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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, April 21) – Thousands of people are expected to rise from bed early on Sunday morning to offer a Papua New Guinean salute to the Anzac legend.

The dawn service at the Bomana war cemetery drew a bumper crowd last year and is expected to be even bigger this year.

It starts at 5.30am sharp, say organizers.

Mark Bainbrigge, president of the Port Moresby sub-branch of the Returned and Services League of Australia, is confident there will be a big turn-up this time.

Similar services are expected to be held at Lae, Madang, Rabaul, Alotau, Kimbe, Popondetta and Goroka. 

This year’s theme is centered on the fighting in Papua New Guinea during World War II and the sacrifices of many young soldiers of all nationalities in and around the Kokoda Track.

To many, Anzac Day means the protracted battle for survival on the shores of Gallipoli in Turkey during World War I.

Mr Bainbrigge said yesterday: "The terrible events at Gallipoli will not be forgotten and will be included in the service, as will a special homage to unknown soldiers who died in PNG.’’

Bomana cemetery is the final resting place for two Australian soldiers who won the highest award for gallantry for Australia, Britain and New Zealand — the Victoria Cross. They were Corporal John French and Private Bruce Kingsbury.

"The yearly event at Bomana is creating huge interest with a number of trekkers ending their trek along the track at the dawn service. Numbers last year were estimated at 1000 with more expected this year,’’ he said.

The service will be covered by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and amateur radio that will broadcast live from the cemetery.

Mr Bainbrigge praised the commitment of the Australian Defense Force in PNG, Colonel Dougall McMillan and the staff.

April 22, 2004

Papua New Guinea Post-Courier:


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