While there are significant differences between the diggers of Gallipoli and the modern day soldier, both carried with them the quality of mateship that can triumph so much, Captain Dan Fussell told those gathered for the Anzac service at his alma mater, The Armidale School early on 28 April (held then due to Anzac Day itself falling in the school holidays).
Captain Fussell, 2IC of the Army Adventurous Training Wing, said the ANZAC legend was possibly as strong as it was because the legacy of courage, initiative, teamwork and respect was borne out of what was really a great military failure.
“Despite the failings, they thrived in the face of adversity – not a bad definition for courage. They were able to do a lot with a little, and their teamwork – or more acutely mateship – speaks for itself.”
Recalling a situation where he by coincidence found himself in an attack in Afghanistan alongside two friends from TAS, Captain Fussell reflected on the inscription on the headstone of another mate killed in active service that he said summed up so much: “‘No greater love hath a man than to lay down his life for his friends’. Regardless of the war, the political reasons for fighting or the generation, this for me is the legacy of the ANZAC.”
These days, Anzac Day was remembering more than just the original ANZACS, but veterans from all wars and peace-keeping operations alike.
“We recognise the near three thousand female nurses that supported our diggers in World War One and remember the twenty one of them that also lost their lives during the war; and today we can be proud that men and women stand side by side on the front line in Afghanistan, equal opportunity and equal responsibility,” he said.
“I say to you, the beneficiaries of ANZACs, as you walk into the School Memorial Hall and see the names of those that have served, those that are still serving, and those that gave their all, think about the values that allowed ordinary men and women to do extraordinary things and consider who you are, where you have come from, and the values that will carry you to do great things, to build upon the foundation that was laid for us by the ANZACs.”
During the service, Senior Prefect Ben Moffatt read the names of 103 old boys and staff who gave their lives in battle. Amongst them, Captain Fussell’s brother Lt Michael Fussell who was killed in Afghanistan in 2008, and in whose memory Captain Fussell and his parents unveiled a plaque beneath one of a line of trees descended from the Gallipoli Lone Pine.
For a full gallery of images from the TAS Anzac Service, click on any of the photos below.