PEEL HEALTH CAMPUS SUPPORTS LOCAL YOUTH TO ATTEND ANZAC SERVICES IN THAILAND

In keeping with the true Ramsay Health Care spirit, the team at Peel Health Campus have made a community contribution which has had a big impact on the lives of some local service cadets. Peel Health Campus’ sponsorship of the Burma Thailand Railway Memorial Association (BTRMA) has contributed to a total of 37 young Australian Defence Force cadets aged between 15 and 17 taking part in ten -day tours across Thailand over the years. The Quiet Lion Tour aims to perpetuate the memory of the privations and sacrifices of Australian and Allied prisoners of war and the selfless dedication of the medical personnel during the construction of the Burma Thailand Railway. As part of the tour the cadets attend a Anzac Day Dawn Service at the notorious Hellfire Pass in Thailand, the deepest and longest cutting along the entire length of the railway.  This area now symbolises the suffering and maltreatment of Australian prisoners of war, who were forced to cut through the rock terrain often suffering from illness and malnutrition. The Dawn Service is followed by a Wreath Laying Service at the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery. Rhiannon Mackay, a local army cadet who attended the 2015 Tour said the walk through Hellfire Pass was breathtaking. “You could sense the mixed emotions as you walked through; hurt, sadness, fear and hope. The torture the prisoners experienced can never be forgotten. Now that I have been on this tour the memory of this place will never leave me,” said Rhiannon. The cadets visited many historical sites including the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery where an estimated 6,980 Allied prisoners of war (1,362 Australians) who died building the railway are buried. They also visited the Chunkai Cemetery where 1,740 non-Australian prisoners are buried. In total 2,710 Australians died of the 13,000 who were captured. Hospital CEO Dr Margaret Sturdy said it’s been wonderful to be able to help these young cadets to experience the Quiet Lion Tour and enable them to visit historical sites creating life long memories. The tour is named after Sir Edward “Weary” Dunlop, who was an Australian army surgeon, a prisoner of war and who, with his men, was forced to work on the Thai Burma Railway.  He earned the title of the “Quiet Lion” through his selfless devotion to his men and courage in the face of his captors.   The aim of the BTRMA is to educate current and future generations about the self-sacrifice, courage and compassion that was displayed during the construction of the Thai-Burma railway. “I hope that through supporting our local cadets to participate in these tours we have helped them with this insight,” said Margaret Sturdy.

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