PUBLISHED August 2023
Victory in the Pacific (VP) Day commemorative service was held at the Walkway on Tuesday 15 August 2023.
The KTMW Board conducted their regular VP Day service on 15 August, with a large crowd that included VIPs, official guests, members of ex-service and community groups, schools plus members of the public.
The theme of the service centred upon two naval incidents during WW2: the 80th anniversary of the sinking of the Centaur, the 2/3rd Australian Hospital Ship which was sunk off Brisbane on 14 May 1943; and the discovery earlier this year of the SS Montevideo Maru, Australia’s worst maritime disaster, which was transporting over 1,000 POWs and civilian captives to Japan when it was sunk off the Philippines 0n 1 July 1942. No Australians survived the sinking.
Our VP Day address was made by LTCOL Orry Kirkham, CSC who reminded those attending of the importance of future generations being educated on the deeds of those who served in WW2, especially as the ranks of surviving WW2 veterans diminishes. LTCOL Kirkham’s own family connections to those who served in that conflict, and other family members who have or continue to serve in the Australian defence forces provided a very personal aspect in his address.
The Board was again pleased to welcome The Hon. David Harris MP, NSW Minister for Veterans, as well as serving members representing the RAAF and the RAN. Consular diplomatic members from New Zealand, the UK, the United States and Turkey were also present.
We were again pleased to welcome WW2 veterans Bruce Robertson (104) and Reg Chard (99), who laid a special wreath to honour their comrades.
Once again our commemorative service was attended by long-standing supporters: the Corrective Services NSW Band, IMP members of the Catafalque Party, Strathfield North Public School Choir, Fr Graeme Malone SSS, City of Canada Bay Mayor Cr Angelo Tsirekas and our MC, John Gatfield OAM. Our small friends at the nearby Concord West Rhodes Pre-school (ably supported by their teachers) gave a special Acknowledgement of Country.
The visual reflection featured moving clips of many of those lost in the two maritime disasters, accompanied by harpist Elizabeth Lorencev.
Wreaths were laid at the Memorial Centrepiece and surrounding Stations by the VIPs, official guests as well as numerous RSL Sub-Branches, schools and individuals.
Following the conclusion of the service, a special presentation was made to the KTMW Board Chair Jennifer Collins AM by the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs Club. Club officials presented a cheque for $10,000.00 to the Walkway, which were the proceeds of an auction of special commemorative club jerseys worn by Bulldog players in the April NRL Anzac Round. Ms Collins thanked the Club for the donation, and welcomed continuing the partnership between the two groups to educate current and future generations on the Kokoda campaign, and those who have served Australia in times of conflict.
Once again positive feedback on the service was provided by those attending, and once again congratulations must go to the small but dedicated group of Walkway volunteers who assist organising Walkway services.