Mr WELLS (Rowville) — This statement acknowledges the significance of Remembrance Day, 11 November 2015, marking the 97th anniversary of the armistice which ended the First World War. Every year on Remembrance Day, as Australians and as part of the commonwealth, we honour the memory of those who died or who have suffered in wars or armed conflicts. The First World War, or the Great War, has a special place in the hearts of many Australians, particularly those who had relatives who fought in the fields of Europe or on the shores of Turkey at Gallipoli, or those who have since learnt of the bravery, mateship and great sacrifice of the Anzacs at Gallipoli that has now become Australian folklore.
This Remembrance Day I honour the memory of one of those brave young Australians who left our shores and went off to war. Many such Australians were never to return. My maternal grandfather, Alexander Backman, was 22 years of age when he enlisted in July 1915 and went on to become part of the 4th Australian Light Horse Regiment (brigade) that charged at the famous Battle of Beersheba on 31 October 1917 in Palestine, which is now part of Israel. Fortunately he returned to our country on 15 November 1918.
My grandfather was only one of the 324 000 Australians who served overseas in the First World War, and he was very lucky not to be one of the 60 000 Australians who died on foreign soil. The stories of World War I and those of all wars in which Australians have fought and lost their lives should not be forgotten; they should survive so that future generations can continue to recognise and honour those Australians.