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Queen inspects names of Afghan war dead

October 24th, 2011 Australia

THE Queen has paid special homage to diggers killed in Afghanistan, during a visit to the Australian War Memorial.
Inspecting the Roll of Honour, where the names of more than 100,000 war dead are listed, the Queen paused over the Afghanistan list.

Queen inspects names of Afghan war deadThe list contains the names of 21 of the 29 Australian soldiers killed in the decade-long conflict.

Afghanistan has personal significance for the monarch, with her grandson Harry having served there with British forces.

Several hundred wellwishers braved the rain to give the Queen and Prince Philip a rousing cheer as they arrived at the memorial on their last official engagement in Canberra.

The Queen wore a champagne cashmere coat over a floral dress with a champagne trim and a matching hat.
She laid a wreath at the foot of the Tomb of Unknown Soldier during a short and solemn ceremony.

Later the royal couple chatted with a group of serving defence force members and veterans, and inspected photos from their past visits to the memorial.

One, dating back to the Queen’s first visit in 1954, shows her with the memorial’s director and eminent historian Charles Bean.

Veteran Norm Goldspink served as regimental sergeant-major at Duntroon when the Queen presented colours in 1970 and again at the silver jubilee parade in 1977.

“They remember the occasions, yes, for sure. They have good memories,” he said after again meeting the Queen.
Kokoda Track veteran Bede Tongs, 91, last met the Queen when she visited in 2000.

“I met her again today. It’s lovely. I am a royalist … and I’m still around under the system we have – lovely people,” he said.

Vietnam War veteran Chris Roberts described the Queen as “a very gracious lady”.

“What I was amazed about was she talked to everyone, the young sailors, soldiers and airmen of the force, and every veteran. She seemed to have an empathy with us.”

Corporals Leon Botham, Lisa Abbott and Jeremy Pahl represented the Kapooka army recruit training centre at Wagga Wagga.

“They don’t come here very often so it’s an honour to be part of the people to meet them,” Corporal Botham said.

Corporal Abbott said she had been nervous about talking to the Queen but it was “very good” to meet her.

Judith Landford, whose son Bruce flew her down from Brisbane for the occasion, waited three hours in the rain.

“We were right at the front and our beautiful bunch of yellow roses, the Queen took them,” she said.

Ms Landford wore a crown brooch sent to her in 1953 by her godmother in England as a memento of the Queen’s coronation.

Canberra resident Angela Griffiths took her children to see the Queen.

“I’m English originally and I’ve always followed them, and I thought it would be the last opportunity to see them,” she said.

The Queen leaves Canberra tomorrow morning for engagements in Melbourne.