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Remembering the spirit of ANZAC

Salvation Army Red Shield Defence Services personnel will support their units at Anzac Day services and marches around the country.

Major Brett Gallagher, Chief Commissioner of The Salvation Army Red Shield Defence Services (RSDS), who will commemorate Anzac Day (Thursday 25 April) in Brisbane this year, thinks that “the remembrance of the spirit of ANZAC, mateship and helping those who need support is in good hands.”

Cadets-in-training enjoy a cuppa and catchup with the Salvos.

Speaking after the Brisbane City Community ANZAC ceremony and concert at Brisbane City Temple last Sunday 21 April, in which he participated, Brett shared that the “great afternoon of commemoration” was encouraging. “The respectful way that the fallen were remembered was married with the soul lifting tunes of How Great Thou Art, the combined performers’ rendition of Waltzing Matilda lifted the spirits, and the band playing Emblem of the Army sent everyone home with a spring in their step.

“It was difficult to think that a decade or so ago, people were worried that the remembrance of ANZAC would just fade as soldiers who had served in WWI and WWII passed away,” he explained. “As we reflected on the current situation and the partnerships between The Salvation Army Homelessness Services, RSL Queensland, and RSDS, a young boy from the Voices of Biralee [children’s ensemble] was moved so much that at the end of the concert, he came forward with a donation to help veterans in need. The remembrance of the spirit of ANZAC, mateship and helping those who need support is in good hands.”

Major Brett Gallagher is Chief Commissioner of The Salvation Army Red Shield Defence Services.

Brett will also attend and participate in two Anzac Day ceremonies at Brisbane’s Shrine of Remembrance – one with school students, and the Anzac Day dawn service where he will be part of a group laying wreaths.


“It’s a very special gathering,” he said. “It’s a beautiful place the city has developed to help people remember the fallen and pay their respects.”


Brett will also march in the Brisbane Anzac Day March after the dawn service.


“Around the nation, all of my RSDS team will also participate in the units they support in their Anzac Day dawn services. Many will head off to local marches after the service.”

RSDS personnel will be present at services and marches around the country.

There are currently 14 RSDS representatives at six Army bases around Australia; two representatives at Royal Military College, Duntroon; and one in Melbourne who oversees veterans’ ministries. This unique team supports Australian Army personnel and their families – on the bases, on exercises at various locations and occasionally overseas.


This year is an important one for the RSDS as it marks 125 years of service.

From its humble beginning, The Salvation Army has been serving troops for 125 years.

The history of the ‘Sallyman’ and ‘Sallyma’am’ (as they are affectionally called) in Australia dates back to the Second Boer War in 1899. William Booth, Co-founder of The Salvation Army, sent Adjutant Mary Murray to offer the troops a place of respite and someone to talk to. Mary did just that, setting up a tent that soldiers from both sides of the fighting could access, providing a hot cuppa, biscuits and a listening ear.


“The first Sallyman was actually a Sallyma’am,” said Brett.

“This outreach has continued through every conflict that has involved the Australian Army, except Iraq and Afghanistan. And this is what we continue to do today, 125 years later.


“A celebration of this anniversary will take place in Canberra 4-8 November this year.”


Upcoming opportunities

The RSDS will also be involved in two other milestones this year and next.


“We hope to recommence our presence at Puckapunyal, an Australian Army training facility and base 10km west of Seymour in central Victoria,” shared Brett. “We had to leave there around 10-12 years ago due to budget contraints, but we are working on getting back there next year and supporting Australia’s largest training base.


“We also have the report from The Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide being released later this year. Part of what we see as The Salvation Army is a role through the RSDS where we can help those who are struggling due to their service. That’s our heart as a team and as The Salvation Army – to help people find wholeness.”


 Brisbane Anzac Community Concert

To view the concert held at Brisbane City Temple, click on the video below.





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