Service to mark end of WWII

Published on CPL Julia Whitwell (author), Mr Jay Cronan (photographer)

Topic(s): Australia’s Federation Guard, Naval Heritage and History, Commemoration

Royal Australian Navy Able Seaman Hayden Rapley, of Australia's Federation Guard, during rehearsal for the Victory in the Pacific 75th anniversary commemorative service, being held at the Australian War Memorial on 15 August. (photo: Jay Cronan)
Royal Australian Navy Able Seaman Hayden Rapley, of Australia's Federation Guard, during rehearsal for the Victory in the Pacific 75th anniversary commemorative service, being held at the Australian War Memorial on 15 August.

A ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII will be held at the Australian War Memorial on 15 August.

Known as Victory in the Pacific Day, or VP Day, the event, hosted by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, will commemorate the end of the war and honour all those who served and died.

Members of Australia’s Federation Guard (AFG) have been rehearsing their drill for the past two weeks for their role in the catafalque party for the AFG’s parade.

Able Seaman Hayden Rapley said he was honoured to be taking part.

“To be in the presence of veterans of another generation, especially at the Australian War Memorial, will be a real honour,” Able Seaman Rapley said.

“They went to war and did the hard yards. It’s important to us that we work hard to show the veterans our respect for the dedication they put into representing Australia.

“We’re conducting training - marching in, counting all our steps and making sure all our timings are right,” Able Seaman Rapley said.

“We want to make sure we do our best, just as they did.”

Gunner Cara Miles said she trained to work in the precision-drill team, performing a sequence of 300 drill movements to the beat of a drum for more than four minutes.

“It’s tricky because there are no words. You have to make sure you move at the right time, spin the rifle at the right time and make sure you’re all stepping to the right pace - it’s a bit like a dance routine,” Gunner Miles said.

“It means a great deal to represent Army and the ADF on an occasion as significant as this.”

Leading Aircraftman Ben Grimmer said he was nervous and excited.

“My heart races and I get short of breath,” Leading Aircraftman Grimmer said.

“But I can’t show it. I want to show what I can do and feel proud of the nation I serve.

“You have to be eager to be in the catafalque party. It challenges me and I love it - it’s about stepping out of your boundaries.”