Speaker reflects on impact of loss
COLONEL Michael Batiste commented on how often some names, like Chambers and Eastwell, were inscribed on the Warwick Cenotaph in Leslie Park when he spoke at yesterday’s Anzac Day Service.
“I much prefer speaking at Anzac Day services in the regional towns than in the bigger cities,” he said.
“You look at the names on memorials, which are in prominent positions in the towns, and it is easy to see the sacrifice these young men and women made.
“You often see the same names and wonder if they are brothers, fathers and sons. Chambers and Eastwell are two names I saw over and over again on the cenotaph in Warwick on Anzac Day.”
Col Batiste said the impact of such loss of life as experienced down the years impacted heavily on a farming community.
“There is an impact on each family, farm and the heritage of the area,” he said.
In speaking about the loss of life in the fight for freedom, he listed the ages of four young Australians lost at war in the past year. They were 30, 21, 31, and 22.
Col Batiste spoke of the close co-operation of the Anzac nations in the 95 years since Gallipoli.
There have been 1.8 million Australians enlisted for all campaigns – 102,000 have died, 225,000 have been wounded and 34,000 held in prisoner of war camps.
He estimated there are now 206,000 veterans in Australia from World War II to today, aged from 18 into the 90s.
During his speech, Col Batiste highlighted significant events on April 25 in intervening years, including the work of the 3rd Battalion stalling the Chinese as they advanced on Seoul in 1951 during the Korean War.
“On Anzac Day in 2005, I was conducting an exercise for Australian troops north of Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory which was considered similar terrain to Southern Iraq.”
He said the spirit of the Anzacs from 1915 involved courage, initiative and teamwork and these characteristics were still present in the Australian forces today.
“Every veteran standing here should be justifiably proud of their efforts,” Col Batiste said.