UltraHumps: ANZAC Day Abroad

For this article I have decided to stay away from discussing training, not because I haven’t done any training, because I definitely have. This week I would sooner reflect on my attendance at ANZAC Day, along with the rest of New Zealand and Australia commemorating this day. So this week’s article is about my involvement with ANZAC Day whilst currently serving overseas.

As a long serving soldier (as is Coach Ray), we all look forward to ANZAC Day. For me personally it is a time to reflect, to meet up with colleagues both past and present, but more importantly a time to think of those that have gone before us making the supreme sacrifice. Being overseas in a small team environment, we were spread out to cover the commitments we had. I was fortunate enough to represent the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) along with the New Zealand Consulate in a major location, and conduct a reading on behalf of the NZDF (feature photo) and also lay a wreath.

For me personally I was honoured to do so. With a career spanning 36+ years I have lost count how many ANZAC services I have been involved with one way or another overseas. Generally the two countries alternate each year on who has the lead for ANZAC Day. This year it was Australia’s turn and next year will be New Zealand’s turn. This is more in line of which Consulate will be the prime speaker, which country lays their wreath first, etc. Simple protocols, but it allows planning to run smoothly for such events. Being overseas though, the host nation or country we were in commemorating ANZAC Day become fully involved, as they did so in the background on our location.

Of course it doesn’t matter which part of the world you are in, there are always a number of ex-pats and former members of NZDF, particularly Army that fall out of the woodwork and this location was no different. It was great to catch up with a few that have long since left the NZDF and are working in this part of the world.

On reflection, it was a beautiful day, nice and warm as you would expect over here. During the service when I was seated in between parts of my involvement, I found myself thinking of the guys I knew that had been killed in action overseas, or those that have died in New Zealand, particularly on ANZAC Day itself, such as the three crew from the RNZAF helicopter crash in New Zealand a number of years ago, or Staff Sergeant Billy White who died on ANZAC Day whilst serving in East Timor.

ANZAC Day is always a somber moment to reflect and think of these guys who lost their lives. I am sure from above they were all looking down and smiling at the services being conducted not only in New Zealand and Australia, but ANZAC services right across the world.

Time to sign off and return to training.

Regards John Humphries (aka UltraHumps)

Humps will be writing weekly as he continues his journey raising funds for the Fallen Hero’s Trust.

Read Humps’ article from last week here:

All his previous articles are stored here:


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