Perfect weather accompanied this year’s VP Day commemoration, with the Walkway looking its very best bathed in warm winter sunshine. This year’s Guest of Honour was His Excellency, General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC, Governor of NSW, accompanied by Mrs Linda Hurley. Our well-loved Ex-Governor, Professor the Honourable Dame Marie Bashir AD, CVO was a special guest, and delivered the Bible reading from St. Matthew’s gospel.
The Hon. David Elliott MP (Minister for Veteran Affairs, Minister for Corrections, Minister for Emergency Services) delivered the Prologue. After speaking of the great sacrifices made during the Second World War, the Minister made mention of a number of other important current military anniversaries, including the devastating battles of Fromelles and Pozières, fought 100 years ago on the battlefields of Northern France. At Fromelles the 5th Division AIF suffered 5,533 casualties in less than 24 hours; while at Pozières a mere two kilometres was gained at a cost of 23,000 causalities. The Minister then made mention of the courageous Battle of Long Tan which took place in in Phuoc Tuy Province, South Vietnam, fifty years ago on August 18th 1966.
Ms Carole Anne Priest, Deputy Chair. of the Walkway, welcomed all those attending this year’s commemoration. Ms Priest reminded everyone of the immense effort that was required of a truly great generation which experienced the most devastating conflict in human history.
The 71st Commemorative VP Day address was delivered by Lieutenant General Kenneth Gillespie AC, DSC, CSM (former Chief of Army). The General gave a detailed description of the threat and attacks launched against Australia in the dark days of 1942. He paid tribute to the professionalism and courage of both the 2nd AIF and Militia troops, the latter open to undue suspicion and criticism until their worth and tenacity was demonstrated in the fierce battles which took place in New Guinea.… Read the rest