1 Nov 2014

NZ troops march to honour WW1 bond

7:55 pm on 1 November 2014

New Zealand troops are taking part in a march through the Western Australian port town of Albany this afternoon as part of First World War commemorations.

Army in Albany

New Zealand Defence Force personnel take part in a troop march through Albany. Photo: RNZ / Craig McCulloch

About 40 New Zealand Defence Force personnel took part in a troop march through the town earlier today, along with their Australian counterparts and representatives from the Japanese and French Navies.

The New Zealand delegation, which included Prime Minister John Key and defence force personnel, took part in the memorial service.

Tens of thousands of people flooded into the town to mark 100 years since New Zealand and Australian troops left for the First World War.

At least 60,000 people, many with personal connections to the men and women who served, were expected to commemorate their sacrifice over the weekend, the ABC reported.

Navy in Albany

Naval personnel take part in the troop march. Photo: RNZ / Craig McCulloch

At the service, Mr Key noted it was a time to consider the costs of war.

"When we gather together to commemorate the ANZACs we mark no single military battle

"We remember the sacrifice of our servicemen and women in many conflicts and campaigns far from home.

"And we reflect soberly on the cost of war."

Australian Minister of Veteran Affairs Senator Michael Ronaldson asked the crowd to pay tribute to not only the New Zealand, and Australian soldiers who sailed 100 years ago, but the ANZAC soldiers who served in subsequent wars.

"To all veterans, both here across Australia and across New Zealand we thank you for your service and the sacrifices you have made for us, and for freedom."

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot said that the first ANZAC expeditionary force sailed into history.

He said that as long as there was an Australia and as long as there was a New Zealand, the ANZACs would be remembered.

"It was sacrifice on a stupendous scale and it was sacrifice that was shared by our neighbour New Zealand.

"Because of it, our countries will always be brothers."

The navy frigate, HMNZS Te Kaha, also joined a flotilla of ships in a symbolic re-enactment of the convoy's departure in 1914.

Earlier today, Mr Key said the ANZAC spirit, which was forged at Albany, was as strong today as it was back then.

"I always think of Australia as our number one friend and partner. We share amazing experiences with Australia, everything from the battlefield to the sportsfield, and it's a very important relationship from our point of view."

John Key in Albany

John Key talks to New Zealand military personnel in Albany. Photo: RNZ / Craig McCulloch

Mr Abbott, said the event established an everlasting bond between Australia and New Zealand.

"We go on together as brother countries, and we have many challenges today and tomorrow, just as we had challenges 100 years ago, but Australia and New Zealand, as always, face the future together."

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