Remembering the men of the 51st
24 April 2018
Four soldiers from Cairns have travelled to France to participate in this year’s Anzac Day Dawn Service at Villers-Bretonneux.
The group of two officers and two soldiers from the 51st Battalion, Far North Queensland Regiment, will form the Colour Party for the service, marching in colours (flags) representing the Queen and the 51st Battalion through the Villers-Bretonneux War Cemetery to the foot of the Australian National Memorial at dawn.
Lieutenant Jordan Green said being selected to represent the fallen soldiers of the 51st Battalion was a tremendous honour.
“It is particularly special as this is the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Villers-Bretonneux, which is considered a turning point of the First World War, and to which our unit made a significant contribution back in 1918,” Lieutenant Green said.
“Before coming here, I didn’t actually realise how significant the unit’s actions were on the Western Front.
“I had done a lot of research, but it didn’t really come alive for me until I walked through the battlefield sites, and gained a first-hand understanding of the landscape.
“For me, it is such a huge honour to be able to represent the soldiers from our unit, which is the last unit remaining from the Australian Imperial Force.”
Also representing the regiment at the Anzac Day Dawn Service is Lieutenant Joshua Dennis, Warrant Officer Class Two Ryan Ingold and Sergeant Chris Torenbeek, who hails from St Pauls Village on Thursday Island.
The Australian Defence Force’s Defence Attaché Ceremonial – France and Belgium, Colonel Scott Clingan, said the people of France had received the visiting contingent with open arms.
“I think this is a perfect example of how the locals have not forgotten the Australian sacrifice, and the sacrifice of all the other country’s soldiers as well, and they have kept alive the memories of their efforts here, and across the Western Front,” Colonel Clingan said.
As well as the four soldiers from the 51st Battalion, the Australian Defence Force contingent in France for Anzac Day 2018 includes the Australian Army Band and the Australian Federation Guard.
After the Villers-Bretonneux Dawn Service, the group of soldiers, sailors and airmen will also conduct ceremonial duties in the towns of Villers-Bretonneux and Bullecourt – all places where the 51st earned battle honours in the First World War.