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Salute to South Australia's last WW1 veteran.



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Senator Mark Bishop Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Senator for Western Australia

MEDIA RELEASE

Media Details: Senator Mark Bishop 0419 959 892 or Peter Reece 0414 677 441 Parliament House (02) 6277 3101

2nd August 2002 ref:m&p/30-02

Salute to South Australia’s Last WW1 Veteran

South Australians should all pause a moment today to reflect upon the passing of the State’s last surviving World War One Veteran Albert Whitmore.

In 1917 when Mr Whitmore enlisted in the Lighthorse South Australia was a sparsely populated state, but nevertheless made its contribution to the defence of the Empire, as everyone then knew it.

For all South Australians Albert Whitmore was our last living link with veterans of the First World War. Naturally our thoughts go to his family on this sad day, though they can be truly proud of his commitment.

At the age of 17 he clearly believed he was capable of playing his part. He did so again when he re-enlisted twenty years later to make a contribution to resolving the calamity of World War Two.

Albert Whitmore, like the small and shrinking number of World War One veterans remaining, symbolises the spirit of Australia. As a young South Australian born right at the time of Federation, he must have enlisted with a sense of national duty, and with a commitment to see order restored.

At a time when modern South Australian men are still at school, Albert Whitmore was abroad, doing what he did best, riding on horseback, prepared for the worst, and like all his new found mates, harbouring all the fears of mortality.

In contemplating Mr Whitmore’s life, we can only imagine what his motivation might have been, the hardship he faced, and the suffering as he was shipped home after falling to life threatening malaria. We might marvel too at the way he slipped back into a new way of life, but one in which he retained his commitment to the ex service community - a bond which is common to all those who have served in adversity.

We should remember Albert Whitmore as well as all his mates who have gone before, for what they did, for their bravery, and for their contribution to both South Australia and the nation as a whole. As a fellow South Australian by birth and upbringing I salute him.