Students lay wreaths for Last Post service

A school trip to Canberra will take on a special meaning today for two West Australian students.

Brock Larkan and Alika Gould, both 11, of Dale Christian School, Armadale, will be among school children from around the country to lay wreaths at the Australian War Memorial as part of a Last Post ceremony to mark the centenary of the outbreak of World War I.

Senior teacher at the school, Gary Mewhor, said the pair were part of a group of Year 6 students.

The school had been planning an annual trip to Canberra and Sydney, including a visit to the war memorial, when it was asked to take part in the service.

The school was thrilled to be able to do so, he said.

"It will honour all those people who gave their lives for us to make our culture what it is," Brock said. "I am really honoured to do it."

Alika said it was a great honour to be able to pay tribute to "what the Australian soldiers have done for us to give us the freedom we have now".

Mr Mewhor said the group would also visit the old and new Parliament houses.

The trip would provide valuable teaching material and would be an experience the students would never forget, he said.

Tomorrow, a ceremony will mark the first shot fired by the British Empire in World War I - not on the battlefields of Europe, but from a windswept fort south of Melbourne.

John Purdue, a sergeant with the Royal Australian Garrison Artillery, was stationed at the tip of the Mornington Peninsula.

At 12.45pm on August 5, 1914, he was ordered to fire on the Pfalz to stop it escaping Port Phillip Bay.

The West Australian

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