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   Feb 21

Day of recognition for local service men and women

Day of recognition for local service men and women Day of recognition: 67th Anniversary Reserve Forces Day march in Civic Park, Newcastle. Picture: Marina Neil
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Day of recognition: 67th Anniversary Reserve Forces Day march in Civic Park, Newcastle. Picture: Marina Neil

Day of recognition: 67th Anniversary Reserve Forces Day march in Civic Park, Newcastle. Picture: Marina Neil

Day of recognition: 67th Anniversary Reserve Forces Day march in Civic Park, Newcastle. Picture: Marina Neil

Day of recognition: 67th Anniversary Reserve Forces Day march in Civic Park, Newcastle. Picture: Marina Neil

Day of recognition: 67th Anniversary Reserve Forces Day march in Civic Park, Newcastle. Picture: Marina Neil

Day of recognition: 67th Anniversary Reserve Forces Day march in Civic Park, Newcastle. Picture: Marina Neil

Day of recognition: 67th Anniversary Reserve Forces Day march in Civic Park, Newcastle. Picture: Marina Neil

Day of recognition: 67th Anniversary Reserve Forces Day march in Civic Park, Newcastle. Picture: Marina Neil

Day of recognition: 67th Anniversary Reserve Forces Day march in Civic Park, Newcastle. Picture: Marina Neil

Day of recognition: 67th Anniversary Reserve Forces Day march in Civic Park, Newcastle. Picture: Marina Neil

Day of recognition: 67th Anniversary Reserve Forces Day march in Civic Park, Newcastle. Picture: Marina Neil

Day of recognition: 67th Anniversary Reserve Forces Day march in Civic Park, Newcastle. Picture: Marina Neil

TweetFacebookIT IS the recognition they richly deserve.

On Saturday, hundreds of service men and women from across the army, navy and air force marched on Civic Park as part of the 2015 Reserve Day March.

The march, which was addressed by Tim Fischer, the chairman of the Australian Reserve Forces Council and former deputy-prime minister, has run in cities across the country since 1988, and attempts to raise the profile of reservists.

Marching beside the reservists on Saturday were the 14 members of the Hunter-based Australian Armed Forced Re-enactment Heritage Unit, who will, next month, travel to Malaysia to mark the 70th anniversary of the infamous Sandakan death march.

Secretary Richard Kieida was part of the 60th anniversary ceremony in Malaysia in 2005, and said it was an honour to be invited back for the 70th anniversary ceremony on August 15.

He said the Sandakan Death March was the “single worst recorded atrocity against Australia soldiers” during World War II.

In late 1944, as the allied forces advanced, the Japanese sent 2000 Australian and British prisoners on a 260 kilometre journey along jungle tracks to Ranau.

The prisoners were weak and sick, and many died on the way.

Residents who were caught helping the prisoners were tortured and killed, but Mr Kieida said the Sandakan people “risked their lives to provide food, water and intelligence” for the soldiers trapped in prisoner of war camps.

Two prisoners of war who survived the death camp will return to Sandakan for the event.

“We feel that this campaign is a significant part of Australian’s military history, but it is a campaign that is seldom spoken about and does not receive the same level of public recognition as other events, such as Gallipoli,” Mr Kieida said.

The unit, which numbered 54 when it was founded in 1995, conducts ceremonial duties during war anniversaries and Anzac Day services when the Australian Defence Force or cadet units cannot participate.

It operates to make sure the sacrifices Australian soldiers made are always remembered.

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