Great-grandfather’s memory inspires first Anzac Day at sea

Published on LEUT Geoff Long (author), ABIS Jarrod Mulvihill (photographer)

Topic(s): HMAS Adelaide (L01), Anzac Day

Seaman Boatswains Mate Reece Conquest-Young onboard HMAS Adelaide. (photo: ABIS Jarrod Mulvihill)
Seaman Boatswains Mate Reece Conquest-Young onboard HMAS Adelaide.

Seaman Boatswains Mate Reece Conquest-Young’s most enduring Anzac Day memory is putting on his great-grandfather’s service medals and attending the local RSL Dawn Service and march.

His great-grandfather, Jim Conquest, was a member of the 2/15th Field Artillery Regiment and tragically was one of the many Australian soldiers who died as a prisoner of war on the Thai-Burma Railroad.

This year will mark the first time Seaman Conquest-Young has been at sea on Anzac Day, but he will still remember the ultimate sacrifice made by his forebears.

“I’ll be in HMAS Adelaide but we’ll all reflect on the soldiers gone before us and the sacrifices they have made for the next generations and centuries to come. Their resilience and integrity to defend our country will never be forgotten,” he said.

“Anzac Day is a very important date to myself and family, it’s the day we remember the men and women who sacrificed their lives so we could live ours. Like so many of his comrades, my great-grandfather has no grave.”

Seaman Conquest-Young was born in the northern New South Wales town of Grafton before the family moved to Springfield in Queensland, where he attended Woodcrest State College.

He joined the Navy in January 2019, at the age of 19, on the advice of his family who suggested a Navy career would give him direction in life.

Just over a year into his career as a boatswains mate, he’s glad he took the advice.

“My role in HMAS Adelaide varies day to day. One day we could be firing weapons and the next we could be launching and recovering rigid-hulled inflatable boats (RHIBs), or we could be painting and making up heaving lines,” he said.

“As Boatswains Mates, we are the weapons specialists, RHIB drivers, painters, line-handlers, deckhands and helmsmen who are on the bridge night and day so others can sleep at night. It’s challenging but I’m constantly learning new things.”

After Anzac Day, he will have another significant event to mark - turning 21.

“From the first time ever being in a ship during Anzac Day to it being my birthday two days after, it sure will be a big week for not only myself but for all personnel on board Adelaide,” he said.