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Mateship on the battlefields an enduring legacy of ANZAC

Posted 28th April 2017

The technology of warfare has changed greatly over the past century, but the importance of mateship is a lasting legacy of ANZAC spirit, believes CPL Robert Prowse.

Speaking at The Armidale School’s Anzac Service this morning, CPL Prowse quoted the way World War One soldier Archie Barwick laughed and joked with his mates as he made his ways to the shore of Gallipoli, then “only when we realised that bullets hurt, did we knew what fear was”.

Fast forward to 2010 in Afghanistan’s Miraband Valley and the fine dust is everywhere.

“You’re out on patrol and a water pump backfires, or so you think. You joke with your mates about the noise until suddenly you realise it wasn’t the pump at all, but enemy fire. Your heart stops and you start running for cover, laughing all the way with your mates because sometimes that is all you can do when faced with the fragility of life,” he said.

The former TAS student, now a combat engineer who has been deployed twice to Afghanistan as well as to Iraq and Malaysia, said it was mateship that got himself, like Archie Barwick, through tough times that included witnessing the ravages of sacrifice in the pursuit of peace and freedom.

“Serving overseas and fighting for my country really instilled in me the meaning of Anzac Day; a time to reflect and personally remember just nine of the many soldiers killed in action whom I knew,” It’s also a day for me and my mates to remember what we have been through and accomplished on our tours of duty, including serving overseas with fellow TAS Old Boys Major Dan Fussell and Corporal Lachie Silver and reflect on the many interesting stories and situations we found ourselves in.“

CPL Prowse said the Army’s modern values of courage, teamwork, initiative and respect were built on the spirit of Anzac and urged students to never forget.

“As you look at the names on the honour rolls around the school, as you go about your everyday life; do not forget the sacrifices made by those that have gone before you especially those that lost their lives. Let the Anzac values guide you in your endeavours and above all else treasure life. Life is fragile – so live it to be the very best of your ability,” he said.

 

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CPL Robert Prowse (centre) with TAS cadet unit commanding officer Angus Murray and Deputy Headmaster Alan Jones after the Anzac Service.