Camp Gallipoli honours sacrifice of all fallen soldiers

The parents of Cameron Baird, the Special Forces Commando killed in action in Afghanistan last year, were accepted the Victoria Cross on his behalf from Governor-General Quentin Bryce.

Remembering the fallen ... Australian RSL Presidents and Representatives pictured here at the Australian War Memorial. Picture: Irene DowdySource: Supplied

Doug Baird’s son Cameron was killed in action in Afghanistan, so he understands better than most just how important it is to honour the sacrifice of the fallen from all wars.

Corporal Baird was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross for Australia for his valour on the battle field in June 2013 and his father is determined that his son’s memory and courage, and the courage of his mates in the 2nd Commando Regiment, will be used for the good of the nation.

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Fallen soldier ... Cameron Baird was the last digger killed in Afghanistan. He received a posthumous VC earlier this year. Picture: SuppliedSource: News Corp Australia

Mr Baird joined Afghanistan VC recipients Corporal Dan Keighran and Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith at the Australian War Memorial yesterday to hand over the RSL’s ANZAC flame for its final journey to towns and cities representing the Camp Gallipoli Foundation.

The flame began its national journey when it was lit by Corporal Keighran in Albany WA in September last year.

It symbolises the journey of the ANZAC Spirit that was forged at Gallipoli almost 100 years ago and is still alive today.

The flame will arrive at Camp Gallipoli events to ignite memorial cauldrons to honour the memories of those who fell at Gallipoli and all fallen Australians.

Taking part ... Corporal Ben Roberts Smith VC holds the Anzac Flame. Picture: Supplied.Source: News Corp Australia

Camp Gallipoli is a not for profit organisation sponsoring “ANZAC” sleep outs around the nation on the night of April 24 so people can immerse themselves in the ANZAC legacy.

Any funds raised will go to Legacy and the RSL.

Mr Baird told News Corp Australia that his family was proud to support Camp Gallipoli and its aim of educating Australians about the spirit of ANZAC.

“Cameron was very keen on educating Australians about their military history so it is a nice fit for everyone,” Mr Baird said.

Corporal Baird was awarded the VC after he was killed on his third attempt to silence an enemy gun position.

Banded together ... (L-R) Doug Baird, Brendan Nelson, Ben Roberts-Smith VC, Chris Fox, Daniel Keighran VC pictured here at the Australian War Memorial. Picture: Irene DowdySource: Supplied

“For a third time, Corporal Baird selflessly drew enemy fire away from his team and assaulted the doorway. Enemy fire was seen to strike the ground and compound walls around Corporal Baird, before visibility was obscured by dust and smoke. In this third attempt, the enemy was neutralised and the advantage was regained, but Corporal Baird was killed in the effort,” his citation reads.

Mr Baird said it was very important for Australians to commemorate the sacrifice of their military personnel.

“That sacrifice has never been in vain and we live in one of the best country’s in the world because we have people who are prepared to lay their lives down for our future,” he said.

“They are the back bone of why we live in such a wonderful place.”

Honouring the fallen ... The Australian Federation Guard pictured at the Australian War Memorial. Picture: Irene DowdySource: Supplied

National President of the RSL retired Rear Admiral Ken Doolan said the League was honoured to be involved with Camp Gallipoli.

“Camp Gallipoli is a once in a lifetime opportunity for all Australians and New Zealanders to come together on the 100th Anniversary of Gallipoli to sleep out under the same stars as the original ANZAC heroes did 100 years ago,” Admiral Doolan said.

Chief executive of Camp Gallipoli Chris Fox said the centenary of ANZAC was an appropriate date to pay respects to the sacrifice of all defence personnel who have served.

“We recognise the uniqueness of the Australian and New Zealand spirit of unconditional mateship. We feel this was forged at Gallipoli in 1915 where race, background and status meant little and mateship, trust and honour meant everything.”

Camp Gallipoli tickets are on sale now until April 10th through Ticketek: www.ticketek.com.au