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Samoa stands in solidarity against the crimes & harms of war

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA – 25 APRIL 2022: In the 107th commemoration of the ANZAC dawn service this morning, Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa said Samoa stands together against the harms of wars and all kinds of discriminations.

“We stand in solidarity against the crimes, the harms of war and against the discrimination and the victimization of our generation,” she said.

107 years ago, soldiers from Australia, New Zealand, India, France and Britain landed on the shores of Gallipoli, Turkey during World War 1, and shared a terrible experience.

“Several Samoan citizens along with their Pacific battalions served during the Gallipoli campaign; and over the years more sons and daughters of Samoa and American Samoa continue to serve with dignity and honour their respect calling, to protect our world and its people and to ensure that our nation is sustained and secured,” said Fiame.

She also acknowledged the veterans who attended the ceremony and remembered with appreciation those who have passed on knowing their sacrifices, commitment and services will live on in the spirit of ANZAC.

anzac PM, Luck & 2 ministers
anzac PM, Luck & 2 ministers

The Prime Minister with the Australian High Commissioner Emily Luck, the Minister of Finance Mulipola Anarosa Ale-Molioo and the Minister of Justice, Matamua Vasati Pulufana.

It was also a time to reflect on the resilience of many Samoans who died in defending their lands during the struggle for independence.

“They too possessed the qualities of bravery, fortitude, and the resilience of our Samoan people,” said Prime Minister.

Australia High Commissioner HE Emily Luck spoke on behalf of the Australian Government and cited the “In Flanders Field” poppy poem.

New Zealand High Commissioner Dr. Trevor Matheson and the Return Service Association (RSA) President/Deputy Prime Minister of Samoa Tuala Tevaga  Iosefo Ponifasio recited the Ode of Remembrance.

Following the Last Post by a police bugle, there was a minute of silence, then the wreath laying led by the Head of State, Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi 11.

anzac buglers call
anzac buglers call

The Last Post

Eleven of Samoa’s fallen soldiers
The Master of Ceremony, war veteran Peter Jensen called out eleven names of the Samoan citizens who served and died in the First and Second World Wars.

Preston Logan – age 23 died on 22 May 1915 from wounds at Dardanelles, Gallipoli. He was buried at sea on his way back to England.

Earnest Mitchell – A Maori Battalion born in Tonga. His mother was Mele Matele from Lefaga and wife was Jane Scanlan of Faleula. He died 24 September 1916 in the battle of Somme, France, aged 23 and is buried at Bulls Road, France.

John Douglas Blakelock – served in the First Battalion Australia Imperial Force and died 6 August 1915 in Gallipoli at the age of 20.

Clarence Walter Hills– served with the Maori Pioneer Battalion. Born in Samoa and was the son of Reverend John Hills of the Malua Mission School. He died in battle on 24 September 1916 in France.

Colin Keneth Bleazard – Born in Savaii and served with the Australian Ordnance Corp & ANZAC Division of British Expeditionary. He died of wounds at Bapeaume Rouen France, 9 February 1917 and is buried at Saint Sever English Cemetery France.

Thomas Meredith Allen – Born in Savaii and served with the Australian Imperial Forces & Cadet pilot. His plane crashed in Norwick, England 26 April 1917.  Aged  23, he served in Gallipoli, France and England.

Alan Williams – Born in Samoa and served in the Maori Pioneer Battalion and died in Palestine 26 July 1918 aged 27. He is buried in Ramleh War Cemetery in Israel.

Silila Purcell – died on 24 October 1942 at the age of 22. He served in Western District North Africa and is buried at El Alamein War Cemetery in Egypt.

Jacob Foster – served in the 28th Maori Battalion. Died on 7 December 1943 and is buried in Italy.

Louie Aspinal – served in the 2nd Maori Battalion D Company. Died 20 March 1944 at age 26. He is buried in Italy.

Rex Brighouse – served in the 21st Infantry Battalion and died 4 October 1944 at the age of 27. He is buried in Italy.

The dawn prayer service was led by Reverend Penani Koro of the EFKS Saleaula. He cited a dead soldiers’ poem which left several veterans emotional.

If I die in a war zone, box me up and send me home

Put my medals on my chest, tell my mom I did my best

Tell my dad not to bow, he won’t get attention from me now

Tell my brother to study diligently, the key of my Harley will be his permanently

Tell my sister not to be upset, her brother will take a long sleep after sunset

Tell my nation not to cry, because I’m a soldier, born to die

anzac parade

anzac parade