Beeliar’s Kate Marshall to tour Europe during armistice centenary commemorations

Kate Marshall. Photo: David Baylis. d487050 communitypix.com.au.
Kate Marshall. Photo: David Baylis. d487050 communitypix.com.au.

LIKE most Australians, Kate Marshall is far removed from the horrors of World War I.

But next month the 25-year-old Beeliar resident will get a deeper understanding of the sacrifices more than 400,000 Australians made on the front line as one of just eight West Australians selected to tour Belgium and France to commemorate 100 years since the end of the war.

During the 10-day tour the group will visit French and Belgian battlefields and attend a Remembrance Day ceremony at the Villers-Bretonneux Australian War Memorial.

Ms Marshall has a personal connection to the ground the Australian memorial sits on, with great-great uncles Corporal Augustus Pegg Farmer and Private Larry Farmer killed at Villers-Bretonneux.

Identifying as Noongar, she said she hoped her participation in the tour would help her learn more about the Aboriginal servicemen who fought to protect their country.

“I’m really hoping to have a better understanding of Australian and Indigenous Australian sacrifices during World War I and to develop a better understanding of what they went through,” she said.

“Their sacrifices is what enables us, as Australians, to live the way we do now and to have the opportunity to say thank you is a really special occasion.

“I’m excited to see all of the sights in France and Belgium but I think the part I’m most excited is the actual Centenary of the Armistice on November 11 because it’s being held at Villers-Bretonneux and I have time set aside to visit my uncles’ graves.”

WA Premier Mark McGowan said it was important for today’s young West Australians to remember the sacrifices made during World War I.

“The First World War killed and maimed more Australians than any other conflict, about 61,500 Australians died including 7,000 Western Australians,” he said.

“It’s important that we remember and honour their sacrifice.”