15 heroes who embody Anzac spirit
A SOLDIER in the Somme who threw himself on a shell to save comrades, the Afghanistan commando awarded a Victoria Cross, and a nurse gunned down by the Japanese after refusing to abandon her patients.
These are just three of our servicemen and women who most embody the spirit of Anzac, according to military historians.
Dr Meleah Hampton, Dr Ian Hodges and Dr Michael McKernan have compiled a list of 15 Anzacs who displayed qualities like bravery, unity and loyalty - to name just three - which comprise the Hall of Memory in the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
The historians’ choices span all conflicts, from the First World War, through to Rwanda and Afghanistan, and all ranks and positions from the Australian Imperial Force to the Australian Defence Force.
Cpl Cameron Baird: Joined commandos, serving in East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan. Baird was killed by enemy fire while charging an insurgent stronghold in 2013 and was recognised with a Victoria Cross in 2014.
Cpl John Metson: Posted to Port Moresby in 1942 where he was shot in the ankle and unable to walk. Refusing to let the weakened stretcher-bearers carry him, Metson crawled on hands and knees for three weeks “in silent agony”. He was executed by the Japanese while sheltering in the village of Sangai.
Pvt Thomas Whyte: Volunteered as a rower at the Gallipoli landing, often described as the most dangerous position for those involved in the landing. He wrote to his fiancee Ellen on April 24, in the case of his death.
Sgt David Emmett Coyne: Threw himself on a bomb in the trenches of Corbie, yelling “here goes” as he did.
Sr Irene Drummond: Gunned down by the Japanese at Banka Island in 1942 after she and 21 fellow nurses escaped a shipwreck to the island.
Capt Carol Vaughan-Evans: Coordinated the casualty clearing station of the 1995 civilian Rwandan Kibeho massacre. Captain Vaughan-Evans remained cool and decisive in her role, despite hostile gunfire and exhaustion.
Survivors of HMAS Armidale: Ship sunk by the Japanese in December 1942, but the surviving crew united to build a means of escape - including floating an old whaler and constructing a raft out of debris.
WO Class II Kevin Wheatley: Faced certain death when he refused to leave his mate, Ronald Swanton, who had been shot while operating in Tra Bong. Wheatley lay in wait for the Viet Cong, who killed the pair.
Lt Frank McNamara: Wounded on March 20, 1917, but saw a comrade shot down and a strong force of Turks making their way to the crash site. McNamara rescued the man despite his own serious wound, and brought him to safety.
Cpl Ernest Corey: A stretcher-bearer who rescued injured men from the Western Front, received the Military Medal on four occasions.
Lt Col Ralph Hyacinth Honner: In charge of the 39th battalion, Honner transformed a demoralised unit into a fighting force.
Os Edward Sheean: Went down with the HMAS Armidale, strapped to his gun, wounded and refusing to abandon ship, firing at Japanese planes until he was pulled down with the ship.
CH Maj William McKenzie: The Scottish-born Salvation Army chaplain spent ensured soldiers’ wellbeing was prioritised while working in Gallipoli and the Western Front.
Cpl Ernest Albert Corey: “Four Military Medals, never before or since equalled.”
Lt-Col Vivian Bullwinkel: Only survivor of the Bangka Island massacre. Shot in the throat and lay as if dead, surrounded by her murdered nursing colleagues. She was taken into captivity for a further three years and when the war ended, returned to nursing.
BRAVERY: Vivian Bullwinkel (third from left), matron of Fairfield Hospital, was the sole survivor of the Banku Island massacre of Australian nurses in 1942.