ANZAC Day: Marching to Dawn Service too Risky for Navy

file photo of Dawn Service
file photo of a Dawn Service in Australia

By The Maritime Executive 04-10-2019 06:41:37

Royal Australian Navy personnel from HMAS Albatross in Nowra have been banned from participating in a march to the Dawn Service to commemorate ANZAC Day this year.

The march in the dark was deemed too risky, despite personnel from the naval base having participated for around 30 years. 

School children, community groups and veterans will be participating in the march.

ABC News reports a spokesman from the New South Wales Returned Services League: "It's beyond belief. We are talking about armed forces, men trained to fight and look after themselves in very risky circumstances, marching down Greenwell Point Road under street lights." 

The ban has been attributed to a bureaucratic decision that does not necessarily reflect the wishes of the local naval personnel. However, ABC News quotes Captain Fiona Sneath from HMAS Albatross saying the main marches generally happen later in the day and that the Navy is providing a guest speaker, a catafalque party and flag bearers. "We do put our people in danger at times, but we do have an obligation that we reduce any risk as much as practicable."

Sneath said she is willing to review the matter and perhaps have observers on the look out for potholes or other obstacles.

April 25 is ANZAC Day. Many thousands of Australians gather in the pre-dawn darkness to honor those who died in all wars and to recognize all those who have served their nation. The Dawn Service includes an Ode of Remembrance, Last Post bugle call, a minute's silence, a Reveille played on a bugle and the laying of wreaths.

The Ode of Remembrance is taken from a poem written by the English poet Laurence Binyon.

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them."

The audience then responds: "We will remember them."