I produced a photo-essay on some of the commemoration activities on ANZAC Day (25 April) in Sydney, Australia.
As parade marches continued through the streets of Sydney’s Central Business District, I departed from the crowds, and I wandered over to Martin Place. An elderly man with a green suit jacket, green tie, and a green beret was describing the Commando Memorial to a number of visitors to the city.
I had the great fortune of meeting Ken Curran, Australian Army Commando and Military Unarmed Combat (MUC) Instructor.
For about thirty minutes, we sat and talked. I asked him about his service in the Australian forces, and I told him about how our focus in Canada is on Remembrance Day (11 November). On this late-April day, he remarked how bright, warm, and sunny the mid-autumn weather, very different from colder wetter ANZAC Days in years past. But he was quick to mention he had served in places much hotter and more humid: he had no complaints.
Kenneth Roy Curran was born on the 9th of September 1925 in Waverley, New South Wales (NSW), Australia. He joined the army at age 18 in 1943; by 19, he was eligible to serve overseas, and transferred from Infantry to Commandos. By the end of World War 2, he would serve in Moratai (Indonesia); Labuan, British Borneo (Malaysia); and Rabaul (Papua New Guinea). He returned to civilian life and among a number of jobs, he worked in the NSW police force and the NSW railway. He reenlisted into the Citizens’ Military Forces (precursor to the Reserves) in 1955, and stayed until his retirement from the military in 1975.
In two decades with the 1 Commando Company, he directed annual MUC training for his unit and other military personnel. He also began to train police including members of the NSW Tactical Response Group, and members of the NSW Corrective Services, Australian Protective Services, and Sheriff’s Department.
Curran was awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in official recognition of his expertise and services related to MUC training activities within the military, and for service to the public community.
After retiring from the military, he continued to conduct self-defence and training courses for security companies. Even at the age of 85, he carried out training for security officers and taught personal self-defence techniques to the general public. At 87 (2013), he admitted he’d slowed down some. But we agreed there was still a lot of life to live, and there were many lessons for him to teach. Ultimately, he was happy, if not relieved, most Australian children today did not have to experience first-hand the deprivations and ravages of war.
More details of Ken Curran’s biography are found here.
Martin Place can be reached by train with stops at Martin Place, St. James, or Wynyard stations. At Martin Place, the Cenotaph is located at the west end (George Street), and the Commando Memorial is found at the east end (Macquarie Street).
I made the photos above on ANZAC Day (25 April) in 2013. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-3i5.