A BAYSWATER Army Reserve soldier left for France and Belgium last week to honour those who fought in the battles of Fromelles and Pozieres a century ago.
Lieutenant Matt Papalia (24), a Rifle Platoon Commander in 16th Battalion, has been a reservist for six years and was one of 14 WA Army Reserve soldiers to travel to France and Belgium for centenary commemorations.
The Murdoch University post-graduate law student’s great-grandfather fought in World War I.
Lt Papalia will carry 16th battalion unit colours during ceremonies – the WA battalion fought at Pozieres and was awarded the battle honour now displayed on its colours.
“It is an opportunity that happens once in a lifetime to properly honour those who gave their lives in defence of Australia on the Western Front during World War I,” he said.
The battalion was honoured for some of the most significant actions carried out by Australian forces during both world wars.
Pozieres village was captured by Australians on July 23, 1916 and defended against German counter-attacks.
Lt Papalia will also honour his battalion’s first Victoria Cross winner Sergeant Martin O’Meara who rescued wounded soldiers in Pozieres in August 1916.