ANZAC Day parades continue to march through the streets of Sydney’s Central Business District, but I depart from the crowds and wander over to Martin Place. Dressed in a green suit jacket, green tie, and a green beret, an elderly gentleman is describing the Commando Memorial to a number of curious visitors.
I have the great fortune of meeting Ken Curran, Australian Army Commando and Military Unarmed Combat (MUC) Instructor.
For about thirty minutes, we sit and talk. I ask him about his service in the Australian forces, and I tell him about how in Canada the annual commemoration occurs Remembrance Day on 11 November. On this late-April day, he remarks how bright, warm, and sunny the mid-autumn weather, very different from colder wetter ANZAC Days in years past. But he is quick to mention he has served in places much hotter and more humid: he has no complaints today.
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.
In 2006, 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 (see also the 2006 media notes in PDF here).
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 the age of 87 (2013), he admits he has slowed down some. But we agree there is still a lot of life to live, and there are many lessons for him to teach. Ultimately, he is happy and relieved that most young Australians today do not have to experience first-hand the deprivations and ravages of war.
Martin Place can be reached by train with stops at Martin Place, St. James, or Wynyard stations. At Martin Place, the Commando Memorial is found at the plaza’s east end by Macquarie Street, and the Sydney Cenotaph is located at the plaza’s west end by George Street.
I produced a photo-essay on some of the ANZAC Day (25 April) commemoration activities in Sydney, Australia.
I made the photos above on ANZAC Day 2013. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-3i5.