Tens of thousands of people wearing poppies and warm smiles cheered as Defence personnel from Australia, New Zealand, Japan and France participated in the troop march during the Albany Convoy Commemorative Event in Albany, Western Australia.
In the march, one hundred troops from the 13th Brigade marched representing the one hundred years since Albany featured as the gathering point for the first convoy carrying the Australian Imperial Force and New Zealand Expeditionary Force, before they departed for Egypt and Gallipoli.
Navy, Army and Air Force Cadets carried signs representing the Australian and international Naval ships as well as the battalions and regiments from Australia and New Zealand that departed from Albany on 1 November 1914. The 30,000 soldiers left the shores of Australia and sailed into the history books as the men who embodied the spirit of the ANZACs.
That spirit, said Able Seaman Chanaya Resek-Taka, is still alive.
“It was a great experience to be part of what was a beautiful day and I felt very proud and honoured to be involved. The spirit of Anzac today is as strong as what it would have been back in 1914,” Able Seaman Resek-Taya.
Lieutenant Lucy Frauenfelder, Deputy Maritime Logistics Officer HMAS Stuart, said she was proud to march behind her ship’s life buoy along the main street of Albany.
“Today was my last day in HMAS Stuart, so marching in the footsteps of those who have gone before me is something I will always remember about this day,” Lieutenant Frauenfelder said.
The pride was also felt by our Kiwi friends, as Lance Corporal Matthew Gain of 5th/7th Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment explained.
“It was quite a big honour to be part of the commemoration; to fly out from New Zealand and join the rest of the troops. A lot of people in New Zealand pay their respects in different ways, there is a massive amount pride and I felt that today,” he said.
Some of the ships involved in the commemorative weekend will be open on 2 November, giving the public an insight into life in a modern Navy.