Biloela remembers Aussie diggers

LEST WE FORGET: Bilolea RSL sub-branch president Rod SHarpe at the Remembrancer Day Service in Bilolea on Wedensday.
LEST WE FORGET: Bilolea RSL sub-branch president Rod SHarpe at the Remembrancer Day Service in Bilolea on Wedensday.

ROD Sharpe certainly believes we live in the lucky country.

“We are just so damn lucky to have what we have in Australia and it is largely due to the veterans,” the Biloela RSL Sub-branch president said.

Speaking to Central Telegraph after Wednesday’s Remembrance Day service, he urged people to pay homage to all those who have served and paid a price for the country.

“Whether the price was their life, or they were wounded, a POW or just the trauma they go through.

“We as Australians owe so much to our veterans that we can’t put a price on it.”

Mr Sharpe was awarded life membership of the RSL at the Biloela Sub-branch AGM recently.

And the hard working and humble president didn’t see the honour coming.

“I threatened to kill some people,” he joked.

“It was a great surprise to me and is truly an honour.”

A modest Mr Sharpe said he saw it as an award from the sub-branch, where he said he had worked with a great bunch of people for a good cause.

A busy farmer, Mr Sharpe enlisted in the reserves in September 1970, reaching the rank of major in 1984, retiring in 2006.

“I had too much dirt in my bones and love of the land to join the army but the reserves seemed the best compromise.”

He joined the RSL in 1973, joining the committee in 1979 and becoming president in 1996.

Mr Sharpe is also the commanding officer of the 124th army cadet unit for Gladstone/Biloela and loves helping young people.

His passion for the armed forces came from his family history, with his grandfather and uncle serving, and his in-depth reading of Australian war history.

About 100 people attended the Biloela Remembrance Day service, which started as Armistice Day to honour the end of World War I on November 11, 1918, which was signed at 5am but became effective at 11am.

It was changed to Remembrance Day after World War II, and now honours Aussie diggers from all conflicts.


60,000 Australians died in WWI

27,073 killed in WW II

14,345 taken as Prisoners of War in WW II

Malayan emergency saw 51 diggers killed

Korean War – 291 Aussies died

Vietnam – 501 killed

East Timor – 3 paid the ultimate sacrifice.

18,000 Australian diggers have no known grave

100,000 Australians have died in wars in the 20th century.

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