Day of remembrance to honour Australia's wartime sacrifice

Sapper Maureen Woods, RSL Sub Branch President Bob Payne, Korean war veteran Max Gant and World War II veteran Bill Owers.
Sapper Maureen Woods, RSL Sub Branch President Bob Payne, Korean war veteran Max Gant and World War II veteran Bill Owers. TREVOR VEALE

THEY represent four generations of war service and Coffs Harbour's strong links to the country's greatest conflicts.

As distinguished war veterans they served in vastly different theatres of war, yet share a higher importance in the meaning of Remembrance Day.

World War II Digger Bill Owers, Korean War veteran Max Gant,  Vietnam War veteran Bob Payne and Afghanistan veteran Sapper Maureen Woods have urged Coffs Harbour to remember on Sunday.

As the guest speaker at Coffs Harbour's Remembrance Day service, Sapper Woods, a communications technician who served an eight-month deployment with the Australian Army in 2010, will speak of the modern day importance of national service.

"In the Australian Army on Remembrance Day we reflect on all the men and woman who have sacrificed their lives for their country," Sapper Woods said.

 "It really hits home when I hear an Australian soldier has died in Afghanistan.

"At first you try to find out if is someone you know, one of your mates, then throughout the Army we pay our respects to the family.

"Such terrible news only strengthens the purpose and driving goal of our work and mission in serving our country. 

At 97 years of age, World War II Digger Bill Owers holds pride of place in Coffs Harbour's RSL ranks.

Mr Owers served the 2/4th Australian Infantry Battalion's X and Y regiments seeing out the war with extensive battle honours.

From 1940 he saw conflict in Palestine, Libya, Greece, Crete and Syria.

With Australia under attack he returned home and was reassigned to the Defence of Darwin in March 1942 and saw out the final year of the war with missions in New Guinea.   

RSL Sub-branch president Bob Payne said it was important the community honoured the local veterans war service and those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

"There are three important days on the calendar in Australia, Australia Day - the birth of a nation, Anzac Day where we commemorate all who have served our country and Remembrance Day, the Armistice, in honour of all who have given their lives in service," Mr Payne said.

"I'd urge Coffs Harbour to remember those who have made the supreme sacrifice with us on Sunday," he said.  

The Remembrance Day service will start at 11am sharp at the Coffs Harbour Cenotaph in Gordon St. 

Topics:  coffs harbour, remembrance day, rsl subbranch.



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