THE Anzac Day service at Wangaratta Memorial Park included a more maritime appeal this year, thanks to an inspired speech from the highly decorated Commodore Robert Elliott, CSC.
While yesterday marked the 98th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing, it also marked the centenary of the formation of the Royal Australian Navy, an occasion which prompted reflection on its importance.
Addressing a packed crowd of about 3000 who turned out to pay their respects, Cdre Elliott praised the strong culture of the navy, which he said was built from numerous acts of gallantry such as that displayed by the crew of HMAS Yarra.
Cdre Elliott told the story of HMAS Yarra, which the Japanese attacked and sunk on March 4, 1942, while trying to protect ships withdrawing to Australia.
“The captain manoeuvred the ship in the direct line of fire to give others protection,” he said.
“The ship and crew showed extraordinary courage in the face of a superior enemy.
“Of the 151 who served on that ship, only 13 survived.”