| James Kon |
MORE than 100 people attended a pre-dawn service at the Brunei-Australia Memorial on Muara Beach yesterday, in a solemn remembrance of the servicemen and women of Australia and New Zealand on Anzac Day.
The memorial at Muara Beach marks the site where the Allied Forces, led by Australia’s 9th Division, landed in Brunei on June 10, 1945, as part of the campaign to liberate Borneo.
In a speech, Nicola Rosenblum, the Australian High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam, said, “Anzac Day is not a commemoration of the victories or defeats of Australia or New Zealand at war. Rather, we honour the ordinary men and women who have made personal sacrifices, many giving their lives for the freedom we enjoy today.”
The Brunei-Australia Memorial, she said, “marks the place where Australian troops landed on June 10, 1945, during the Oboe 6 Operation. This operation formed part of the broader Australia-led Campaign that ultimately liberated Borneo.”
In remembering the women who also rendered their services to their countries, Rosenblum said, “Women have served in the Australian Armed Forces since 1899. In 1944, almost 50,000 women were serving in the military, and thousands more had joined the civilian Australian Women’s Land Army.”
The first bravery awards for Australian women, she said, “were given to four nurses: Sisters Clare Deacon and Dorothy Cawood, Major Alice Ross-King and Staff Nurse Mary Derrer each received the Military Medal for risking their lives to rescue patients trapped in burning buildings after a German raid on the Western Front in France, in 1917.”
She also mentioned Grace Wilson, a high-ranked nurse in the Australian Army during WWI and WWII; and Nancy Wake, who played a key role in the French Resistance during WWII.
Since then, said Rosenblum, “Australian women have been deployed to combat zones in Iraq, the Western Sahara, Rwanda, Timor Leste and Afghanistan.
“The spirit of Anzac is as relevant today, as it was when it was forged more than 100 years ago. It has taught us that we have the ability to face challenges to gather and overcome them, to put community before self, to be courageous, determined, self-reliant and strong.”
The service included a prayer of remembrance and poetry readings by government and military officials from Australia and New Zealand.
The Malaysia-based Rifle Company Butterworth, 2nd/30th Training Group and Her Majesty’s New Zealand Ship Endeavour provided the Catafalque Party (ceremonial guard), while the Gurkha Reserve Unit of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces provided pipers and buglers for the ceremony.
Holly Canton and Ryan Moran from the Jerudong International School (JIS) participated as flag orderlies during the service.