The crew of German Navy frigate FGS Bayern on October 3 celebrated Germany’s national day while in Perth during their seven-month Indo-Pacific deployment.
CAPTION: Leading Seaman Kirsten Robinson sings the German National Anthem during a commemorative service held at the Western Australian State War Memorial in King’s Park, as part of FGS Bayern’s visit to Western Australia during their ongoing Indo-Pacific deployment. Story by Lieutenant Rilana Ostheim. Photo by Leading Seaman Ronnie Baltoft.
German Unity Day marks the anniversary of the country’s reunification in 1990.
A wreath-laying ceremony at the State War Memorial in Kings Park to honour those who had perished in previous conflicts was one of the activities held to mark the occasion.
Guests at the commemoration included the German Ambassador to Australia, Dr Thomas Fitschen, the German Honorary Consul to Western Australia, Dr Gabriele Maluga, as well as Commanding Officer Bayern Commander Tilo Kalski and Commanding Officer HMAS Stirling Captain Gary Lawton.
“The ceremony further enhanced the relationship between our two countries and the values we share,” Captain Lawton said.
“Although the nature of the commemoration was sombre, the occasion served to highlight the friendship and cooperation that exists between the Royal Australian Navy and the German Navy.
“The event gave us the opportunity to pay our respects to those from both nations who paid the ultimate sacrifice in service of their country.”
Later that day, Commander Kalski and his crew gathered on board Bayern to mark the 31st anniversary of German Unity Day.
The VIPs in attendance included Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price and Assistant Minister for Defence Andrew Hastie.
German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer remotely delivered a speech online, in which she emphasised the values shared by Germany and Australia, including defending the rule of law and protecting freedom, and recognised Bayern’s tangible support in that regard.
She also expressed her gratitude for the warm hospitality the ship’s company had received in Australia.
Commander Kalski said he was pleased to welcome aboard distinguished guests from different nations to celebrate the reunification of Germany with his ship’s company.
“It gives me great pleasure and honour to welcome everyone and share this special day with them,” Commander Kalski said.
“Our journey is a long one, filled with different tasks, exercises with many navies along the way, but I can already say that Australia has welcomed us with open arms.
“We are very grateful for the experience, which feels like a reunification in its own right for me and my crew.”
After Bayern leaves Fremantle and is sailing to Darwin for a refuelling stop, the ship’s company will commemorate the 1941 World War II battle between HMAS Sydney (II) and German auxiliary cruiser Kormoran off the coast of Geraldton, Western Australia.