Anzac ashes service a family affair

Ed Jackson

Since its inception in 2008, the burial at sea conclusion to the Currumbin RSL Anzac Day dawn service has become an intrinsic part of the commemorations at Elephant Rock on the Gold Coast.

This year's burial will be the biggest yet with the ashes of 34 people - including a World War II veteran and his grandson - to be scattered over the water by crews from the Currumbin Vikings surf club.

John Albert Cole served with the 17th Australian Field Corps in the Pacific, notably joining a guard of Australian soldiers at Rabaul to take Japanese General Hatazo Adachi aboard his ship to retrieve his official army sword during his surrender.

Mr Cole, who died aged 94, will be laid to rest along with the ashes of his grandson Andrew Grey, who died aged just 37.

The request is the first of its kind for the burial at sea service, and Currumbin RSL president Ron Workman says honouring and remembering the sacrifices of all servicemen and women and their families is central to the club's commemoration.

"Anzac Day for us it is not simply about remembering that fateful day on the shores of Gallipoli but rather about honouring all of our Anzacs past and present," Mr Workman said.

"It gives us a chance to pause and take in the magnitude of what all our serving men and women have sacrificed.

"It also allows us to pay homage and gives us an opportunity to educate our youth and hope they can learn from past mistakes."

The burial, which Mr Workman describes as a "final and fitting gesture", is just one aspect of the Elephant Rock service - which is one of the biggest-drawing regional dawn services in Queensland.

Tuesday's service will begin with a march led by light horsemen in honour of the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Beersheba while the 75th anniversary of Kokoda and the bombing of Darwin will also be honoured.

An Iroquois Huey Helicopter flown in Vietnam during that conflict along with a Cessna Bird Dog from the Vietnam era and a Tiger Moth will then take part in a flyover at the beginning of the burial at sea ceremony.