Western Suburbs Weekly - - Front Page -

AUS­TRALIA Day starts with a bang when the youngest com­man­der of the Royal Western Aus­tralia Reg­i­ment’s 3rd Light Bat­tery Ma­jor Jack­son Thomp­son (29) leads a 21-shot ar­tillery salute to El­iz­a­beth II from Kings Park at noon this Thurs­day.

“Aus­tralia Day is a cel­e­bra­tion and a re­mem­brance about what it is to be Aus­tralian, what any in­di­vid­ual be­lieves, and this cer­e­mony is one as­pect of that,” Maj Thomp­son said.

The Leed­erville ac­coun­tant is a re­serve of­fi­cer cur­rently study­ing a Masters of En­gi­neer­ing, and his Ir­win Bar­racks, Kar­rakatta-based unit of about 45 sol­diers op­er­ates 81mm mor­tars in com­bat and 105mm ar­tillery guns at cer­e­monies.

This will be Maj Thomp­son’s first cer­e­mony in com­mand of the big guns, each op­er­ated by a four-soldier de­tach­ment.

“It’s a great po­si­tion to be able to ex­er­cise the skills the army has given me, and I have de­vel­oped my­self a lot ear­lier than I would have had in my civil­ian job,” Maj Thomp­son said.

He said ar­tillery salutes dated from the times of gun­pow­der, when it was re­garded as an hon­our for dig­ni­taries to be al­lowed to ap­proach the weapons that car­ried the seal of a monarch, and were known as the “kings” of bat­tle­fields.

The Aus­tralia Day salute is the army’s first pub­lic event for 2017’s An­zac her­itage and na­tional com­mem­o­ra­tions, that will in­clude the Cen­te­nary of An­zac and 100 years since the bat­tles of Bul­le­court, Messines, Poly­gon Wood and Ypres in France dur­ing World War I, and the mounted charge by light horse at Beer­sheba in the Mid­dle East.

Across the western sub­urbs, civil­ian Aus­tralia Day cel­e­bra­tions will in­clude cit­i­zen­ship cer­e­monies, and awards for coun­cils’ cit­i­zens of the year.

Aus­tralia Day am­bas­sador and for­mer Fre­man­tle Dock­ers cap­tain Matthew Pavlich will join the joint Cottes­loe, Mos­man Park and Pep­per­mint Grove coun­cils’ cer­e­mony at the Cottes­loe Civic Cen­tre lawns, Broome Street from 8am.

A free bar­be­cue break­fast will be served.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie d464330

Ma­jor Jack­son Thomp­son is the youngest com­man­der of the Royal Western Aus­tralia Reg­i­ment’s 3rd Light Bat­tery.

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