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Annual Report 2014–15

Feature Articles

Centenary of Anzac commemorations

Representatives of the three Services lay a wreath at the Alice Springs cenotaph during the 2015 Anzac Day commemorations: (left to right) Commanding Officer
Arunta, Commander David Landon, CSM, RAN; Officer Commanding Centre Squadron, Norforce, Major Scott Tobias; and Commanding Officer No. 1 Radar Surveillance Unit,
Wing Commander Chris Robson.

The period between August 2014 and Remembrance Day 2018 contains a number of historical milestones when the Australian Defence Force (ADF) will join the Australian and international community to commemorate the centenary of World War I and pay tribute to the sacrifice of those who have fought and died in war.

The ADF has actively supported a range of ceremonies and events across Australia and internationally since commemorations began on 4 August 2014—exactly 100 years since the British declaration of war on Germany and Australia’s immediate pledge of full support. The ADF will participate in more than 130 agreed and other significant anniversaries through until 2018.

On 17 August 2014, a service was held at Government House in Sydney and then at Cockatoo Island to remember the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force that left Sydney a century earlier en route to German New Guinea. Approximately 200 cadets from across the Navy, Army and Air Force attended this commemoration, along with HMA Ships Huon and Advance.

The ADF provided significant support in October 2014 to commemorations marking the departure of the 1st Australian Imperial Force from Albany. Many thousands of Australians paid tribute to the Australians and New Zealanders (and thousands of horses) who departed Albany in a convoy of 36 ships headed to the Middle East. The event was attended by the Governor-General and the prime ministers of Australia and New Zealand, as well as a large number of veterans and the community. HMA Ships Anzac, Arunta, Stuart, Rankin and Sirius were in location, along with PC-9s for fly-pasts, the Royal Australian Navy Band, Guards from HMAS Stirling and 13th Brigade, and the Indigenous Performance Group, who all proudly represented the ADF at this event.

On 9 November 2014, a commemorative service for the Battle of the Cocos Islands was held on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands to remember the losses of Australian and German lives when HMAS Sydney and SMS Emden fought a naval gunnery duel.

Anzac Day 2015—marking one of the most significant events of the Centenary of Anzac, the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings—saw record attendances at dawn services and marches across Australia and overseas. The ADF supported more than 1,500 domestic Anzac Day requests. Across most Australian cities, towns and communities, and at numerous events and activities, the ADF provided a visible joint presence, whether of regular forces, reservists or cadets. Australia’s Federation Guard and ADF bands played integral roles in ceremonial activities in Turkey, France, Belgium and Canberra. More widely, overseas Anzac Day services were conducted at more than 120 cities across the globe.

Anzac Day 2015 was also commemorated by more than 2,200 ADF personnel deployed on operations around the globe. Traditional dawn services and ceremonies were held in locations across the Middle East region, in Africa and at sea.

The ADF continues to honour the Anzac spirit while serving Australia’s national interests. The extraordinary, strong and enduring bonds of mateship, demonstrated by the original Anzacs, are considered fundamental to military life today.