Hundreds gather to watch and participate in the Anzac Day march and service at Byron Bay.
Hundreds gather to watch and participate in the Anzac Day march and service at Byron Bay. Aisling Brennan

Animals lost to war remembered at Anzac Day commemoration

HUNDREDS of tourists and locals lined the streets of Byron Bay to watch on as the Anzac Day parade made its way through town towards the war memorial.

As returned servicemen and women, emergency service personnel, students and community representatives marched towards the Anzac Day service on Tennyson St, people paid their respects by applauding those marching.

The 104th Anzac Day ceremony in Byron Bay this year also paid respect to the animals who served during the war.

School students from the surrounding area shared with those in attendance stories of the animals that worked alongside the soldiers in all wars, including horses, donkeys, dogs, cats, pigeons and even dolphins.

 

But it was the story of Byron Bay Sapper Brandon Keemac who worked as an explosive detection dog handler in Afghanistan and his dog Andy that told the Anzac story of mateship.

Andy, who died in a vehicle explosion in Afghanistan, worked closely with Sapper Keemac and they developed a special bond.

The dog's ashes and working harness were on display today at the 11am Anzac Day service in Byron Bay in honour of all the animals had lost their lives during military exercises.

"Sapper Keemac's role with his dog was to lead the troops in an attempt to detect any IUDs on route and area clearance as well as village and vehicle searches," Byron Bay High Isabella Stephens.

"The task of imminent danger where every step taken was dangerous and the opposing forces seemed to be one step ahead."

The service ended with the community paying their respects by laying wreaths at the memorial before everyone took part in a minute of silence for the fallen Anzacs who never made it home.



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