Anzac Day was very different but no less poignant for Aussie soldiers deployed on Operatuion Kudu as the sun rose across the British countryside.
CAPTION: Australian Army soldiers deployed on Operation Kudu attend their own Anzac Day dawn service in the British countryside, taking time out from their Ukrainian-soldiers training duties. Photo by Sergeant Andrew Sleeman.
Around 70 Australian soldiers are training Ukrainian recruits in infantry skills alongside their New Zealand counterparts on Operation Kudu.
The soldiers said they were honoured to commemorate Anzac Day in the UK, taking time away from a field exercise to do so.
Platoons of soldiers arose from their sleeping pits to pay their respects.
A sandbag, bayoneted rifle and slouch hat acted as their Cenotaph, as an Australian Army padre led the contingent through the dawn service.
An Australian Army officer deployed on his first overseas operation said he was proud to wear his uniform and represent Australia abroad.
“Anzac Day is an important opportunity for me to look back at my own family military history,” he said.
“I had two great uncles who fought in the Korean War, and neither of them were alive to see me start my own military career.
“But this a great opportunity for me to reflect on the importance of their service.
“As conflict and unrest continue to impact our world, stopping to reflect and remember our fallen is so important.”
The words of the Australian Army padre echoed this sentiment, praying for justice, freedom, security and peace.
“May their lives lost, laid down in love, move us in our work – in helping our present-day friends fight for their own freedom,” the padre said.
Three Australian soldiers who fought on the beaches of Gallipoli in World War I were Ukrainian nationals, while in World War II, 130 Ukrainians defended Australia as their new home.