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A MUSICAL VOYAGE - Royal Australian Navy

A MUSICAL VOYAGE - Royal Australian Navy

- 162 – The next six

- 162 – The next six months looks just as promising with one and possibly two sea deployments and one deployment in support of the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands. The record for gaining overseas deployment opportunities for our people during the past five years has been quite impressive: Work has commenced to inscribe on our ceremonial drums the band’s Battle Honours and names of previous members who lost their lives in action. We have purchased a number of new drums and intend to refurbish the old ones for distribution to our reserve units and to the Australian Navy Cadets. This initiative compliments the previous one to inscribe the names on our bugles. I am also working in conjunction with the Australian Army Band Corps on a Pay Case submission for our musicians that we hope to get before the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal next year, and am pleased to report that a recent proposal to create a position for an additional Chief Petty Officer in the Sydney detachment was successful. I am also pleased to report that, unlike other categories, we conclude this financial year with no vacant positions. Thank you for your contribution to ensuring that the Royal Australian Navy Band remains ‘one of Australia’s premier military ensembles’ and that its story of service to the nation continues to be told. GALLIPOLI 2007 Article by Leading Seaman Esa Thomas This year saw 15 members of Royal Australian Navy Band as part of the Australian Defence Force Contingent participate in the commemoration of the 92nd Anniversary of the ANZAC landing on the Gallipoli Peninsula. After a five hour bus trip from Istanbul where we had spent the first four days of our trip, our first sightseeing stop at the Gallipoli Peninsula involved a quick battlefield tour with local historian Mr Kenan Çelik. When we finally reached ANZAC Cove, we could not get off the bus quick enough to see the site of the Dawn Service and get the first glimpse from the beach up that fateful hill. The incline is so steep, and you could just see people shaking their heads thinking, “How on earth did they get up there?” We were keen to get down on the beach, and many photo snaps later we were being ushered back onto the buses to see the rest of the sites. The next stop was Lone Pine, and even with the half erected stands, wandering around the tombstones was a sobering experience. There were some beautifully written epitaphs, one I remember saying “He gave up his coat of grey for one of white.” Once again, we were rushed back onto the bus for the final stop with the guide up at Chanuk Bair Cemetery and New Zealand Memorial site. That winding road was one we got very familiar with over the next few days. The next day we actually had a free morning, but a few of us from the Contingent decided to head back over to the Gallipoli peninsula from Çanakkale where we were staying, do our own touring of the sites. We started down on the beach, and walked up the hill (along a much nicer track than what the diggers would have had) and stopped at Shell Green Cemetery site. We returned to the track to continue up to Lone Pine, where we could take a little more time to take it all in. More walking and up to The Nek, where the view was simply amazing of the country side and out to the water. By this stage, I must admit, I was getting a little tired of all the hiking, but we were with a couple of Army members, who were very keen to get up to Baby 700. “We have to get as far as they did!” was what they claimed as they powered up the last little bit, me trailing behind! It was certainly worth the effort though, and walking amongst the trenches and seeing the tunnels gave a little perspective of what the soldiers were faced with. Our main purpose for being over there began late on the afternoon of Tuesday 24 April. We loaded up our uniforms, pillows and blankets, and when we arrived, thousands of people were already staking claim to their places on the grass and in the stands. Walking past and seeing someone with vegemite on Turkish bread made me smile, and seemed kind of symbolic that our two countries can get along together in more ways than one! Royal Australian Navy Band: A Musical Voyage

- 163 – We headed up the back of the seating area to a couple of tents with a heater that we were lucky to have been provided with! 8.30pm that night saw us opening the entertainment for the night with some tunes from the WWI era. After about 20 mins, we left the stage to cheers and applause, a proud moment for us. Our next set began at 11.30pm, and if it was not for the loud sound system that had been playing all night so far, I would have tip toed down through the sleeping crowd. Obviously the noise was no problem, with thousands of people occupying every inch of grass wrapped up in blankets and sleeping bags with many fast asleep! After our final set, some of us squeezed in a few winks of sleep, and then the time had arrived. Already they were broadcasting ANZAC Dawn services and marches around Australia, and hearing Royal Australian Navy being played by the Sydney Detachment bought a cheer from us! It was getting closer to that time, and the sun was slowly peaking over the Sphinx as the service got under way. There were moving and insightful speeches from both Australian and Turkish representatives. When ABMUSN Andrew Hansch started with the Last Post, the air hung with emotion and a stillness that can only be felt and not described. The call went without a hitch and being apart of that moment makes you feel proud of being Australian. We were lucky enough to ride on the buses up to Lone Pine, and the thousands of people that streamed up the hill on foot was amazing. The Lone Pine service had warmed up quite considerably from the chilly Dawn Service, and it seemed a more intimate affair with a smaller crowd in a smaller place. We sat right next to all those who had come so far to pay homage to those who had bravely fought, so it felt we were more apart of the service than just providing musical support. After the services for the day we headed back down the hill for the last time to attend a “BBQ”. It was not the conventional steak and sausages that I know some were pining for, but it was a plethora of Turkish cuisine that bought nothing but compliments for those who had prepared it. ANZAC Day in Gallipoli is a trip that I will never forget, and feel very lucky to have been apart of. It is an experience that I can only try to explain, but can not give full justice to the feelings I had of standing on the beach, or getting goose bumps at the sight of opposing trenches not more than a single road’s width apart, or shivering on that early ANZAC Day morning. If one ever has the chance to go over, I would say it is a most worthwhile and memorable trip to embark on. ON THE BUGLE IN ANZAC COVE Article by Able Seaman Andrew Hansch Instead of harping on about the whole two weeks of my Gallipoli experience, I would like to share with you my thoughts and feelings of the day before, and the day of Anzac Day 2007. April 24th, 5am. Today we would be embarking on the ferry from Çanakkale and head across the Dardanelles to the Gallipoli Peninsula. The morning was fresh and still, and what we were about to experience really started to sink in as the first cracks of sun appeared from over the mountains. You could not help but think of the diggers those 92 years prior, how they must have felt and what awaited them the next morning. We made our way south through the peninsula to the Turkish International Service at Mehmetcik Abide. The respect, honour and pride shown by all countries but especially the Turkish was really something else. My eyes were truly opened at this service and to be drawn into a plethora of emotions wasn't hard at all. The service lasted for an hour after which we made our way to the Commonwealth Memorial Service at Cape Helles. Chief Stapleton had drawn the short straw for bugle jobs here, plus there was a Bottle of thank you already organized from the British, "funny how that turned out Chief". He was a little bit nervous, and with good cause too. This was a massive memorial with plenty of hierarchy there but as always, Chief delivered the bugle call with professionalism and did both himself and us all very proud. Royal Australian Navy Band: A Musical Voyage

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