Commemorating Anzac Day

Australian Defence Force personnel from the Amberley Air Base participate in the Dawn Service at Amberley

The Department of Defence and the Australian Defence Force have marked Anzac Day not only to the honour those who fought and died during the Gallipoli campaign, but to acknowledge every one of Australia and New Zealand’s men and women who have served in wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations.

Anzac Day is also a time to reflect on the contribution of the military to our nations’ narratives. This Anzac Day more than 2,300 Australian Defence personnel are deployed on operations across the globe supporting activities in the nation’s interest.

As many people paused at Dawn Services and commemorations to remember those who have served Australia in the past, they also reflected on the sacrifices of those who are still serving, and those whose battles continue.

An interesting side story to the Anzac Day commemorations relates to the confirmed identity of a World War I Australian soldier previously recorded incorrectly as an illegal absentee.

Minister for Defence Personnel, the Hon Darren Chester said the previously unidentified Australian soldier was formally identified by an Australian Army Identification Board on 29 August 2017 as Private Edward Attfield, regimental number 1701.

“It can now be confirmed Private Attfield lies in Old Cairo War Cemetery in Egypt,” Mr Chester said.

On May 1915, Private Attfield deployed to Gallipoli with the 5th Battalion, AIF. On 26 May 1915, he was wounded in action and evacuated to a hospital in Alexandria. He returned to Gallipoli in October 1915, where he served until December 1915.

On 30 January 1916, the body of an unknown Australian soldier was discovered near the Gizeh (Giza) Base in Egypt. The body was buried as an unknown soldier in the Old Cairo War Cemetery.

On Anzac Day 2018, a new headstone was unveiled by Defence staff from OP Mazurka and the Australian Ambassador to Egypt, Mr Neil Hawkins.

The family chose to include the inscription ‘I once was lost, but now am found’ onto the newly installed headstone.