Anzac ties that bind

This article has photo gallery Published on ABMT Charles Morrow (author), LEUT Harley Slatter (author), Miss Shehana Friday (photographer)

Location(s): Cairns, Kerikeri

Topic(s): Ceremony and Traditions, Centenary of Anzac, HMAS Cairns, HMAS Penguin, Anzac Day, 75th Anniversary

Lieutenant Danielle Britton, Petty Officer Hydrographic Surveying Mathew Britton and Leading Seaman Hydrographic Surveying Jessica Bishop. (photo: Miss Shehana Friday)
Lieutenant Danielle Britton, Petty Officer Hydrographic Surveying Mathew Britton and Leading Seaman Hydrographic Surveying Jessica Bishop.

Across Australia and the Tasman, Australian Navy personnel were on hand for Anzac commemorations, ranging from school visits and dawn services, to moments of personal reflection.

The ship’s company of HMAS Cairns took on a considerable program with uniformed personnel engaging with the community with gusto.

Fifteen schools in the Cairns area had personnel attend their Anzac assemblies, four aged care facilities had Cairns personnel attend ceremonies, and Cairns provided Navy representation at 18 other locations around Cairns area. 

Whereas in Kerikeri, about three hours north of Auckland, bagpipes heralded a special bond between an Australian sailor and her grandfather.

Sydney base, HMAS Penguin’s Leading Seaman Medic Submariner Melissa McLean had a tear in her eye as she and her grandfather led the parade through the town in true Anzac fashion.

“We found ourselves talking to New Zealand politician The Right Honourable Winston Peters,” Leading Seaman McLean said.

“I gave him a Royal Australian Navy pin and he thanked me for being there for my granddad and participating in the New Zealand service,” she said.

“Following the parade, I had the opportunity to strengthen trans-Tasman relationships with crew from HMNZS Wellington

“I gave them a gift from Penguin, and a healthy dose of friendly banter.”

After those activities it was time to head for home with the 90 year old veteran and spend some time together and reflect on Anzac Day.

In recent years the Leading Seaman McLean’s grandfather, had shared some of his experiences in the New Zealand Army, serving in both Korea and Japan.
 
“It was great that so many friends and family could be there to show support,” Leading Seaman McLean said. 
 
This was not the first time Leading Seaman McLean had been involved in Anzac Day activities in Kerikeri.
 
In 2014 she was invited to be a guest speaker at the Anzac Day dawn service.
 
“After my involvement I was made an honorary lifetime member of the Kerikeri branch of the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association,” she said.
 
“It is a really special link as my granddad and I are the only members of my family to have served in the military.”