ANZAC Day, Wednesday 25 April 2018, marks the 103rd anniversary of the landing of ANZAC troops at Gallipoli and 101 years since 1917, one of the darkest years for Aussie troops.

One hundred years on from 1918, Australians will reflect on what was a pivotal year on the Western Front. The year began badly with a major German offensive, Operation Michael, during which most ground lost in the previous two years was regained by the German troops.

The counter offensive at Villeux Bretonneux initiated the ANZAC Day linkage with the French community. The Battle of

Hamel, commanded by Australia’s General Monash, was the first coordinated battle using infantry, tanks, artillery and aircraft and the first major operation to include American troops.

Later battles in 1918 included Amiens, Mont St Quentin and the Hindenburg Line, which destroyed the German resistance and resulted in the signing of the Armistice at 11am on 11 November that year.

As well as remembering these battles on ANZAC Day this year, Tweed Heads & Coolangatta RSL Sub-Branch draws special focus to the contribution of service women who served, or are currently serving, our country.

The move is in support of ‘By the Left’, an initiative aimed at broadening the public’s perception of what a veteran looks like – they are young, old, male, female, current and ex-serving. Their goal is to ensure all veterans, especially female

veterans, are no longer asked whose medals they are wearing.

Four Tweed Heads & Coolangatta RSL Sub-Branch members, Ronda Rose and Annie Strawbridge from Tweed Heads South, Karin Leepre from Tweed Heads and Michelle Coates from Parkwood will carry the flags that form the Colour Party. They will lead the ANZAC Day March and flank the commemorative ceremony in Chris Cunningham Park.

Ronda, who served with the Royal Australian Navy for 12 years and Navy Reserve for 10 years, said she is excited to be able to finally show people that women were also part and parcel of the Defence Forces. “I had an experience myself where was questioned about wearing my medals on the left. This person thought I must be wearing a family member’s medals so should have had them on the right. “I responded, ‘Why am I wearing them on the left? Because they are mine,” said Ronda, who will proudly wear her medals, on the left, at the ANZAC Day March this year.

You will find By the Left on facebook. Like their page and show your support too.

This year’s March will also include some younger veterans who served in Afghanistan and Iraq.

As in previous years, local school students will play a role on ANZAC Day, presenting addresses at both services and providing the choir for the main service.