As Australia commemorated the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I thousands of ADF members were deployed at sea on operations, including APEC 2018 ASSIST.
The crew of HMAS Adelaide and the embarked Maritime Component Command headquarters for Operation APEC 2018 ASSIST commemorated Remembrance Day with a service on the flight deck attended by almost 1000 members of the ADF, Papua New Guinea Liaison Officers and international partners from New Zealand and the United States.
The commemoration occurred while Adelaide was in company with HMA Ships Melbourne, Parramatta, Success and Warramunga so that she could conduct a maritime expeditionary replenishment with Navy’s ‘battle tanker’, Success.
Commander Landing Forces, Colonel Malcolm Wells, recognised the significance of being deployed for the one hundredth anniversary of the guns falling silent at the end of the ‘Great War’.
“The fact that a joint maritime and amphibious task group of over 1000 sailors, soldiers, airmen and members of partner nations are deployed, supporting our closest regional partner, is significant,” Colonel Wells said.
“With Australian and Papua New Guinea forces having fought side-by-side in two World Wars, this Remembrance Day falling while deployed gives great meaning to the work we do as members of the profession of arms.
“It was significant for me that on the starboard beam on the horizon lay the shrouded mountains of the Owen Stanley Ranges, while as we looked aft all we could see was a vast and endless sea that is the final resting place of so many Australians.”
During the ceremony, embarked members from Papua New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United Stated provided an insight into what Remembrance Day means to them.
Petty Officer David Broadhurst is a descendent of World War I and World War II veterans.
“To all Australians, Remembrance day is a tradition, paid for in blood and celebrated in our freedom,” he said.
“It is a day in which not only do we salute our veterans, but in paying tribute to them, we also take the opportunity to invigorate our national spirit and pride.
“Wars always end, but remembering them will continue forever.”
Able Seaman Kellie Bailey recalled her experiences in growing up in Papua New Guinea, pausing for a minutes silence every year on the 11th of November.
“Being young I didn’t know why I was standing in silence for a minute, but as I got older I asked my parents about the reasons behind it,” Able Seaman Bailey said.
“My dad explained that we stand for a minutes silence to remember the past and present soldiers who fought to keep us safe for our future and for our freedom and that we are also remembering the ‘Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels’ who helped the Australian during the war, as I had a great uncle who helped them in their time of need.
Commanding Officer HMAS Adelaide, Captain Jonathan Earley shared the spirit of the collective ship’s company, embarked forces and liaison officers.
“The personal insights into the significance of Remembrance Day shared by individuals reminds us we undertake difficult and sometimes dangerous jobs because we are part of something greater,” Captain Earley said.
“The 100th anniversary of the Armistice will be a special memory for all embarked in Adelaide as we supported Papua New Guinea in a historic moment in their history.
“Our two nations have supported each other in war and in peace for more than 100 years, and we are proud to be part of that history.”