Western Australian firefighters who have fallen in the line of duty have been honoured at a memorial service on Sunday 5 May to commemorate International Firefighters’ Day.
The memorial service, held every year by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services, is an opportunity to remember those who have fallen and acknowledge those who continue to serve and protect our community by responding to a variety of emergencies.
Since 1904, 68 career and volunteer firefighters have lost their lives in service and their names were called and honoured with the chime of a brass bell.
This year, in addition to the flag party drum corp march in and hymns played by the WA Fire and Emergency Services Concert Band, a touching Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony was performed by Aboriginal elder George Hayden to honour the country on which the Firefighters’ Memorial Grove stands in Kings Park. Musician Grant Touchell sang a moving cover of Fire and Rain by James Taylor while the crowd reflected on their family members, friends and colleagues who had tragically lost their lives.
Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm AFSM spoke at the ceremony and reflected on the ultimate sacrifice these men and women have made while protecting the community.
“The role of a firefighter is one of dedication, commitment and sacrifice, and is sometimes the greatest sacrifice of all,” Commissioner Klemm said.
“The loss of a firefighter in the line of duty is devastating to all the people whose lives they have touched – their family, their friends, their service, their brigade, and the community, and for the fellow firefighter someone you stood shoulder-to-shoulder with on the fireground.
“It is touching to see so many family and friends at the Firefighters’ Memorial Grove to mark the solemn occasion.”
The families of fallen firefighters, Minister for Emergency Services Francis Logan MLA and representatives from the Department of Fire and Emergency Services, Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, State and local governments, and Western Australia’s firefighting services were all present to honour the fallen.
Wreaths were laid, reveille bugle call played, a minute of silence observed and a thirty second sound off pierced the air to reflect on those who had lost their life while performing a role to protect their community. Following the conclusion of the ceremony guests were invited to share morning tea generously provided by the Salvation Army.
Career Station Officer (SO) Donald Joseph and Scadden Bush Fire Brigade volunteer firefighter Kym (Freddy) Curnow were added to the Fallen Firefighters Honour Roll this year.
SO Joseph passed away while on station in 1950 and Kym Curnow lost his life in 2015 while protecting members of the community by preventing them from driving towards the catastrophic Esperance bushfires.
Those who were unable to attend can watch the memorial service here. If you had your photo taken at the event and would like a copy please email firstname.lastname@example.org.