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Remembering a defeat that changed the nation

Australian casualties were high, leading up to the fall of Singapore, with close to 18,500 wounded and 700 killed across the 70-day campaign.

The defeat sent shock-waves through the world, and the reverberations were particularly felt in Australia.

I attended the small ceremony in Wagga today, to commemorate the men and women who served in what was a bitter defeat across the Malay Peninsula.

Addressed the intimate crowd at Victory Memorial Gardens, seventy-seven years after the final battle, RSL Sub Branch vice-president Richard Salcole said many incidents following the fall of Singapore in 1942 were firmly entrenched in the region’s history.

“Within two days, the scream of aircraft attacking was to be heard over the Australian mainland as Darwin came under attack,” Mr Salcole said.

“We should continue to respect the challenges faced by the defenders of a small island fortress. We will always remember them.”

The Fall of Singapore was a pivotal turning point in Australia’s military history, with new American alliances cemented.

For the first time the nation could not rely on Britain for its defence.

This was an important moment in the development of our sense of identity as a nation.

It was also the beginning of tremendous suffering for many of those who were captured at Singapore.

It is always fitting to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the defence of their fellow countrymen and women.

Lest we forget.

Earlier Event: February 15
SOACT celebrates 160 years
Later Event: February 17
Meet the MP arrives in Tumut