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April 11, 2013
FIVE surviving members of HMAS
Perth I will march on Anzac Day with
the banner of the USS Houston to mark
the 71st anniversary of the battle of the
Sunda Strait in WWII in which both war-
ships were lost.
For the first time in the history of
these two warships, the Houston ban-
ner will parade together with the Perth
banner at the Anzac Day march in
The banners will make Anzac Day
2013 an even more memorable occasion
for the five remaining Perth I survivors
David Manning, Fred Lasslett, Basil
Hayler, Allen Guthrie and Lindsay Cox.
Perth I Association secretary Peter
Johnson said a RAN honour guard would
lead the two banners.
“As the remaining five Perth sailors
are now rather elderly, they will join
the march at the lower forecourt of the
Shrine of Remembrance and will be
escorted the last 200m of the march,” he
Mr Johnson said the history that sur-
rounded these men and the two warships
was naval legend.
The heavy cruiser Houston and the
light cruiser Perth were sunk in the
Battle of Sunda Strait on March 1, 1942.
Houston carried 1015 officers and
men and Perth held 683 – two thirds of
each ship’s company was lost that night
in a battle fought against a Japanese
armada approaching Java.
All of the Perth and Houston survi-
vors were captured and became POWs
on the infamous Thai-Burma Railway.
Mr Guthrie, 92, said Anzac Day
would be a special one because of the
presence of the Houston banner.
The war veteran, who served in
HMAS Sydney before it was sunk, said
the Anzac Day march would be a hum-
bling and emotional experience.
“To me it won’t be a frivolous occa-
Houston banner to
join in Anzac march
sion, it will be a rite of observance,” he
Mr Guthrie was transferred off
Sydney to join Perth. Fate smiled on him
again when he volunteered to transfer
to another warship so that another sailor
could return home in Perth to marry.
“Months later, the Perth was torpe-
doed and sunk by the Japanese,” he said.
Even after the war, disaster was never
far away. Mr Guthrie was in HMAS
Melbourne when she collided with the
Voyager and escaped injury yet again.
But his focus on April 25 will be on
his less fortunate crew mates and hon-
ouring their memory.
READY FOR MARCH: Former
Perth sailor Allen Guthrie meets CN
VADM Ray Griggs. Mr Guthrie will
march under both Houston and Perth
banners on Anzac Day.
Photo: LSIS Paul McCallum
CPL Nick Wiseman
ADF representation at the
Australian War Memorial has
been boosted with the daily read-
ing of a personal story of a sol-
dier, sailor or airmen as repre-
sented on the walls of the Gallery
The three most senior warrant
officers of the ADF led the first
ceremony on April 3, ahead of the
official launch on April 17.
Director of the Australian
War Memorial Brendan Nelson
said the idea came from his vis-
its to Menin Gate Memorial in
Belgium where they did some-
“Shortly after I started as
Director I started attending the
existing closing ceremonies here
at the Memorial,” Dr Nelson said.
“Although they were great and
very touching I thought we could
Dr Nelson approached the
CDF and three Service Chiefs
and told them his idea to expand
the closing ceremony each night.
After requesting for ADF sup-
port to read a personal story and
recite the Ode he received full
support with RSM-A WO David
Ashley keen to take on the first
RSM-A WO Ashley was
joined by WO-N WO Martin
Holzberger and WOFF-AF
WOFF Mark Pentreath and
read the personal story of TPR
John Waddell, who was killed in
action at the defence at Elands
River on August 4, 1900, and was
Mentioned in Dispatches.
WO Holzberger said the cer-
emony maintained a strong and
visible link between those cur-
rently serving and all those who
have served our country.
“A show from us as the three
service warrant officers is a dem-
onstration of all three services as
one ADF,” he said.
“As a Navy representative I
am proud of our history and
grateful of the service of those
who are remembered at the
Australian War Memorial.”
The Memorial has tradition-
ally provided a daily closing cer-
emony originally comprising a
pre-recorded playing of the Last
In 2004, a live musician was
brought in for every ceremony
alternating between a piper and
bugler and Australia’s Federation
Guard agreed to provide a cata-
falque party once a month.
The catafalque party was
expanded last year to twice a
month where it remains in addi-
tion to the new ceremony.
Each night a uniformed ser-
vice member will tell the personal
story of a service member who
lost their life in service of their
Dr Nelson said he had direct-
ed his staff to ensure an even mix
of personnel was represented.
“Every day stories of person-
nel will be told irrespective of
awards or ranks. Apart from spe-
cial occasions, where we have the
opportunity to focus on a particu-
lar event,” he said.
The new ceremony will be
broadcast live each day at 5pm on
the Memorial’s website so those
who cannot visit the Memorial
can still experience the ceremony.
This broadcast is to be
expanded in the future with
additional viewpoints for peo-
ple around the world including
deployed servicemen and women.
Dr Nelson said he was over-
whelmed by the support of the
“The closing ceremony means
much it means to ADF members,”
“We must keep evolving and
if any serviceman or woman has
any suggestions, please don’t hes-
itate to tell me.”
Navy personnel who wish to take part
should contact PO Stuart Tinker at
WOs kickstart new post
WO-N WO Martin
in front of a wall of
poppies at the Roll
of Honour after the
reading at the
Photo: ABIS Kathy Tuddenham
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