Corporal Richard Atkinson returns to Australia
10 February 2011
Corporal Richard Atkinson, killed in action in Afghanistan on 2 February 2011, was today formally returned to his family in a moving Ramp Ceremony at RAAF Base Darwin.
Richard’s mates from the 1stCombat Engineer Regiment (1CER) formed a bearer party and honour guard to carry and receive his casket as a final mark of respect from his military family.
Richard’s fiancée, Dannielle, his parents, Ross and Kate and his brother James were joined at the ceremony by Chief of Defence Force Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, Chief of Army Lieutenant General Ken Gillespie, Commander 1st Brigade Brigadier Gus McLachlan, and Commanding Officer 1CER Lieutenant Colonel Matt Pearse.
Lieutenant General Gillespie said Richard paid the ultimate sacrifice proving a safe path for his mates – a role that demands immense courage.
“Corporal Atkinson’s bravery will not be forgotten. As an engineer, he led from the front. His sacrifice brings the greatest honour to him, the Australian Army and most of all, his loving family. His mates will continue their important and dangerous mission, their resolve and bond strengthened by the loss of a great mate,” Lieutenant General Gillespie said.
The Ramp Ceremony was followed by a short service where Lieutenant Colonel Pearse described Richard as one of his finest young leaders, a family man and a great mate.
“He was a no-nonsense, get-the-job-done kind of guy who inspired his soldiers by strong personal example.
“Akka is with all the other sons of ANZAC, forever young, always in our thoughts, in our hearts and dearly missed,” Lieutenant Colonel Pearse said.
A private service will be held in Richard’s home town, Launceston, next week.
Imagery will be available from the Defence website later this evening.