Proud to be an Australian soldier

Williamstown’s Chris Jermey served in the Army for nearly 30 years.

There’s a proud retired soldier who lives in Williamstown and you only need to take a look at his front yard to see why.

Chris Jermey’s garden is adorned with tributes to veterans and if you are fortunate to step into the backyard you will see a similar theme shine.

As a 21 year old Victorian, Chris was walking in the mall one day with his father and saw a recruitment van for the Army and was soon enlisted.

With a great-grandfather in the British Army, Chris believed if he could be half the man that he was, then he would be a good man and soon set on his quest.

Enlisted, Chris left home and undertook a three month recruitment course and it wasn’t long before he gained more skills in an area which was to become his life for nearly 30 years.

“The training was good… it was different,” recalls Chris.

“I had never handled a weapon before and it was all new to me.”

Spending four and a half months in an infantry course, Chris said that experience was full on. It was there where he learnt to be a rifleman and gained his first posting.

“It was pretty cool but full on… even when you went to the battalion you still had to prove yourself,” Chris said.

It was at his second posting that Chris spent four years at. He notes it is the first and second postings where you gain what’s required to be a solider that you remember the most.

Chatting to Chris you soon discover his journey – from rifleman to gunner and number one scout. 

He has been posted at bases over Australia and was sent on deployment to Malaysia, East Timor, when the Tsunami hit and Afghanistan, a posting which led to his retirement.

“I wasn’t in the right head space then and I thought I had done enough,” said Chris.

“I thought I needed to do something for myself and family.”

Reflecting on his contribution, Chris adds, “I’m happy… I am proud of what I have done. I still believe that everyone I worked with and met that they made a difference.

“I am pretty proud that I was a soldier. It was the best thing I have ever done.”

He said being a serviceman has made him the father, grandfather, mate and person he is today.

But there are aspects that he has blocked out from his memory over time, allowing him to create new memories of family, mateship and helping others.

Injuries are part and parcel of the service, according to Chris and his arms are proudly filled with ink – tattoos of aspects from his past.

Chris said he is glad he came back to South Australia to retire, a decision mainly inspired by family.

“When you are in the Army you miss out on a lot of stuff. I wasn’t here, or I was on course somewhere in Australia or overseas,” Chris said.

He has a number of elements at his home to pay tribute to the fallen and those who have served their country. 

Some of them are keepsakes from his time in deployment, others he has collected along the way.

“It means a lot and it is very emotional… just to pay the respect over my career,” Chris said.

While retired to the Barossa in 2014, Chris continues to keep in touch with others who he served with and with pride attends the ANZAC Day dawn service.

“I enjoy helping people… friends, mates and family,” Chris said.

“I enjoy spending time with the grandchildren, Aleira and Luca and just helping people.”

He has signed up to participate in NJF, a veteran health welfare programme that operates from Starplex and is something Chris praises highly.

“It is one of the best things that I have done since I got out,” Chris said.

“It has kept me focused… we do a circuit, so it is a bit like that defence aspect as well.”

Proudly serving their country is a common theme in the Jermey family with Chris’ twin brother, Kenneth in the RAAF and his youngest brother, Steven also serving in the RAAF for 19 years.

Chris said he is proud of his years of service and reflects on the sense of mateship and camaraderie.

“You are part of a brotherhood,” Chris said.

“It makes you who you are and it makes you a community member.”

ANZAC Day commemorations 2021

Nuriootpa

No public service. 

‘Light up the Dawn’ initiative encouraged by lighting a candle at home and tuning into the Dawn Service broadcast.

Members of the public are invited to attend the memorial later in the day to lay a wreath, respecting social distancing requirements.

Tanunda

Public service at 6.15 a.m. at the Garden of Remembrance, corner of Murray and Bridge Street, followed by Gunfire Breakfast at The RSL Hut, Bilyara Road.

March from Tanunda Post office to the Soldiers’ Memorial Hall. Muster at 10.30 a.m., step off at 10.40 a.m.

Memorial service at the Soldiers’ Memorial Hall at 11 a.m.

Luncheon at The Hut following the service will be for RSL members and invited guests only.

Mount Pleasant

Public service at 6.15 a.m. at the Soldiers’ Memorial Hall, Melrose Street.

Breakfast to follow and memorabilia display inside the hall.

Angaston

Public service at 6 a.m. at the Angaston War Memorial, corner of Penrice Road and Murray Street, conducted by Chaplain Tim Hodgson RAAF and Pastor Rob Morgan.

Angaston & District Lions Club will provide coffee and the Angaston CWA will provide biscuits.

Gawler

No public service or march.

‘Light up the Dawn’ initiative encouraged.

Kapunda

Public service at 6.30 a.m. at the Kapunda Cenotaph, corner of Mildred Street and Clare Road.

Robertstown

Public service at 9 a.m. at the Robertstown War Memorial, Commercial Street. Will include the unveiling of the Aboriginal Soldiers’ Monument.

A free barbecue will follow.

Eudunda

Public service at 6.15 a.m. at the Eudunda War Memorial, Gunn Street.

Williamstown

Public service at 6.30 a.m. at the Williamstown RSL Memorial, Memorial Drive.

Preceded by a march-in by current and ex-service personnel and next of kin.

Sedan

Public service at 9 a.m. at the Sedan War Memorial, corner of Bank Road and Angaston-Swan Reach Road.

No breakfast, regular church service to follow.

Sanderston

Public service at 6.30 a.m. at Sanderston War Memorial, Angas Valley Road.

Breakfast to follow at Angas Valley Tennis Club.

Tarlee

Public service at 9.30 a.m. at the Tarlee War Memorial.

Will be followed by the official unveiling of a memorial dedicated to Lone Pine at 10.15 a.m.

Freeling

No public service.

‘Light up the Dawn’ initiative encouraged.

Swan Reach

Public service at 6.30 a.m. at the Swan Reach Memorial, corner of Victoria Street and Hesse Hill Road.

Breakfast to follow at 7.30 a.m. hosted by the Swan Reach Bowls Club. 

COVID safe protocols in place where applicable

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