to the veterans and the fallen.
In Canberra, CAF AIRMSHL
Mark Binskin, who was at Gallipoli,
was represented by his deputy, AVM
Geoff Brown, while in Sydney it was
Air Commander Australia AVM Mark
Skidmore who led the ranks of Air
In the MEAO, similar services
were being conducted, the blue being
BELGIUM: LACW Beth Brown, of
Australia's Federation Guard, prepares
to rest on arms at Menin Gate.
Photo: SGT Mick Davis
SALE: Cenotaph Party member WOFF Mike Krcevinac, of 30
(City of Sale) Squadron, rests on arms at the War Memorial.
Photo: AC Oliver Carter
BRISBANE: 33SQN members marching.
Photo: ACW Joanne Larsen
THAILAND: Above, from
left, Burma Railway
veterans Tom Uren, Bill
Schmitt, Lex Arthurson
and Cyril Gilbert, who
travelled on a BBJ.
Photo courtesy 34SQN
CANBERRA: Left, the
crowd at the Anzac Day
parade in the capital.
Photo: Lauren Black
replaced by combat uniforms but
without the cheering crowds lining
marches through the street.
Meanwhile, in Europe the primary
focus was at Gallipoli, Menin Gate in
Belgium and Villers-Bretonneux in
At Menin Gate, a small ADF con-
tingent, which included members of
Australia's Federation Guard (AFG)
who formed a catafalque party and
honour guard, joined a crowd of
Australians and Belgians to honour
the 6208 Australians who died during
the Battle of Ypres.
The AFG contingent also marched
through the streets of the town on
their way to the gate and later attend-
ed a small ceremony at the Toronto
Avenue Cemetery to commemorate
the 78 members of the Tasmanian 40th
Battalion who died nearby after the
battalion was subjected to a gas attack.
At Villers-Bretonneux in France, a
large crowd watched as the AFG mem-
bers mounted a catafalque party and
honour guard at the dawn service at
the Australian National War Memorial
and later at a memorial service at the
town's war cemetery.
Australian soldiers hold a special
place in the heritage of the town. An
Australian counter-attack prevented
the towns of Amiens and Villers-
Bretonneux from being captured by
German troops during the Battle of the
Somme in August 1918 and several
streets are named after Australian cit-
ies.France represented the end of
Australia's involvement in the Great
War but thousands of kilometres
away, at Gallipoli, which helped shape
Australia's sense of nationhood, CAF
and WOFF-AF JJ Millar led the ADF
contingent, which included the AFG
and the Air Force Band.
Crowds of more than 7000 joined
them for the dawn service at Anzac
Cove and later the commemorative
service at Lone Pine.
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