Babcock Australasia’s Head of Business Development, Mick Burgess, has served in the Australian Army for 37 years. As one of South Australia’s most senior Army Officers, he feels a strong personal and professional connection to Remembrance Day and its legacy.
When I reflect on the enduring significance of Remembrance Day, there is one name that has particularly meaning for me and my family.
Private Eddie Radford of the 3rd Battalion, 1st Australian Imperial Force did not survive the First World War. He was not a hero and was not awarded any honours. However, like so many others, he died serving alongside his mates, fighting for what he thought was right.
Born and raised in north-western New South Wales, Eddie was only 20 years old when he enlisted in October 1916.
On the 4th of October 1917, near Ypres in northern France, Eddie and his friend Private Chalmers were carrying ammunition under intense fire to one of the 3rd Battalion’s machine gun posts. They had to run across an open area to reach the machine gunners and were about to reach their destination when they were both shot and killed. His short life and career as a soldier came to an abrupt end. His body was never recovered.
While we often read the stories of heroes, we sometimes forget those who died simply trying to do their best. Eddie’s name and that of his friend are now listed on the Menin Gate memorial in Belgium along with another 6000 Australian names.
Eddie Radford was my Great Uncle. His picture hangs on my wall next to other photos of my family. I am thankful that my own son has not had to fight in a war – and I am mindful of my own duty to keep our nation secure.
Working at Babcock means I can serve the nation by continuing to ensure the highest levels of equipment serviceability of critical equipment, so that it is available for service personnel when and where they need it: for training and for operations.
As an Army Officer – I’ve been a Reservist for 17 years now, after 20 years in the Army full time – I’m also proud to serve because the Army is an intrinsic part of Australia’s heritage. I have served on three operations overseas and had the privilege to lead and work with amazing men and women from all three services: Navy, Army and Air Force.
Working together, we remain a vital part of a secure future for the country. To be part of that, at any level, is a source of immense pride for me.