Farewell to Sapper James Martin
18 September 2012
Family, friends and fellow soldiers gathered for a full military funeral service to honour the life and service of Sapper James Martin at Perth’s Karrakatta Cemetery today.
Twenty-one-year-old Sapper Martin, from the 2nd Combat Engineer Regiment, was killed in an insider attack at Patrol Base Wahab in the Baluchi Valley region of Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan on 29 August 2012.
Soldiers from Sapper Martin’s unit honoured their fallen comrade by forming the honour guard and catafalque party as his coffin was carried into the chapel.
Commanding Officer of the 2nd Engineer Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel Paul Foura delivered a touching eulogy reflecting on Sapper Martin’s commitment to the Army and determination to succeed in his chosen role as a Combat Engineer.
“James was incredibly well suited to be a Sapper from day one. His intelligence and ability to rapidly acquire new skills, his willingness to participate and contribute to the team and his infectious personality made him the perfect fit into Army as a soldier and, in particular, as a Combat Engineer,” Lieutenant Colonel Paul Foura said.
“James' family and mates have consistently described him as a peace-maker. Whenever an argument looked like escalating, James would be the first to step in. He would use reason, but more often humour to defuse the situation.
“From a letter that James wrote to his family during his basic training, he remarked: I want to wake up every morning and be proud of what I do and who I am. I want to...fight for the civil liberties that most Australians take for granted. I want to be an Australian soldier,” he said.
Sapper Martin is survived by his mother Suzanne Thomas, his younger brother and sister, Angus and Holly, and his grandparents Lucille and Ralph Thomas.
The Hon Julia Gillard MP, Prime Minister; the Hon Stephen Smith MP, Minister for Defence; the Hon Tony Abbott MP, Leader of the Opposition; Senator the Hon David Johnston, Shadow Minister for Defence; the Hon Colin Barnett MLA, Premier of Western Australia; General David Hurley AC DSC, Chief of the Defence Force and Lieutenant General David Morrison AO, Chief of Army attended the funeral.
Images of the service will be available from the Defence Imagery Gallery at: http://images.defence.gov.au/12130942
Defence Media Operations 02 6127 1999