‘While Anzac Day commemorates Australians and what we started from, after coming together under one flag, Remembrance Day is the day we take account for all those guys we lost,’ he said.
Sergeant P’s overseas deployments culminated in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan in 2011 that left him with severe back injuries. Before his army career, he was supported by the charity Legacy, after his father died from World War II wounds nearly 30 years after that conflict.
‘Legacy are ex-soldiers, so if they knock on the door of that family who has lost someone, they understand,’ he said.
Of the 41 Australians killed and 256 wounded in 11 years of the Afghanistan conflict, 20 were from the Special Operations Task Group comprising mainly commando regiments and the SASR.
Sgt ‘P’ has been the liaison between families and the army after several of the deaths and said he wanted the public to remember the men’s significance was often greater than their army service.
‘These people who die, they are more than soldiers, they are sons, a father, a brother,’ he said.
However, not all his memories are tragic and he fondly remembers guarding a commemorative service after a gunfire breakfast he organised in Afghanistan in 2010.
Legacy can use some of the funds raised by the RSL’s Remembrance Day poppy sales, which recognise the flowers that bloomed on French battlefields after World War I ended at 11am, November 11, 1918.
Legacy changed its constitution to help all military family members last year.
‘Because by helping the families, we are helping the veteran,’ Perth Legacy President Ray Ward said.