Strengthening Anzac and PNG bonds – Anzac Day

Dawn broke across Bomana War Cemetery in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, accompanied by wreath-laying and the playing of the Last Post for the 2024 Anzac Day service.

CAPTIONLeading Aircraftman Connor Bourn from Australia’s Federation Guard participates in the Catafalque Party during the Anzac Day Dawn Service at Bomana War Cemetery, Papua New Guinea. Story by Flight Lieutenant Claire Campbell. Photos by Corporal Samuel Miller

In attendance were the respective Chiefs of Air Force of the RAAF and Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF), Air Marshal Robert Chipman and Air Vice-Marshal Darryn Webb, alongside the Acting Chief of Defence Force for PNG, Commodore Philip Polewara.

Anzac Day is a significant day for all three nations, due to the close historical links forged during World War 2 and the campaigns fought by Anzac soldiers in the mountainous highlands of PNG.

Air Marshal Chipman acknowledged the day’s importance.

“It is a day for us to honour the extraordinary sacrifice of our servicemen and women and recommit ourselves to do everything within our power to ensure the calamity of war is never visited upon this beautiful country again,” Air Marshal Chipman said.

Also in attendance was the Governor General of PNG, Grand Chief Sir Bob Dadae, representatives of the Australian and New Zealand High Commissions, and ADF personnel, including a Federation Guard catafalque party.

The dawn service was a chance to reflect on RAAF’s & RNZAF’s commitment to PNG as the three nations continue to share security challenges.

Air Vice-Marshal Webb acknowledged the strong bonds between the three nations.

“Papua New Guinea became a vital partner during World War 2, standing side by side, confronting the challenges of war with unwavering determination,” Air Vice-Marshal Webb said.

“That partnership may have been born out of necessity, but it has endured through shared sacrifice and shared values since these times.”

Anzac Day is a poignant reminder of the mutual respect and trust that have been built between Australia, New Zealand and PNG during the most difficult periods of their shared history.

“Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels are deeply respected by Australians,” Air Marshal Chipman said.

“They are part of our story, the song lines of our nations which simultaneously speak to the depth of our shared history, the strength of our conviction and the potential of our enduring partnership.”

This visit to PNG by both Chiefs of Air Force has also included tours of Murray Barracks, Air Transport Wing, and National Museum and Art Gallery, where the delegation has met with PNG ministers, PNG Defence Force senior officers and local community leaders.


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