“Anzac Day is an important day on the calendar for both Aussies and Kiwis. Dawn services are traditional in both countries, as they mark the time of the original landing of Australian and New Zealand soldiers on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey to fight with the Allied forces in World War I,” said Craig Ferguson, Australian Consul-General for Phuket
“Over time April 25 has turned into a day that Australians and New Zealanders remember those who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations and the contribution and suffering of all those who have served,” he explained.
“During the service in Phuket, we hope to see the sun rise over the water. The dawn service will begin with a bagpiper walking in, piping his lament. Lieutenant Commander (LCDR) Paul Pelczar of the Royal Australian Navy will give a commemorative address, a New Zealand school student will read, the Ode will be said, a bugler will play the Last Post, followed by the traditional one minute’s silence and the laying of wreaths,” Mr Ferguson explained.
In Phuket, the services will be held at the Phuket Yacht Club.
“We have chosen the Phuket Yacht Club for the service this year and we thank the Club’s Commodore Scott Duncanson for his support. Many Phuket residents will be familiar with the beautiful and very private waterfront location of the Yacht Club, which is off Chao Fa East Rd in Chalong,” Mr Ferguson told The Phuket News.
The traditional Dawn Service will commence at 6:30am on April 25.
LCDR Paul Pelczar has served in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) for 31 years and said he is honoured by the opportunity to give a commemorative address at the inaugural Anzac Day ceremony in Phuket.
“The Australian Embassy has a considerable commitment to the well-established Anzac commemorative services at Hell Fire Pass near Kachanaburi. Therefore, I feel very fortunate and certainly lucky to have arrived recently in the Kingdom and to be selected by the Australian Defence Attache to Thailand (RAN Capt Christopher Smith) to be the Australian Defence Force representative in Phuket,” said LCDR Pelczar.
This allows the Australian Defence Force to continue to focus on the much larger commemoration along the Thai-Burma railway while appropriately acknowledging the significance of the event in Phuket,” he added.
LCDR Pelczar said his speech at the ceremony will focus on World War II and acknowledge the suffering of allied prisoners of war. “Actually delivering the commemorative address at the inaugural Dawn Service in Phuket is both an incredible honour and absolute privilege and will most likely strike me emotionally as I read my address.
“My address initially reflects on the battles and sacrifices made by Australians and New Zealanders in 1917 (100 years ago) along the Western Front. My main focus will be to remember the significant challenges Australia and New Zealand faced 75 years ago, in 1942. And as we are in Thailand, I will also reflect on the human cost in the POW (Prisoner of War) camps along the Thai-Burma railway. I will also personify the address by telling a story of an Australian sailor who served on HMAS PERTH during WWII.
“Those values associated to the Anzac tradition of courage under adversity, mateship and ingenuity resonate deeply, and as current serving members, we feel a professional responsibility to uphold that legacy. The day is particularly meaningful to current and former Australian and New Zealand servicemen and women as a time for reflection with the grateful acknowledgement of their nations’ communities.
“Anzac Day is engrained in the Australian and New Zealand psyche that allows both nations to symbolically come together wherever an Australian or New Zealander finds themselves in the world and remember the human cost of war and the sacrifices made for us to enjoy our current freedoms and prosperity.
“The initiative by the Consul General, the critical support from local community leaders and the contribution by the local Thai authorities is an acknowledgement of the importance of the growing Australian and New Zealand expatriate community in Phuket province,” concluded LCDR Pelczar.
Those interested in attending the dawn service are urged to register their attendance by emailing RSVP.Phuket@dfat.gov.au