Gallipoli-bound teen's military pedigree

23 Apr, 2015 07:34 AM
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Ethan Jolley, Horhsam, Victoria.
There's been someone from every generation of my family serving in the armed forces
Ethan Jolley, Horhsam, Victoria.

HORSHAM, Victoria, teenager Ethan Jolley will pay tribute to a long family military history when he witnesses this year's Anzac Day dawn service at Anzac Cove, Gallipoli.

Ethan was chosen as one of just 400 Australian students to travel to Turkey to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the landing of Australian and New Zealander troops on the small Turkish peninsula as part of World War I.

He is an apt representative for the nation, having a family with a history of military service.

"There's been someone from every generation of my family serving in the armed forces back to World War I," he said.

And Ethan is continuing this legacy, already playing an active role already as a member of his local branch of the Air Force cadets and as a volunteer with the Returned and Services League (RSL).

"I also try and help out with things like selling poppies for Remembrance Day and at the moment, I'm making rosemary sprigs for Anzac Day."

Ethan's parents Tim and Bernardine are proud of his achievement in winning selection to participate in the centenary event.

"The applicants were chosen on a range of criteria and Ethan managed to address these points well," Bernardine said.

"It's a great honour for him and I am sure he will learn a lot," Tim said.

"We really encourage him with his Air Cadets training, we think it teaches him a lot, not just about military matters, but also about personal respect and discipline."

Family military history

The Jolleys' military past begins with an uncle on Tim's side, Donald Higgins, who was sent overseas to serve from Maryborough, Victoria, but got ill on the boat over and died in England.

In WWII, Tim's grandparents John and Effie McMillan were involved, John in the army and Effie as an auxiliary nurse, while family members also served in Vietnam.

As part of Ethan's trip, he will head to Istanbul, Turkey, before making the trip down to the Gallipoli Peninsula.

"It will be interesting to finally see all the places I have read about."

A keen military historian, Ethan said he had read many books on the topic of Gallipoli.

The highlight of the trip will be the dawn service.

Ethan said he has attended dawn services locally virtually all his life, but he expects this one to be particularly moving.

"Just to get a feel for what the people in WWI, in all wars for that matter, have been through, it will be great to be a part of, especially for the 100th anniversary."

And Wimmera people will also be the richer for his experience.

Once he arrives back, Ethan will speak at various places, such as his school, St Brigid's College, to his Air Cadets colleagues and to the local community on his experience.

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Gregor Heard

Gregor Heard

is the national grains writer for Fairfax Agricultural Media

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