The association between the Surf Life Saving movement and the military began in its infancy, and on Wednesday thousands of club members will pause to remember the sacrifice and contribution that these lifesavers made to the Australian way of life.
Lifesavers have seen action in every major conflict from the Second Boer War through to Afghanistan.
They’ve served all over the world, though sadly not all returned to their home beaches.
For those that survived, particularly from the First World War, they went on to make significant contributions to the organisation.
In fact their return coincided with a surge in the popularity of the ocean as swimming and later surfing would eventually become an accepted part of an Aussie summer.
It’s thought that around 9,000 lifesavers nationwide have served in the Australian Military over the years with at least 800 laying down their lives for causes they believed in.
The historical record shows that on Anzac Day in 1915 there were 9 club members killed in the first wave on the shores of Gallipoli, and of those 6 were from NSW.
They were among the first of 200 lifesavers lost in The Great War and a further 300 in World War Two.
NSW clubs also lost members in Vietnam, Korea, and Afghanistan among others and their names aren’t lost to history with many adorning boards in surf clubs around the state.
“It’s important that we acknowledge and remember the sacrifices our members made during times of war,” said Surf Life Saving NSW CEO Steven Pearce.
“They are part of the history of Surf Life Saving and to all our current and former members who have served we thank them for their efforts to not only our organisation but to the wider community,” he said.
Many dawn services will be held at surf clubs across NSW tomorrow including at the Fallen Lifesavers memorial at Coogee, and in addition lifesavers will be on patrol keeping a watchful eye on beachgoers.
Tuesday 24 April 2018