|C.O.'s Message at the 2015 Foundation Day Commemoration Day Service|
Commanding Officer Lt Col James Davis attended the 2015 Commemoration Service of our Foundation Day to deliver his own C.O.’s message as follows:
Good morning veterans of 2nd/6th and 2nd Cavalry Regiments, families and ladies and gentlemen. For reasons of fate unknown to us, our two Regiments have their days of significance in October and November. On Ninth of October 1971, Brigadier Maurie Fergusson, the 1st Commanding Officer of the Cavalry Regiment of the Sixth Division presented the battle honours of 2/6 Cavalry Commando Regiment to the Commanding Officer of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel John Keldie. On the 31st of October 98 years ago the 4th and 12th Regiments of the Light Horse charged at Beersheba in the Middle East and codified the verve, courage and determination that characterises Australian Light Horse and Cavalry Regiments. For this reason 2 Cav Regt, at the insistence of John Keldie, recognises 31 Oct as a day of reflection and consolidation despite the fact that the unit was raised on 20 Nov 1970. This Beersheba Day, 2 Cav Regt conducted a number of activities that raised over $20,000 for Soldier On and Mates for Mates, both charities that support wounded/ill soldiers and their families.
I spoke last year about the geographic similarities in the journeys of the two units. This year I have highlighted some similarities in time. But similarities and time and space could be mere coincidence. Real unity derives from a common purpose. I had to think more broadly than the narrow definition of Regiment to find that unity of purpose. Strictly speaking, a Regiment, is a group of fighting soldiers united under a single commander. The broader definition of regiment implies a group of followers, support and family. I think 2/6 Cav has lived that definition since 1946 but I don’t think it is true for 2 Cav Regt. 2 Cav Regt seems to have always lived for the moment. To some degree this is probably a function of the furious pace of operations in the past 15 years. That might have changed a little this weekend, on the anniversary of our Regiments 45th year. 130 former 2 Cav Regt members, some of whom were there on that day in 1970 visited the unit for the opening of the units first historical collection. Over the weekend I thought about how we might bring our Regiments closer together and developed three feasible approaches:
First, 2 Cav Regt must know our history better. In 2016 unit induction training will feature presentations on the history of 2 Cav Regt and 2/6 Cav Regt. By next Beersheba Day the Monsta Jones historical centre will feature a section on 2/6 Cav history. The jerseys of our unit sporting teams now bear the association patch as a reminder of the sacrifice and courage of 2/6 Cav.
Second, we can formalise the way we support veterans and families. To do this Beersheba Day fundraising in 2016 will be coordinated through the 2 Cav Regt and 2/6 Cav Association. Our Honorary Colonel has undertaken to champion ways for 2/6 and 2 Cav veterans to connect with each other in communities across Australia.
Third, we can increase the overlap between our unit days of significance. In 2016 I would be honoured if members of the 2/6 Cav Association could find their way to Townsville for Beersheba Day. For Foundation Day Commemoration 2016 we will ensure the presence of a larger contingent of 2 Cav Regt soldiers. Many of these soldiers will be soldiers undergoing their initial employment training at the School of Armour and their attendance at Foundation Day Commemoration will give them a grass roots introduction to the bonds between our two Regiments.
Thank you again for having me today, and I look forward to the continuing bonds between our Regiments.
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