Malaysia has handed over the 32 Australian soldiers’ remains to Australia after 4 decades. The soldiers were killed during the Vietnam War. The Australian authorities stated that it is the biggest repatriation of the country.
As per IBT, the 32 Australian soldiers’ remains were handed over in a repatriation ceremony held at Subang military airbase. The coffins of the soldiers were draped in the Australian flag. The remains were entombed for decades at Terendak Military Cemetery. There were two Royal Australian Air Force military aircraft to fly the soldiers to their final resting place.
Among the dead soldiers, 21 died in Vietnam War and 3 died while fighting against communist insurgents in Malaysia. The remains of 2 wives and 6 children of Australian military personnel, who died in some disease and accidents were also handed over along with the soldiers, stated Yahoo7.
Apart from that, the remains of first Australian, who died in Vietnam will be handed over to Sydney. The remains are buried in Singapore’s Kraji Cemetery. On Thursday, June 2 a formal repatriation ceremony will be held in Western Sydney and the families of 33 servicemen and civilians will receive the remains there. This will be followed by a private memorial service in their respective states.
It has been expected that many veterans who served with the dead soldiers will attend the ceremony. People who want to pay their homage can also attend the ceremony. They will have the opportunity to view the funeral procession when it will pass through Parramatta CBD and Western Sydney between 12.45pm and 1.15 pm, reported Sky News.
NSW Detective Superintendent Gavin Dengate said, “The repatriation is about remembering those who fought, endured and died to serve their country.”
However, he also noted, “We want the community to commemorate the occasion safely, and are reminding everyone to be respectful at all times.”
Notably, last year in May former Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced that the government was going to pay for the repatriation of 36 Australian soldiers in 2015 and the offer was accepted by families of 33.
“As 2015 marks 50 years since the arrival of combat troops and the escalation of Australian involvement in Vietnam, it is right and proper that we honor their service with this gesture,” Abbott stated.
Reportedly, the country deployed around 60,000 soldiers between 1962 and 1973. Among them, 521 were killed during the war.