Dignitaries included members of the Armed Forces and Arthur Leggett himself.
Dignitaries included members of the Armed Forces and Arthur Leggett himself.

Gathering to reflect on the experiences of Prisoners of War

The Governor joined other State and Defence officials and dignitaries at the Ex-Prisoner of War Memorial in Kings Park today to recognise and honour the service of those Australians captured during conflicts.

The event was hosted by Mount Lawley High School.The event was hosted by Mount Lawley High School.

The Governor took the opportunity to highlight the life and dedication of the President of the Ex-POWs Association of WA, 103-year-old Mr Arthur Leggett. Mr Leggett enlisted in the 2/11 Battalion AIF, the first Western Australian Battalion raised for overseas service at the outbreak of WWII. He saw action in Bardia, Tobruk, before being deployed to assist in the defence of Greece at Kalabaka, Brallos Pass before withdrawing to Megara. Evacuated by sea on Anzac Day 1941, his unit landed on Crete where they were captured by the Germans. The next four years were spent as a Prisoner of War where he endured a forced march through Poland across the Czech Alps to Bavaria in the midst of the European winter, in starvation conditions.

Arthur Leggett recites the Ode.Arthur Leggett recites the Ode.

Mr Leggett returned to Australia where he chose to do something not many returned soldiers did – speak about his experiences. In 1996 he was elected as President of the Ex-Prisoners of War Association. He regularly visits schools to educate children on the sacrifices Australians have made and he even penned a book about his life, “Don’t Cry for Me”.

Whilst today was a solemn experience and a stark reminder of the experiences of over 38,000 Australians, it was also a moment to reflect on the power of ordinary men doing extraordinary things, and the creation and story of the Australian spirit.

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