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... as we that are left grow old [New South Wales]

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Media ReleaseThe Hon Bruce Scott MP Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Federal M e rrie r tor M aranoa143/98 6 November 1998... As We That Are Left Grow Old [New South Wales]As New South Wales’ 19 surviving World War I veterans remember their fallen comrades on Remembrance Day, all New South Welshmen are encouraged to take a minute to honour the sacrifice of Australians who have died while serving their country.This Remembrance Day - Wednesday 11 November - marks the 80th anniversary of the end of World War I, a conflict which saw 416,000 Australians volunteer for service. Of these 324,000 served overseas. Two-thirds suffered casualties and more than 60,000 Australians never came home.Australia’s surviving veterans remember the horror of war all too vividly. New South Wales Digger Frederick Kelly joined the 8th Reinforcements, 1st Battalion serving at Gallipoli. Later he served with the 53rd Battalion and subsequently with the 14th Machine Gun Company in Francewhere he fought at Fromelles and Bullecourt. Towards the end of the war he served with the 5th Machine Gun Battalion on the Somme.It was while he was on the Hindenburg Line that a shell burst nearby and gave Mr Kelly his closest brush with death."A shell burst about 50 yards in front of me and a lump of stuff came and hit me fair in the chest. I looked down at my feet and there was a great clod of earth. About six weeks afterwards, we had a gas mask inspection so I took my mask out and the centre of it was as flat as a pancake - it took all the blow," he recalls.Mr Kelly, now aged 101, never dwelt on the possibility of dying in the trenches. "Well, somebody’s got to get through this and go home. Why shouldn’t I be one of them? I’ve said that to myself often."Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Bmce Scott, is urging all Australians on this Remembrance Day to remember the price of war - the sacrifice of 102,807 Australians who have died fighting for their country during the past century."Their courage and sacrifice is part of our heritage. The simple gesture of observing a minute’s silence at 11 a.m. on 11 November will ensure that heritage continues to be treasured," Mr Scott said.EndsAttention News Editor: New South Wales’ World War I Diggers are James Armitage, Ernest Brainwood, Samuel Claydon, Herbert Hollingsworth, Robert Honey, Kenneth Jessop-Smith, Frank Johnson, Fred Kelly, Charles Killick, Charles Mance, Ernest Peddell, Francis Redman, John Rodger, Harold Rosser and Albert Tull. Allied veterans living in New South Wales’ are Andrew Bowie, Paul Fischer and Ernie Sanders.The national Remembrance Day Ceremony at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra will be broadcast on ABC Television and Radio. 09/11/1998

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Media Contact:

Gary Kent (Ministerial): 02 6277 7820 or 0419 854 211

Phil Diak (Departmental): 02 6289 6578 or 0411 107 261 09/11/1998