Special flight to Turkey for ANZAC Centenary

Tuesday, 27 January 2015 VA002


The Australian Government and Qantas today announced a collaboration to support ANZAC Centenary activities marking the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings.


 Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC, Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson made the announcement alongside Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce at the airline’s Sydney Jetbase.

“The Anzac Centenary is a milestone of special significance to all Australians as the First World War played such an important role in defining us as a nation and as a people” Senator Ronaldson said.

The Government appreciates the generous contribution of Qantas in supporting this significant period of commemoration and ensuring that more Australians can travel to Turkey for the services.

Qantas has added a special flight for Australians travelling to Turkey for Anzac Day – the Boeing 747 seats 364 people and will depart Sydney for Istanbul on 21 April, via Perth.

“This additional flight is a great initiative by Qantas, and will provide the opportunity for many Australians who received a ticket in the ballot to travel to this historic Anzac Day commemoration,” Senator Ronaldson said.

Qantas has a strong connection to Gallipoli where two of its founders served, Sir William Hudson Fysh KBE DFC (1894 – 1974) and Paul McGinness DFC DCM (1896-1952).

Qantas has agreed to provide return flights for the widows of Australian First World War veterans travelling to Turkey for Anzac Day commemorations at Gallipoli. The widows, aged in their seventies to early nineties, will attend the commemorations as official guests of the Australian Government and will travel as part of an official mission party.

The widows will each be accompanied by a carer and support staff from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA), including nurses and an Australian Defence Force doctor.

Following an expression of interest process undertaken last year, DVA is continuing to work with the widows and their carers to ensure their fitness for international travel in April.

“Qantas is proud to be working with the Australian Government and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to support the Centenary of ANZAC events,” said Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce.

“We are honoured to be carrying war widows and their carers to Turkey so they can attend commemorative services at Gallipoli.

“Two of Qantas’ founders, Paul McGinness and Hudson Fysh both served with distinction in the First World War and today, their legacies remain strong as do our ties with the services of the Australian Defence Forces.”

Senator Ronaldson said that while Anzac Day 2015 in Gallipoli will be a key commemorative event in the Anzac Centenary Programme, the programme will extend until November 2018 when the 100th anniversary of the armistice will be observed.

“Those without attendance passes for Anzac Day 2015 may consider visiting Gallipoli on 6 August 2015 for the Battle of Lone Pine commemoration service.  Australians can also attend a Dawn Service in Australia or watch the television broadcast of the Gallipoli and Villers-Bretonneux services on the ABC” he said.

The ballot for attendance at Anzac Centenary commemorations at Gallipoli is now complete. A waitlist, for those who were unsuccessful in previous allocations, is open until 31 March 2015 to reallocate places that become available. Only those with a ballot attendance pass can attend the official Anzac Day commemorations at Gallipoli in 2015.

For more information on Anzac Day commemorations at Gallipoli in 2015 visit www.gallipoli2015.dva.gov.au or visit www.anzaccentenary.gov.au for information on the Anzac Centenary Programme.

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Season’s Greetings

Season’s Greetings

WW1 postcard 5 JD

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

WW1 Christmas truce 1914

From the 2014/15 FFFAIF Management Committee.
Peace on earth and goodwill to all men
Lest We Forget
The office of the FFFAIF will be taking a break over the Festive Season and will re-open on

Tuesday 27th January, 2015.

The secretary will be checking emails, occasionally, throughout this period so there may be a delay in responses to secretary@fffaif.org.au

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Oxford Archaeology Report now available

remember me to all -cover

‘Remember Me To All’: The archaeological recovery and identification of soldiers who fought and died in the battle of Fromelles 1916. Hardcover– July 16, 2014

by Louise Loe, Caroline Baker, Kate Brady, Margaret Cox and Helen Webb (authors) with significant contributions to the Anthropological and Identification chapters by FFFAIF member Professor Richard Wright AM.

This work is a comprehensive report on the Pheasant Wood Archaeological recovery and identification of soldiers who fought and died during the Battle of Fromelles in July 1916.

Now available at:



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Wednesday, 5 November 2014


Dear Editor,

This Remembrance Day, Tuesday 11 November, Australians across the nation and around the world will pause at 11am for one minute’s silence to remember the sacrifice of those who have served in our country’s uniform during times of war and conflict.

We remember and pay special tribute to the more than 102,000 Australians who have lost their lives in war, in conflict and on peacekeeping operations. We think, too, of those who returned from the battle fields carrying the scars of their service and the families who care for them.

Our current serving members who are away from their loved ones, are also in our thoughts and we thank them for their service.

I encourage all Australians to pause for reflection at 11am, to wear a red poppy and, if possible, attend a commemoration ceremony in your local community. Remembrance Day is a time for all of us to reflect on a century of service and sacrifice. This year marks the beginning of the commemoration of the Centenary of Anzac, recognising a century of service.

Purchasing a poppy contributes significantly to the fundraising work of the Returned and Services League (RSL). The money raised helps to provide financial and medical assistance, as well as advocacy and support services to current and former serving members of the Australian Defence Force and their families.

Should you require help to conduct a Remembrance Day ceremony, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) has a range of freely available resources to assist you, including a step-by-step guide to running a ceremony, and accompanying audio files such as the National Anthem and the Last Post. As it does each year for Remembrance Day, the Department has also produced a commemorative poster, which this year focuses on the departure of the first troop convoy from Albany in 1914. All of these resources are available on the DVA website at www.dva.gov.au/remembranceday.htm

Lest we forget.

Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC
Special Minister of State

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2014 Annual General Meeting



The AGM this year will be held on
Saturday 11th October, 2014.

Registration from 2:15pm

Meeting Commences: 2:30pm

Venue: Penrith RSL Club
8 Tindale Street
Penrith NSW

RSVP: 03/10/2014

Financial Members: If you are attending the AGM, please email secretary@fffaif.org.au or phone 0401 467 819 or write to the Secretary (address below) by close of business on 3rd October 2014. For further details see DIGGER 48, which will soon arrive in your mail box.

If you haven’t renewed your membership, there is still time before the AGM. Please contact the Secretary, by email secretary@fffaif.org.au or by phone 0401 467 819 or in writing to:

The Secretary FFFAIF Inc
PO Box 4208
Oatley West
NSW 2223

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Historian Peter Barton @ Memorial Lecture

Peter Barton, battlefield archaeologist and film maker is visiting Australia to launch his latest book The Lost Legions of Fromelles.

Peter will make a guest appearance at the 2014 John Laffin Memorial lecture at 10.00am Sunday 29 June at Harbord Diggers.

The Lost Legions of Fromelles

You can also catch Peter in Sydney on:

Monday, 30 June 2014, 12:30pm – 1:30pm
Venue: Tom Keneally Centre, Sydney Mechanics School of Arts
280 Pitt Street


Thursday, 3 July, 6 – 7.30 pm
Venue: State Library of NSW, Macquarie Street


Friday, 4 July, 1 – 2 pm
Venue: Stanton Library,
234 Miller Street
North Sydney

In Canberra on:

Tuesday, 1 July, 1:00pm
Australian War Memorial
BAE Systems Theatre

In Melbourne on:

Wednesday 2 July, 6:00 pm for 6:30 start
Hellenic RSL
14a Ferrars Place (off Cecil St)
South Melbourne

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2014 John Laffin Memorial Lecture

Members and their guests are invited to
Sunday, 29 June 2014

Speakers:The John Laffin Memorial Lecture.

Jim Munro: The Road to the Great War.

Richard Wright: Not by DNA alone: the role of archaeology and anthropology at the Pheasant Wood mass graves, Fromelles.

Special guest appearance by historian and author Peter Barton, author of the recently published The Lost Legions of Fromelles

 10 AM for 10:30 start at Harbord Diggers.
66-78 Evans Street
Freshwater NSW 2096

On-site car parking is available.

Entry: $15 per head for morning tea, a light lunch and afternoon tea.

RSVP: by Friday, 20 June to

FFFAIF is pleased to announce two lectures for the John Laffin Memorial Lecture series for 2014. The Lectures commemorate the contribution of the founder of the FFFAIF, Australian military historian John Laffin.

FFFAIF Vice President Jim Munro will explore The Road to the Great War outlining the processes for preserving peace, the alliances, and war planning of the major European powers. This presentation coincides with the centenary of the assassination on 28 June 1914 of Archduke Francis Ferdinand and Countess Sophie in Sarajevo, Bosnia by a Serbian nationalist.

FFFAIF Member Richard Wright AM, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at the University of Sydney will speak on the role of Archaeology and Anthropology during the Pheasant Wood exhumations and subsequent efforts at making identifications. Richard will draw on his specialised forensic experiences with archaeological techniques used in investigations in the Ukraine and the former Yugoslavia as well as those used in his role as Senior Forensic Adviser to Oxford Archaeology during the Pheasant Wood mass graves exhumation and investigation at Fromelles

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New Patron-in-Chief for FFFAIF


[Biographies and photos courtesy http://www.gg.gov.au/gg-bio-cosgrove ]

His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd), Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, has accepted our invitation and agreed to become FFFAIF Patron-in-Chief, succeeding the Honourable Dame Quentin Bryce AD CVO. Thank you, Sir Peter, for granting us this honour and welcome to our association.

Peter Cosgrove was born in Sydney in 1947. The son of a soldier, he attended Waverley College in Sydney and graduated in 1968 from the Royal Military College, Duntroon.

Early in his military career, he fought in Vietnam, commanding a rifle platoon. He was awarded the Military Cross in 1971 for his performance and leadership during an assault on enemy positions.

He was named Australian of the Year in 2001. His autobiography “My Story” was published in 2006. (It is a great read [Ed].)

Sir Peter served as Chief of the Defence Force from 2002-2005. He retired from the Australian Defence Force in 2005.

An avid sports follower, General Sir Peter Cosgrove takes particular interest in rugby and cricket.

He and his wife Lady Cosgrove have three adult sons and one grandson.

Her Excellency Lady Cosgrove


Lynne Cosgrove (née Payne) was born and raised in Sydney’s southern suburbs.
She met Peter Cosgrove in early 1975 and they married in 1976.
During Sir Peter’s long military career, she accompanied him on postings throughout Australia and in several overseas countries including the United States of America, the United Kingdom and India.
Lady Cosgrove has been actively involved in the welfare of partners in the defence community and became the inaugural Patron of Partners of Veterans Australia.
She has worked with numerous voluntary organisations supporting aged and disabled people, and endangered Australian wildlife.
Her personal interests include art and architecture, nature and gardens, and she is a keen sports follower.

More details at: http://www.gg.gov.au/gg-bio-cosgrove


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More identified from Fromelles

On 26 May 2014 the Assistant Minister for Defence, The Hon Stuart Robert MP, announced the names of a further 20 previously unidentified Australian soldiers who died at the Battle of Fromelles in 1916.

Sgt David Anderson2560 Sgt David Samuel Anderson was amongst the soldiers recently identified

The latest diggers to be identified are:
Private John Edwin Crocker *, 32nd Battalion AIF, Adelaide;
Private Ernest Robert Oliver, 29th Battalion, Bacchus Marsh, Victoria;
Private Percy Weakley *, 31st Battalion, Adelaide;
Private Gordon Thomas Smith, 29th Battalion, Buxton, Victoria;
Private Archie McDonald *, 31st Battalion, Wyrallah, NSW;
Private Adolf Thompson Knable *, 32nd Battalion, Melbourne;
Private Edgar William Parham *, 32nd Battalion, Gawler, SA;
Private Vintam Battan Baker *, 55th Battalion, Sydney;
Private Willie Hilton Doust, 54th Battalion, Lower Southgate, NSW;
Private William Thomas Connolly, 54th Battalion, Durraga, NSW;
Private Herbert Newey St Smith, 55th Battalion, Tumbarumba, NSW;
Private Albert Williamson *, 54th Battalion, Canowindra, NSW;
Private Sidney John Gray, 54th Battalion, Goulburn, NSW;
Lance Corporal Frederic James Glenn, 30th Battalion, Redfern, NSW;
Corporal Joseph Edward Lee *, 60th Battalion, Pimpinio, Victoria;
Sergeant Jack Marchmont Campbell *, 54th Battalion, Glasgow, Scotland;
Sergeant David Samuel Anderson *, 54th Battalion, Bergalia, NSW;
Company Sergeant Major Harold George Woodman, 31st Battalion, South Yarra, Victoria;
Company Sergeant Major William Henry Christian Rose, 55th Battalion, Rockdale, NSW;
2nd Lieutenant Reginald Theodore Griffen *, 32nd Battalion, Riverton, SA.

* Photos of these soldiers can be seen here.

In May 2009 Oxford Archaeology started the exhumation of the remains of 250 missing soldiers from the Battle of Fromelles from a mass grave adjacent to Pheasant Wood, Fromelles. The first identifications took place that year with the aid of archaeological evidence along with DNA samples from descendants.
The naming of these 20 diggers brings the total of identified soldiers to 144.

To read the Minister’s announcement in detail click here.

To read more about:
Private Albert Williamson click here.
Private Herbert Newey St Smith click here.

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anzacdayAnzac Day 2014 commemorates the 99th anniversary of the landing of troops at Gallipoli.

Anzac Day goes beyond the anniversary of the landing on Gallipoli in 1915. It is the day on which we remember Australians who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations. The spirit of Anzac, with its human qualities of courage, mateship, and sacrifice, continues to have meaning and relevance for our sense of national identity. (AWM http://www.awm.gov.au/commemoration/anzac-day/ )


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