Page 120 - The Chapka 2016
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  the cobblestone pavement of a little town named Ypres. We slowly roamed the historic streets of Ypres and had a quick din- ner before a long next day. Reveille was at 0600 and we ran out of our beds in excitement, ready for a historical and significant day ahead of us. ‘Platoon Experience’ was on everyone’s mind as we quietly ate breakfast. Hopping on the coach we had a short drive down the street to our destination where we would eventu- ally follow in the footsteps of ANZAC soldiers a century ago. Be- fore the platoon experience, we were introduced to a vast array of historical knowledge and observed primary remnants of the great war. As we trudged down to a small supply hut, we were issued our equipment and began to change into our historical cams. We were given a .303 rifle and a gas mask and ordered to “Form up!” after eating some corn beef. We marched down a gravel plagued road, singing Waltzing Matilda with our .303’s slung to our shoulders. We were now following in the footsteps of the ANZAC’s, learning and contemplating each step, judging how it would have been like for these young men hundreds of years ago in battle. After some gas attack drills, fire and move- ment and grenade throwing, we finally reached our destination of the Tyne Cot memorial. We payed our respects to the fallen and conducted a memorial service. We changed back into our ci- vilian clothing and ate dinner at a restaurant, sharing our unique experiences of the day. Later that night, we attended a ceremony at the Menin Gate in our ceremonial uniforms in front of a large crowd.
The day after, we traveled back to France to the Somme and travelled to a number of memorial sites in which we paid our re- spects. This was an extremely emotional experience, and touched our hearts greatly.
After we returned to London, we had a couple of days to site see and do what we wanted around the city, which was a great time for pictures and shopping. On the tenth day we traveled to the Defence Academy, Shrivenham where we were greeted by an Australian army officer who works there. We interacted with an array of tanks, climbing and sliding through these historical tanks and armored vehicles. Being close up and personal with such machines was an extremely rare opportunity for us and was by far one of the highlights of the trip. We also walked into a room containing every single gun in history and they were all functional. Our eyes lit up and we were truly ‘gobsmacked’ by the array of ‘awesomeness’. We interacted with an abundance of
weapons and tanks, including an attack helicopter, a truly mem- orable experience.
The following days included a trip to Windsor Castle, the Tower of London and more free days to sight see and explore. We ended with a formal dinner which included a kangaroo court, many sto- ries from the trip and an appreciation of what we had achieved and done from our two weeks. On the flight back home we were sad that we were leaving our newly acquainted friends and a unique and great trip, however we had achieved new life lessons, new friends and experienced once in a life time opportunities.
CDTSGT Joel Scaramella 203 ACU Parramatta Lancer Barracks
“Stand To!”
 Ypres – Menin Gate

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