Stories of a soldier killed trying to retrieve wounded, a nurse massacred on Banka Island and an Indigenous soldier who paid the ultimate price in Korea are being screened as part of the Australian War Memorial’s Last Post ceremonies throughout June.
Readings were pre-recorded for screening to continue the ceremonies during the memorial’s COVID19 closure.
Leading Aircraftman Kyle Fletcher, currently deployed to the Middle East, read the story of Lance Corporal Parker.
Described by his veteran mate as “one of the finest characters I have ever met,” Lance Corporal Parker was killed in 1917 retrieving soldiers under heavy shell and machine-gun fire in Gaza.
“I put myself in Lance Corporal Parker’s shoes and it’s hard to imagine what he faced back then,” Leading Aircraftman Fletcher said.
“He was going out into the unknown and he wouldn’t have known he wasn’t coming home.
“It’s an honour to be able to pay my respects like this, especially while being deployed.”
“We’ll always remember them any way we can and we’re not going to let COVID-19 get in the way of that.”
Eight deployed and 17 Canberra-based ADF members will be broadcast reading stories of the fallen.
Another is Army Corporal Jenette McNeilly who read the story of Sister Mary Cuthbertson, a 31-year-old nurse killed by the Japanese.
“This is how I can give back to her and her family. It’s the least I could do,” Corporal McNeilly said.
“The fact she went through so much for us is just awe-inspiring. She was an unarmed combatant, she was a nurse, looking after the wounded.
“She sacrificed everything she held dear for us and future generations.”
The story of Waka Waka man Private Edward George Hazel’s death in Korea was told by Able Seaman Kayleigh Fletcher, currently deployed to the Middle East aboard HMAS Toowoomba.
“Just knowing a little bit about his life, his family and the tragic way he died – it’s confronting,” she said.
“Every time I read his story, towards the end I get super sad and start tearing up. I hope it doesn’t happen when I record my reading.”
The readings can be viewed at: www.awm.gov.au/commemoration/last-post-ceremony/live-stream