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11 January 2014

A delegation of the Last Post Association travels to Australia

To Perth and Canberra

On Thursday, 20 March 2014, a delegation of the Ypres Last Post Association will arrive in Perth, Australia. The delegation, consisting of chairman Benoit Mottrie and buglers Dirk Vandekerckhove and Tonny Desodt, will participate in several services. The delegation has been invited by Glenn Sterle, Senator for Western Australia, who attended the Last Post Ceremony for Anzac Day under the Menin Gate in Ypres last year.

The buglers will participate in the Centenary Memorial Service in Yarloop. They will also attend a school assembly to address students and teachers about their respective roles at the Menin Gate.

After Perth, the delegation travels to Canberra. The buglers will perform at the daily Last Post closing ceremony on 26 and 27 March at the Australian War Memorial.

This trip underlines the continuing mission of the Last Post Association to remember the sacrifice made by the soldiers of the Commonwealth. In the Ypres Salient 13,000 Australian soldiers lost their lives, of which 6,193 are forever carved in the stones of the Menin Gate at Ieper.

Returned Services League

The Hon. Graham Edwards AM, State President of the Returned Services League, Western Australia Branch, invited the Last Post Association to a wreath laying service in honour of the Last Post Association’s visit from Belgium at 10.30 a.m. on Saturday, 22 March 2014 at the State War Memorial in Kings Park .With a membership of 240,000, the RSL is the largest service and ex-service association in Australia and is generally referred to as the League.

Ceremonies

Buglers Dirk Vandekerckhove and Tonny Desodt will sound the Last Post and the Reveille at different services in Perth. The details of the programme can be found below. They will also participate in the Last Post Ceremony at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, capital of Australia. The Australian Governor-General, Her Excellency the Honourable Quentin Bryce, will also be attending the ceremony on Wednesday, 26 March.

For Dirk and Tonny this is a great honor: “Each day, our group of buglers sounds the Last Post under the Menin Gate at Ieper. The many visitors from home and abroad, who thank us after the ceremony and tell us their stories, are often very emotional. Sounding the Last Post in Australia will make us even more aware of the sacrifice that so many Australian soldiers made in Flanders.”

Chairman Benoit Mottrie continues: “During the Great War 324,000 Australian soldiers served their country in distant Europe. With 61,700 deaths and 155,000 wounded, together representing nearly two-thirds of those who left Australia, the sacrifice was enormous. Another 60,000 of these had died by 1930 from the effects of their physical and psychological injuries. These are horrific figures, which significantly exceed the 40,000 Australians who were killed in the Second World War. In Flanders, Australian soldiers served at Hill 60, Messines, Passchendaele and Polygon Wood, very often together with soldiers from New Zealand and always in the thick of the fighting. The names of the 6,193 missing Australians are engraved on the walls of the Menin Gate Memorial. Each year there is a special ANZAC Day ceremony on 25 April to remember the sacrifice of these brave men from Australia and New Zealand.”

Canberra

After their visit to Perth, the delegation will travel to Canberra, the capital of Australia. They will visit the Australian War Memorial. In the entrance hall of this museum stand the two lions that previously stood at the Menin Gate at Ieper. In 1936, these lions were presented to Australia by the people of Ieper as a sign of gratitude for the heavy sacrifices made by Australians in Flanders. The lions will return to the Menin Gate in 2017. This kind gesture is part of the 100thanniversary commemorations of the Battle of Passchendaele, in which Australians fought with extraordinary courage.

Dr. Brendan Nelson, the director of the Australian War Memorial since December 2012, has personally arranged this extension of the LPA delegation’s visit. As former Australian ambassador to Belgium, he has witnessed the Last Post ceremony under the Menin Gate on many occasions. The Last Post Association is very grateful to Dr. Nelson for his continued efforts on our behalf. The board, the buglers and all the people involved in Last Post Association look forward to the return of the two lions to the Menin Gate in 2017.

You can follow the visit of the Last Post Association to Australia on their Facebookpage: www.facebook.com/lastpostieper. Images and information will be updated on a daily basis.


Tour programme of the 2014 visit to Australia

March 19th

  • Departure from Belgium

March 20th

  • Arrival at Perth International Airport

March 21th

  • 9:00 am – At the invitation of the Darling Range Sports College, the delegation will attend a school assembly to address students and teachers about their roles at the Menin Gate and will give a brief history of the Western Front.
  • 4:30pm – The delegation will travel with 16 students, 5 mentors and invited guests to the Special Air Services Barracks in Swanbourne to attend a dinner hosted by Mr Andrew Leahy, National Vice-Chairman of the Australian Special Air Services Association.

March 22nd

  • Senator Glenn Sterle will host an informal luncheon for the delegation.

March 23rd

  • The delegation will leave Perth to travel to Yarloop, where they will attend a ceremony to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War.
  •  9:30 am – The delegation will participate in the memorial service hosted by the town of Yarloop, the Shire of Harvey, the Darling Range Sports College and Senator Glenn Sterle.

March 24th

  • The delegation will travel to the Western Australia State War Memorial at Kings Park with students from various primary schools from the eastern suburbs of Perth to attend a remembrance ceremony. At the ceremony (10:30 am) the delegation will lay wreaths at the State Memorial and they will perform the Last Post and the ode to the fallen.

March 25th

  • Departure to Canberra

March 26th

  • 10:00 – 11:30am: Tour of Australian War Memorial, accompanied by Dr. Brendon Nelson and His Excellency Mr. Jean-Luc Bodson, the Belgian Ambassador in Australia
  • Lunch at the Belgian Embassy
  • 4:40pm: Performance at the Last Post Ceremony at the Australian War Memorial

March 27th

  • 4:40pm: Performance at the Last Post Ceremony at the Australian War Memorial

March 28th

  • Delegation leaves for Sydney for a brief holiday

March 30th

  • Departure and arrival in Belgium
Vlag Australië

The Last Post

Every day, at 8 o’clock in the evening. The daily act of homage.

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