Funeral for Corporal Ashley Birt
14 November 2011
Today the Gympie community came together to farewell local soldier, Corporal Ashley Birt, who was killed on operations in Afghanistan on 29 October 2011.
Almost two thousand mourners came to support the parents, family and friends of Ashley, and to celebrate his life and reflect on the memories of a well loved member of both the Gympie and the Defence community.
Stories from close friends reminded mourners of Ashley’s early years in Gympie and the tears were mixed with laughter as tales of young Ashley’s adventures were told.
“Ashley, you may be gone, but you will always have a place in our hearts. The stories will remain with us forever,” said school friends Dean Walker and Kayden Dickfos.
“Ashley was only 22, but achieved so much,” said Army mates Lance Corporal Matthew Evans and Sapper Mitchell McKean.
“He was a dedicated soldier, accomplished sportsman and succeeded at everything. He motivated others and was a natural leader and his loss will be felt by all those privileged to know and serve with Ashley,” they said.
Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Galton, Commanding Officer, 6th Engineer Support Regiment reflected on Corporal Birt’s professionalism.
“Ashley possessed great talent and it was impossible for the Army not to notice what a skilled and tenacious soldier he was,” said Lieutenant Colonel Galton.
Close personal friend and Gympie Mayor, Councilor Ron Dyne, read a statement on behalf of the family.
“The Birt family would like to thank the Gympie community for their overwhelming support and kindness,” he said.
“Thank you for your service, you paid the ultimate sacrifice,” said Mr Frank Bontoft, President of the Gympie RSL Sub-Branch, while he placed a poppy wreath, a symbol of sacrifice, in front of Corporal Birt’s photograph.
Corporal Ashley Birt was laid to rest by his family at a private ceremony following the service.
Images are available at: http://images.defence.gov.au/fotoweb/Grid.fwx?archiveId=5003=&search=11121244
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