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ANZAC – Speech by Jedidiah Fesolai

Each year, on the 25th of April, we commemorate and honour the sacrifices of those who have laid down their lives in service to our country. Today, most importantly, we remember those Australian and New Zealand volunteer soldiers, who landed on the battle-stricken sands of Gallipoli – what is now called ANZAC cove, almost 103 years ago. We admire the countless sacrifices of past and current service men and women, for our sovereign common-wealth.
Lest we forget.

World War 1 was a war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Over 500,000 Australian and New Zealand troops were mobilised, and were shipped off to assist in the western front, in Europe. With Turkey allying with Germany, this opened up a new opportunity for the Allied forces to weaken the expansion of the German invasion, and to establish a new front through the east. This campaign was intended to force Germany’s ally, Turkey, out of the war. The campaign began with an attempt to force their way through the Gallipoli Peninsula in the Dardanelles, by naval power alone but early bombardments on the coastal ports failed. In light of this event, the Mediterranean Expeditionary Forces comprised of British, Indian, French, Australian and New Zealand forces, with members 70,000 strong, were to use a different method as opposed to naval warfare, a full frontal assault. 30,000 of these men, were courageous ANZAC’s.

Before dawn on Sunday 25 April 1915, the first three battleships carrying the first wave of Australians had reached the coast near the Gaba Tepe headland. The expected result was a swift take-over of the beach at Gallipoli, but a combination of unexpectedly hostile terrain and ferocious Turkish defence soon stopped any potential advance and the campaign degenerated into the familiar deadlock of trench warfare.

The day of the landing saw some of the most terrible fighting of the whole Gallipoli Campaign. When officers fell to Turkish bullets, small parties of Australians pushed inland, and fought and died where they stood. Some men were able to reach the third ridge, and others climbed the summit of the height called ‘Baby 700’. However, they were overwhelmed by Turkish attacks.

By the end of the first day, the Australians were relentlessly holding the ragged crests of First Ridge, digging trenches to await the inevitable counter-attacks, while the air sang with the whine and crack of bullets, machine gun fire and shells. By the day’s end, 3000 Australian soldiers were killed or injured, and their beach-head was barely one kilometre deep, instead of the expected seven.

This battle lasted eight months and would be etched forever in our minds. Perhaps the battle that best portrayed the true ANZAC spirit, is one often referred to as, “The Battle of Anzac”. At 3am, on the morning of 19 May, 1915, there were barely 17,000 Anzac troops at Anzac Cove, when they were suddenly attacked by an army of 42,000 Turkish soldiers. After hours of struggle, 10,000 Turkish soldiers had fallen, and a majority of them lay dead and dying in ‘No Man’s Land’. Compared to this, the Anzac casualties were only 628 men. As the days went past, the cries of the wounded Turkish soldiers moved the hearts of the Australian soldiers to pity. These Anzacs were moved by the bravery and courage of the Turkish soldiers. On that day, they arranged a truce, and the Anzacs helped the Turkish bury the dead. This act of kindness would change the attitudes of both sides, acknowledging that above being soldiers, they were still people.

Despite the eight months of tireless fighting, and conflict, the Anzacs held on to their humanity in a world that seemed to resent it. Their bravery and courage, was only matched by the kindness and compassion they were capable of. Let us remember them not only as soldiers, but as the very foundations of this sovereign and free nation we live in today.

Lest We Forget!

Jedidiah Fesolai

Korean Veterans Newsletter “The Voice” August 2016

Read the latest copy of The Voice from the Korean Veterans Association click here.

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50th Anniversary Battle of Long Tan – 18th Aug 2016

Kedron-Wavell remembers the sacrifice and service of all Vietnam Veterans in this week commemorating the 50th Anniversary when the soldiers of D Company 6 RAR fought the Battle of Long Tan in a rubber plantation near the base of 1ATF at Nui Dat in Vietnam.

 

Emotions flow on trip to Timor

August 4, 2016

LAST week 27 Australian veterans returned from an emotional 10-day visit to the Republica Democratica de Timor L’Este.

blahOrganised by Gary Stone and sponsored by the Queensland RSL branch, it was the first time many had ret­urned since Australian-led INT­ERFET forces intervened as East Timor transitioned from Indonesian occupation in 1999.

What they discovered then was a nation in ruins, its precious but minimal infrastructure deliberately and wantonly destroyed as the bitter, vengeful Indonesians reluctantly withdrew.

What many had not seen nor properly understood was the equally bitter 25-year conflict between Timorese Falantil and Fretilin guer­illas against the occupying Indonesians, who had in Timorese eyes simply replaced Portugal as the occupying power.

In late 1975, when Australia was itself racked by political upheaval and in the post-Vietnam environment, no government was prepared to commit to another Asian war, Indonesia was able to seize both East Timor and the Oeccussi enc­lave in a swift, brutal invasion.

Even the murder of five Australian journalists at Balibo on October 16, 1975 did not convince timid Australian politicians to intervene.

For many serving in the ADF at the time it was seen as a betrayal of the Timorese who, at great cost, had loyally supported Australian commandos during 1942 as Japan swept relentlessly south.

Perhaps if those same Australian politicians could have known that thousands of Timorese would be murdered, “disappeared” or relocated by the Indonesians over the next quarter century they might have acted, but the reality is they did not.

Estimates vary but approximately 200,000 Timorese died during Indonesia’s brutal occ­upation and, according to Timorese tradition, the nation is attempting to locate and ­recover the remains of the missing so their spirits can be at peace.

During their visit, Australian veterans were joined by Timorese veterans of the guerilla war against Indonesia, men and women who showed them battle sites where they had ambushed Indonesian forces, and the caves where they had hidden, many of them for years separated from families and communities.

It was a story many Australian veterans had not known and they were deeply moved when shown memorial mausoleums containing thousands of Timorese flag-draped coffins of recovered remains.

Witnessing a repatriation ceremony at Natarbora for ano­ther 510 sets of remains, they could not hide their emotion as they compared that ­occasion with the recent ­repatriation of Australian war dead from Terendak cemetery in Malaysia.

Last week at Balibo they discovered a thriving, vibrant community in stark contrast to the silent, deserted, devastated ruins INTERFET forces witnessed on their arrival in 1999.

As the kindergarten choir from the Australian-sponsored Balibo Five primary school sang a welcoming song, some veterans were able to exorcise their personal demons that had haunted them since their own Timor service.

Timor and its people still have a long way to go but, des­pite their differences with Australia over the Timor Gap oil resources, they are grateful for what Australia has done for them since 1999. For the Diggers it finally made their sacrifices seem worthwhile.

Welcome to Kedron-Wavell Sub Branch RSL Inc

About Us
The Kedron-Wavell Sub Branch RSL is the largest Sub-Branch in Brisbane, providing a wide variety of services to the Brisbane North community.

More specifically the role of the RSL is to ensure the well-being, care, compensation and commemmoration of serving and exserviceman and their dependants; and to promote Government and community awareness of the need for a secure, stable and progressive Australia.

The Kedron-Wavell Sub Branch RSL are highly involved in their local area through community and charity groups such as the Greenslopes Hospital and the Burnie Brae Centre. They have also been a strong supporter of local schools and universities in the development of youth through educational scholarships and bursaries.

The Sub Branch is also responsible for the organisation of commemmorative activities including ANZAC Day and Rememberence Day held at Kedron-Wavell Services Club Inc.

Membership

Membership to the Sub-Branch RSL is available to all ex-servicemen and women. For more information on the Kedron-Wavell Sub-Branch RSL please phone (07) 3359 0460.
To keep members informed of activities, a newsletter is mailed regularly to all members.

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Helping to provide independent living

For many people the telephone is their only means of contact with friends, relatives or neighbours. But in a crisis its often difficult to locate and dial the number that will bring help. Perhaps the phone is in another room, or its hard to decide in an emergency just who to call.

The Service is here to provide help just when you need it, at any time of the day or night. The service is of proven benefit to older people and those with a disability. It you live alone, away from family or close friends, are a victim of domestic violence or live in an area with a high crime rate, then we can help you!

Why Choose our EMA over other providers?

  • All our prices are very compeititive – just compare the connection fee!
  • No fixed term contracts
  • Lifetime replacement/maintenance warranty at no cost
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  • Our response operators are highly skilled in emergency response procedures
  • We have strong ethical values and community focus
  • All service and products are compliant to Australian Standards
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  • Special devices are available for those with no or limited mobility or epilepsy
  • A fall detector is also available

Download the EMA brochure for more information.

For more information please phone 1300 732 423
Or visit the Kedron-Wavell Sub-Branch RSl to pick up a booklet
375 Hamilton Rd, Chermside 4032

WWI digger’s diary tells of trench hell

The handwritten diary of a World War I soldier is being handed over to the State Library of New South Wales today to be preserved as a personal piece of Australian War history.*

The diary of the then 25-year-old Gunner Norman Pearce gives his account of life on the frontline before he died from severe wounds in the Battle of the Somme in 1916.

The diary was left to the Trust Company Foundation by his niece as part of her estate.

The head of the Trust Foundation, John Atkin, says the neatly-written diary details the gruesome reality of what the young soldier faced in the lead up to his death.

A excerpt from the diary dated July, 1916 reads: “our boys were terribly cut up in the last charge…and thousands of dead and wounded are lying between the trenches.”

But it is also clear from other excerpts that war was not the only thing on Gunner Pearce’s mind.

“So far I haven’t been particularly struck with French feminine beauty. There are some especially pretty girls but on the whole don’t come up to Australians,” his diary reads.

John Atkin says soldiers were generally banned from writing diaries, but many secretly recorded their thoughts and feelings during battle.

“It adds to what I suspect is already a substantial collection at the State Library,” Mr Atkin says.

“I think it’s significant because it tells the story of someone who’s given up their life for their country,” he says.

The State Library of New South Wales says the diary is in a remarkably good condition for the distance it has travelled.

* See the full article and video from the ABC’s  Lateline program  at www.abc.net.au/news/2012-07-02/gunner27s-diary/4104214?section=nsw