Published: Mon 11 Nov 2013

Remembrance Day 2013

At 11 am on 11 November 1918, the guns of the Western Front fell silent after more than four years of continuous warfare. This year marks the 95th anniversary of the Armistice which ended the First World War (1914–1918).

On this day each year Australians observe one minute’s silence in memory of those who have died or suffered for Australia’s cause in all wars and armed conflicts.

 National ceremony

 In accordance with the rich traditions of Remembrance Day at the Memorial, the National Ceremony will commence with the Tri-Service Guard of Honour, mounted by Australia’s Federation Guard, marching onto the parade ground accompanied by the Band of the Royal Military College.

Wreaths will be laid by Her Excellency the Honourable Quentin Bryce AC CVO, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia; Senator the Honourable Michael Ronaldson, representing the Prime Minister; the Honourable Bill Shorten MP, Leader of the Opposition; the Chiefs of the Defence Force; and members of the diplomatic corps on behalf of the citizens of their countries.

Two Australian soldiers who died in Afghanistan in the past 13 months have this year been honoured with the addition of their names to the Roll of Honour. Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith VC MG will read their names: Corporal Scott James Smith, Special Operations Engineer Regiment, 21 October 2012, aged 24; and Corporal Cameron Stewart Baird MG, 2nd Commando Regiment, 22 June 2013, aged 32.  

One minute’s silence will be observed to reflect on the sacrifice of these men and all of the Australians represented on the Roll of Honour.

This year also marks the 20th anniversary of the re-interment of the Unknown Australian Soldier in the Memorial’s Hall of Memory. To mark the occasion, this year’s Remembrance Day Commemorative Address will be delivered by the Honourable Paul Keating, who first delivered the eulogy for the Unknown Australian Soldier as Prime Minister in 1993.

The transcript and recording of the original reading of the eulogy by the Honourable Paul Keating can be found at www.awm.gov.au/commemoration/keating

Following the commemorative address, 102 students from schools across Australia will lay poppies to symbolise the more than 102,000 Australian servicemen and women who have died in war. The students are from years 4 through 12, and will be attending from the following schools:

  • Merici College, ACT
  • Jerrabomberra Public School, NSW
  • Kenilworth State Community College, QLD
  • Port Dalrymple School, TAS
  • Girrawheen Senior High School, WA
  • Trinity Grammar School, VIC
  • St Francis de Sales College, SA

A bronze plaque inscribed with the eulogy will then be unveiled in the entrance to the Hall of Memory. The new inscription on the southern end of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier will also be unveiled.  The previous inscription: “He symbolises all Australians who have died in war” has been changed to words from the eulogy: “He is one of them, and he is all of us”.

In accordance with past tradition, the official party will lay floral tributes at the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier, and pay its respects in the Eastern Cloisters by placing poppies on Afghanistan Roll of Honour bronze panel. Following the ceremony members of the public will be invited to place poppies in remembrance on the Roll of Honour or the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier.

Further information can be found at www.awm.gov.au/commemoration/remembrance

Last Post ceremony

At the end of the day, the Memorial will mark a new tradition at the Last Post ceremony: the reading of the eulogy for the Unknown Australian Soldier which was first read at the re-interment in 1993. The eulogy will be delivered by Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith VC MG at 4.55 pm. 

The Last Post ceremony is also streamed live daily on the Memorial’s website at www.awm.gov.au/events/daily-closing-ceremony

Background information on the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier

After the First World War, many nations began to commemorate soldiers who had died in battle but whose bodies had never been recovered or identified. Tombs containing the bodies of unidentified soldiers served as symbols for those who had fallen in the service of their country.

Plans to honour an unknown Australian soldier were first put forward in the 1920s, but it was not until 1993 that one was at last brought home. To mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the First World War, the body of an unknown Australian soldier was recovered from Adelaide Cemetery near Villers-Bretonneux in France and transported to Australia. After lying in state in King’s Hall in Old Parliament House, the Unknown Australian Soldier was interred in the Hall of Memory on 11 November 1993. 

Background information on the two soldiers whose names are being added to the Roll of Honour

With the addition of the names of the following two Australian soldiers to the Roll of Honour, the number of Australians on the Afghanistan Roll of Honour panel has risen to 40. 

  • Corporal Scott James Smith

Corporal Scott James Smith, Special Operations Engineer Regiment, was killed in action in Afghanistan on Sunday 21 October 2012. Corporal Smith was born in the Barossa Valley, South Australia, in 1988 and joined the Army in February 2006. He is survived by his parents, sister and partner.

More information can be found at: www.defence.gov.au/vale/cpl_smith/cpl_smith

  •  Corporal Cameron Stewart Baird MG

On Saturday, 22 June 2013, Corporal Cameron Stewart Baird MG, 2nd Commando Regiment, was killed in action by small-arms fire from insurgents in Afghanistan. Corporal Baird was born in Burnie, Tasmania, in 1981 and joined the Army in January 2000. Corporal Baird was on his fifth tour of Afghanistan and was awarded the Medal for Gallantry in 2007. He is survived by his parents, brother and partner.

More information can be found at: www.defence.gov.au/vale/cpl_baird/cpl_baird

 "Here is their spirit, in the heart of the land they loved; and here we guard the record which they themselves made."    Charles Bean, 1948

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