Media Release: Pilgrimage to “The Prom” to Honour Australian Commandos’ Dedication & Sacrifice


Posted on November 12th, by Bourse Communications in News and Announcements. Comments Off on Media Release: Pilgrimage to “The Prom” to Honour Australian Commandos’ Dedication & Sacrifice

In honour of Australian Commandos, both past and present, the Australian Commando Association (ACA) is proud to announce that it will be conducting the annual Pilgrimage at the Tidal River Commando Memorial Cairn at Wilsons Promontory, the birthplace of the Australian Commandos, on Sunday, 17th November.

A tribute to Australian Commandos’ dedication and sacrifice, and a true testament to the closeness of the Commando family, the Pilgrimage to “The Prom” continues to be supported by the last remaining World War 2 (WW2) Commando veterans and families, the Australian Commando Association Victoria, local communities, Parks Victoria, Special Operations Command and the 1st and 2nd Commando Regiments.

World War 2 Coastwatcher, Ronald “Dixie” Lee, will be making the Pilgrimage this year, paying tribute to his fallen WW2 comrades and those that have since passed.

As Allied military intelligence operatives, Coastwatchers were stationed on the Pacific Islands and used their specialised local knowledge and ability to operate behind enemy lines in order to engage in finding enemy shipping and aircraft and reporting enemy positions.

Having enlisted on his 17th birthday, Dixie’s service of nearly five years as a Navy Coder and Coastwatcher, was recognised in 2017, when he was presented with his Certificate of Appreciation for his WW2 service by Dr Brendon Nelson, AO, Head of the Australian War Memorial on behalf of the Australian Commando Association.

Dixie at a commemorative function July 2018

Another WW2 veteran and Coastwatcher who will be making the trek to the Tidal River Memorial Cairn is Jim Burrowes OAM.

At the age of 18, Jim followed in the footsteps of his brothers, enlisting in the Australian Army. Jim served as a signaller and as a Coastwatcher, earning the 1939-45 Star, Pacific Star, Defence Medal and War Medal 1939-45. Earlier this year Jim also received a letter of thanks from Vice Admiral Michael Joseph Noonan, AO, Chief of Navy.

In 1990, Jim was awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for his volunteer work as a civilian.

Jim is the last surviving Australian Army signaller Coastwatcher

Elizabeth Mackenzie is another WW 2 veteran, who will be making the Pilgrimage to “The Prom”. Serving with Z Special Unit, Elizabeth’s brief was administrative duties, which included providing operatives with their ‘movement orders’.

It was while serving with Z Special Unit that Elizabeth met and married her husband, Lieutenant Gilbert Mackenzie. Having also served with Z Special Unit, Gilbert was involved with experimental jumps as part of a parachute battalion.

Elizabeth and Dixie Lee with LTGEN Angus Campbell, then Chief of Army, now Chief of Defence Forces May 2018

Sharing why the annual Pilgrimage is of such significant importance, Doug Knight, President of the Australian Commando Association Victorian Branch, said:

“Tidal River was the initial training location for Australia’s and New Zealand’s Independent Companies who later became Commandos and served with great courage and distinction throughout the south-west Pacific during World War II.

“Many of these Commandos also went on to join the clandestine organisations within Special Operations Australia, better known as the Allied Intelligence Bureau.  These included the Coastwatchers (M Special), Services Reconnaissance Department (Z Special), the Far East liaison Section (FELO) and several other intelligence related organisations.

“Post war the men from these organisations banded together and created this Memorial in 1966 in memory of all those comrades who failed to return home.  Sadly, there are now an additional 28 names of those who have followed on in the Commando role and given their lives for our country.

“It is for this reason that we make this annual pilgrimage to join with family and friends and to honour their lives and the sacrifices they made.”

The annual Pilgrimage to “The Prom”, the Honour Rolls on the Memorial Cairn, which carry the names of Commandos who made the ultimate sacrifice, from WW2 through each decade to the present day, and the ongoing support and friendship provided to the WW2 Commandos and their families, are a testament to the closeness of the Commando family.

For further information please contact:

Rod North, Managing Director
Bourse Communications Pty Ltd
T: +613 9510 8309, M: +61 408 670 706
E:
[email protected]

About the Australian Commando Association
The Australian Commando Association aims to foster and perpetuate ties of comradeship, between former Australian Commandos of World War 2 Independent Companies/Commando Squadrons and personnel from the numerous components of WW2 Special Operations Australia (SOA) and former members of post-world War 2 Australian Commando and Special Forces Units and serving members who have been /or are on the posted strength of a current, former, unit which has been, or is now part of Special Operations Command (SOCOMD). The Association endeavours to encourage the spirit of loyalty to Australia and to encourage former Commandos to take an active part in matters of national importance, particularly defence.
For more information regarding ACA please visit: https://commando.org.au/.





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