Andrew Curlewis takes a global mindset into Anzac Day after his navy career saw him travel all over the world. A childhood passion for warships sparked a 38-year stint in uniform across two Navies in two hemispheres.
When I was 8 years old I knew I would have a lifelong connection with the Navy, as I pored over pictures of warships and sailed toy ships in the local park. At 10, I put on my first uniform as a young Sea Cadet, which cemented my future ties to the Navy and gave me opportunities to travel the country, gain lifelong friends, learn new skills and go overseas. My service began as a Seaman Officer in the Naval Reserve and by the time I had finished an engineering degree, I was a qualified ship’s navigator, able to safely direct the many operations on the bridge of a warship.
My early ambitions were finally realised when I walked through the gates of Britannia Naval College at Dartmouth to start my career as a Graduate Engineering Officer within the Royal Navy. Travelling the world, I was involved in a number of global conflicts, gained a further degree, commissioned a first-of-class ship and became a leader of specialist trainers who honed the skills of ship’s leadership teams prior to their departure to Naval operational theatres.
I then joined the Royal New Zealand Navy, where I served for three years managing waterfront engineering support teams and leading assessment teams as the Protector ships were commissioned into service. Stepping once more into the Reserve environment, I was privileged to Command the largest Naval Reserve unit in the country before finally hanging up my uniform for civilian life.
For me, Anzac Day is not only about remembering Gallipoli but reflecting on all conflicts and armed forces across the globe that work together to ensure peace.
In the past I’ve marked the day in Adelaide and in New Zealand but have also paid tribute to all defence forces at Remembrance Day services in London, an Armed Forces Day in Washington and Victory in Europe (VE) Day in Malta.