A few days ago, we at Mawson station celebrated a special day, Anzac Day. Why is Anzac Day special? Because it is the day when we remember the fallen, ancestors of bygone days who stood in the front of our enemies and said enough is enough. Many paid the ultimate price, and for that they have their names immortalised on a plaque, and every year we pause to remember them and the price they paid.
For me it is a time to remember the ramp ceremonies and memorial services to pay tribute to the sailors, soldiers and air crew that have lost their lives in the defence of our nation. It’s also a time to remember the personnel that Australia has lost on humanitarian missions, where, through no fault of their own, they too lost their lives.
This year’s Anzac Day, we started with a dawn service at 0830, at the flag poles that you can see on our webcam. It was quite cold and with wind chill, it was down to -40˚C. This was followed by a gunfire breakfast prepared by our chef Donna. Two-up and some other games were played in the workshop, where a wonderful spit roast was cooking lovingly under the watchful eyes of everyone.
Here at Mawson, we have five ex-Defence expeditioners, a third of our station population. Bec, our Station Leader, recently ended her 32-year career with the Royal Australian Navy, where she rose to the rank of Captain and faced recent challenges including assisting with the evacuation operations in Afghanistan, Covid19 and the bushfires of 2019-20. Of the other four, three are also ex-Navy. Our two electricians (Kat and Nathan), and our Comms Tech (Troy) also spent a number of years in the service of our nation in the senior service. That just leaves one final ex-Defence expeditioner, me; Sealy. I served in the Royal Australian Air Force for 13 years as a Motor Transport Fitter; I am the Station Mechanical Supervisor here at Mawson.
This is my fourth year in Antarctic service, each one has been special in its own way. At Davis in 2015, the 21 of us celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings in Antarctica, with 4 ex-serving and our Doctor in the Reserves; four Army, and one Air Force. In 2017 at Casey, we had four ex-serving, two from both the Army and Air Force. At Macquarie Island in 2020, we had all three services represented, and due to Covid19, we were among the only people allowed to gather for Anzac Day services anywhere in the world.
Lest We Forget
William Seal (Sealy)