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Scoop Images: ANZAC Day In East Timor

New Zealand serviceman in East Timor commemorated ANZAC day with traditional dawn parades in Dili, Suai and in the Company field locations. This ANZAC day was of special significance for those attending the parades in East Timor as, once again, New Zealand and Australian Defence force personnel were serving side by side on overseas operations.

The largest parade was held at the headquarters of the 1st Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (1RNZIR) in Suai. Soldiers from 1RNZIR were joined by members from 3 Squadron Royal New Zealand Air Force, Fijian Defence Force , Irish Rangers, Nepalese Army and of course a large contingent of Australian Servicemen. Wreaths were laid on the large stone Kiwi in the centre of the Headquarters compound by Commander of Sector West, Brigadier Duncan Lewis, of the Australian Army, as well as the Commanding Officers of 1RNZIR and 3 Squadron detachment. Doctor Dai Gilbertson of the New Zealand Olympic Committee, who is visiting East Timor to distribute donated sports equipment, also laid a memorial wreath. The soldiers, airman and women returned to normal security duties after enjoying breakfast together.

In Dili, New Zealand servicemen and women from all three services were joined by NZ Police and Customs for a dawn parade with the Australians at the Commonwealth War Memorial on Dili Airfield. Later in the morning a Church service was held at the Dili Cathedral where Chaplain Julian Wagg, of the NZ Army, shared the service and Colonel Phillip Gibbons, New Zealand Senior National Officer, was keynote speaker.

The thirty New Zealand Army and Airforce support staff in Darwin, Australia, paraded through the city with the Darwin Returned Services league (RSL). According to the RSL this was the first time current serving members of the NZ Defence Force have marched in a formal capacity in the Darwin parade. The RSL was delighted to have the Kiwis march in the parade and the New Zealanders were hosted in the best of ANZAC tradition. The Darwin ANZAC parade is one of the larger parades in Australia and is broadcast live across Australia. The City of Darwin was extensively bombed by the Japanese during World War 2, hence ANZAC Day has an added significance for the people of Darwin.

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