Illawarra soldiers who paid the ultimate price will be honoured in a special ceremonial parade to mark the centenary of the Armistice.
Wollongong City Council has asked soldiers in the 4th/3rd Battalion to exercise their Freedom of Entry to the City on November 17.
The Freedom of Entry is an honour that dates back to medieval times and was granted to military units that earned a city’s trust. Citizens of these cities had the power to refuse entry to armed groups unless the citizens were confident of their own safety.
Read more: Where to attend Remembrance Day services in Illawarra
Lieutenant Colonel David Charlton, who is the commanding officer of the 4th/3rd Battalion, will lead the march of about 150 soldiers from the Cenotaph in MacCabe park up through Globe Lane and down Crown Street where the Wollongong Police commander will allow them to pass.
Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery and NSW Governor General David Hurley will welcome the soldiers into the city.
This is the first time in about 20 years the ceremony has been performed in Wollongong.
“To be a part of the Freedom to Enter the City is a once in a career highlight and a great honour,” Lieutenant Colonel Charlton said.
The parade will be an addition to Remembrance Day commemorations. Lieutenant Colonel Charlton said the centenary of the Armistice was particular special to him because his great great uncle died in 1917 while serving in France during World War I.
“When I started my military career I never conceived I would serve in the same Battalion as my relatives once did,” he said.
“We want to support the Wollongong community in Remembrance Day services.
“Remembrance Day is an important opportunity for soldiers to help residents understand the sacrifice soldiers made during conflicts.
“There are no WWI soldiers still alive and very few WWII so it is particularly important to remember soldiers’ sacrifice because it has shaped how we live today.”
Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery encouraged residents to come out and pay tribute to the “incredible sacrifice” of Australian diggers and the local Battalion which has provided service to Australia’s defence force since 1862.
“Residents will see a traditional military parade through the heart of Wollongong where Battalion members will have their bayonets fixed, colours flying and music playing,” he said.
“The parade is an opportunity to mark the centenary and to recognise the military service of people in our community and region during WWI, other conflicts and peacekeeping operations.”
The 4th/3rd Battalion, The Royal New South Wales Regiment is one of four active Army Reserve Infantry Battalions in the 5th Brigade and maintains its association within The Royal New South Wales Regiment.
4th/3rd Battalion soldiers march in Anzac Day parades, support cadet units and are part of Catafalque parties across the Illawarra region.