It's a time to remember all Australians who fought in ALL the wars/conflicts we have been involved in :
In March of 1885 a contingent of 522 men from the New South Wales colony set sail to support the British in the Sudan. This was the first time that Australian troops were sent abroad in the pay of a self-governing Australian colony.
The 2nd Anglo-Boer War 1899-1901. At that time this was the largest war Australia had participated in (although it would soon be overshadowed). When conflict broke out between the British and Dutch-Afrikaners (Boers) in South Africa, Australia, as part of the British Empire, contributed military forces to fight against the Boers. 12000 Australian men volunteered to fight as members of various Australian military contingents and about 600 Australians died in this war.
The Chinese Boxer Rebellion 1900-01 Australia sent mostly naval contingents to help in the capture of coastal fortifications. However by the time the Australians arrived most of the heaviest fighting was over and the Australians were relegated to guard duties and the formation of firing squads to execute boxer rebels.
First World War 1914-18 also known as the Great War. This war changed Australian society, at this time Australia had a population of less than 5 million people, yet almost 500 000 men fought in the war. This meant that out of the Commonwealth nations Australia had the highest contribution of men as a proportion of population. Also Australia was the only army to be made up completely of volunteers. Australia saw action in all theatres, on land at sea and in the air. More than 60 000 Australians were killed and more than 156 000 were wounded or taken prisoner.
Bolshevik Revolution 1919 - No Australian units were directly involved in the Russian Revolution, however a large number of Australian soldiers were in Britain awaiting repatriation back to Australia after World War 1. During this time a large number of them volunteered to join the British Army relief force being sent to Northern Russia to fight against the Bolsheviks. Two Australians were awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery during this conflict.
Egyptian Rebellion 1919 - Australian Light-horse units were still in Egypt at the end of their First World War campaigns when a wide spread and organised revolt broke out against the British. Australian soldiers were used along with their New Zealand and British counterparts to restore order.
Spanish Civil War 1936-39. Australia had no official involvement in this war; however a number of Australian men and women travelled to Europe and enlisted in the English-speaking International brigades that fought in the Spanish Civil War.
Second World War 1939-45 - Almost 1 million Australian men and women served in the Second World War, they fought against the Germans, Italians and Vichy French in Europe, the Mediterranean and North Africa and against the Japanese in South East Asia. 39 000 Australians were killed in this war and for the first time the Australian mainland came under attack. The Japanese bombed the city of Darwin and Submarine attacks were made against Sydney Harbour.
British Commonwealth Occupation Force in Japan 1946-51 - This was the first time Australia was involved in the occupation of a sovereign nation that it had defeated in war. The BCOF was formed at the end of the Second World War to occupy Japan and enforce the conditions of their unconditional surrender. The BCOF worked along side of forces from the USA and was made up of a number of Commonwealth countries including the UK, New Zealand, India and Australia. 16 000 Australians served in this force.
UN Peacekeeping Dutch East Indies 1947 - Australia contributed military observers as part of a UN force to supervise ceasefire agreements between the Netherlands and Indonesian forces fighting for independence.
Berlin Airlift 1948-49 - Royal Australian Air Force provided transport squadrons to assist in the resupply of Berlin which was being isolated and starved by the communist government of the USSR. Along with British, American, French and other allied nations the RAAF crews transported thousands of people and millions of pounds of freight.
United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan 1950-85 - Australia contributed military cease fire observers during this operation.
Korean War 1950-53 - More than 17 000 Australians served in the Korean War as part of a multinational force to fight against the Communist North Korean and Chinese forces. Almost 2000 Australians were killed or wounded.
Malayan Emergency 1950-60 - Communist guerrillas were threatening the stability of Malaya which was a South East Asian country newly independent from Britain. Britain and Australia carried out offensive actions against the Communist forces that included bombing from the air and jungle warfare. 39 Australians were killed and 27 were wounded in this conflict. Australia continued to maintain a military presence in Malaysia for some decades after this conflict.
United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation 1956-Present - Australia has provided a total of 13 military observers to supervise ceasefire between Israel and it's neighbours. One Australian has been killed on this operation when his vehicle struck a mine.
Vietnam War 1962-72 - At the request of the government of South Vietnam and the USA, Australia contributed military forces to assist the Republic of South Vietnam against the Communist forces of North Vietnam. Initially Australia contributed a small but elite group of about 30 military advisors; however Australia's involvement increased dramatically. Over the ten years of Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War around 60 000 Australians served, and around 8 000 Australians were in Vietnam at any time. 520 Australians were killed and 2400 were wounded.
Commonwealth Monitoring Force Zimbabwe (Rhodesia) 1979-80 - Australia contributed 150 military personnel involved in protecting refugees and monitoring government and rebel troops. Other commonwealth nations included the UK, New Zealand, Fiji and Kenya.
Commonwealth Military Training Team in Uganda 1982-84 - After the overthrow of the dictator Idi Amin the Commonwealth Training Team was sent to help train and discipline Uganda's army, Australia sent a total of 20 military training personnel over a period of two years.
United Nations Iraq-Iran Military Observer Group 1988-90 - Australia contributed 15 military observers over a 2 year period to supervise ceasefire between Iraq and Iran, the observers were based in Iran.
United Nations Transition Assistance Group 1989-90 - Australia contributed to a multinational force to assist the transition of the newly independent nation of Namibia. Australia sent a force of 300 military engineers who were involved in landmine clearance, construction of roads, airfields, schools and other infrastructure.
Gulf War 1990-91 - Following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, Australia joined the multinational taskforce that with the support of the UN Security Council liberated Kuwait. The Royal Australian Navy sent 8 warships to the Persian Gulf to support coalition operations, a small number of military intelligence officers, nursing and medical personnel were also deployed. No Australian casualties were suffered during this conflict.
United Nations Mission & Transitional Authority in Cambodia 1991-93 - Australia contributed over 500 troops involved in maintaining ceasefire, supervising elections and providing transport and communications.
Unified Task Force in Somalia 1992-93 - Australian Army, Navy and Air Force personnel took part in a multinational operation to restore order and protect the delivery or humanitarian aid in Somalia, more than 1100 Australians served in this operation. There were some engagements between Australian infantry and Somali gunmen resulting in a number of Somali gunmen killed, wounded and captured. 1 Australian died in this operation as a result of an accidental gunshot wound.
East Timor 1999-Present - Indonesia agreed to allow East Timorese to have a referendum on their freedom after more than 20 years of brutal Indonesian occupation. The people of East Timor unanimously wanted independence and so fighting broke out between pro-Indonesian militia groups (supported by the Indonesian military) and pro-independence groups. Indonesian military burned buildings and atrocities were committed. Australia led and international force to restore order and assist the new nation of East Timor. More than 5000 Australian Defence Force personnel have served in what was the largest movement of Australian military personnel since Vietnam. 2 Australian soldiers have died while on duty in East Timor.
Operation Enduring Freedom Afghanistan 2001-Present. Following the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks on the USA, Australia invoked the ANZUS treaty to support its ally the USA in the war against the terrorists supported by the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Australia has committed around 500 Special Forces troops, infantry and engineers along with air to air refuelling aircraft, F/A-18 fighters, Navy Frigates and Orion Electronic Intelligence Gathering aircraft.
Invasion of Iraq 2003-Present - Australia was one of only four nations to commit combat troops to the US led invasion of Iraq. Australia has committed Naval, Air Force, Infantry, Medical and Special Forces resources to Iraq and continues to be part of the occupation force there.
They are all heroes. Lest we forget..