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Service with significance

June, 2001

On Wednesday 25 April, thousands of Australians turned out to remember our fallen soldiers from wars and conflicts gone by. This ANZAC Day, Australian Defence Force members serving in Tindal, Darwin and on HMAS Cessnock attended the dawn service held at Adelaide River, 100 kilometres south of Darwin.

The service was held at the war cemetery, which houses both civilian and military dead who lost their lives in the bombing of Darwin.

The reasons for attending such a ceremony varied greatly among individuals, however the ceremony held historical significance for the members of No. 44 Wing Air Traffic Control Flights from Tindal and Darwin. The original formation of No. 44 Wing took place during World War II on 14 December 1942 at Adelaide River.

The Wing consisted of 24 radar stations situated all across the Top End and served as an early warning system against Japanese Air Raids. It was disbanded on 22 August 1944, but last year saw the reformation of 44 Wing at RAAF Base Williamtown. The Wing is now responsible for providing Air Traffic Services at RAAF, Army and Navy bases all across Australia.

This year's ANZAC Day was the first to be attended by members of the modern 44 Wing with the intent to re-establish ties with the community of Adelaide River and acknowledge its significance in the history of the RAAF, and particularly 44 Wing.

Those members attending the ceremony from RAAF Base Tindal were also able to visit the grave of Wing Commander A.R. Tindal, whose role in the history of the RAAF was honoured through the naming of the base.

It was only fitting that the dawn service, having such a strong military presence, was able to witness an impressive honour guard and catafalque party, consisting of members from all three Services with the Darwin Brass band providing the musical tributes.

Following the formal ceremony, attendees of the service were treated to an impressive fly-past by a Tindal based F/A-18 while enjoying their breakfast at the Adelaide River Show Society Hall. A dramatic end to ANZAC Day in a town rich with historical war time significance.

By FLGOFF Lorelle Black