Sergeant Mike Edwards, drummer with the 5th Wellington West Coast and Taranaki Battalion Group Pipes and Drums (WN10-0068-001)
31 March 2010
Army drummer Sergeant Mike Edwards is honoured to have been chosen as part of the official contingent travelling from New Zealand to Turkey for this year’s Anzac Day commemorations.
An old boy of Tawa College, SGT Edwards, who now lives in Levin, will be part of a tri-Service band of Navy, Army and Air Force personnel which will play alongside their Australian counterparts at a number of ceremonies and events on 24 and 25 April in Turkey.
He says that his trip to Gallipoli will have special meaning as three of his Great Uncles served at Gallipoli.
“Lance Corporal James Edwards was killed in action on Hill 60 in August 1915. Private Henry Edwards fought as part of the Otago Infantry Battalion and died in the United Kingdom as a result of disease. Albert Edwards (Otago Mounted Rifles) fought at Gallipoli and returned to New Zealand,” SGT Edwards says.
“I will be taking Henry Edwards medals with me to Gallipoli and will be visiting James’ gravesite if I get the chance. It will be the first time any family member has seen his gravesite so it will be a very significant occasion for the family.”
SGT Edwards has been a drummer in the Central Band of the Royal New Zealand Air Force since 1974 and transferred to 5th Wellington West Coast and Taranaki Battalion Group Pipes and Drums in 2007. He started playing the drums when he was 10 and played for five years in the Boys’ Brigade.
Drumming runs in the Edwards family as his son David, 26, is also a side drummer in the Central Band and his wife Linda is a tenor drummer in 5 Battalion Pipes and Drums.
When he is not playing the drums SGT Edwards and his wife run a mobile coffee cart for events and he also does alarm technician contracting.
The official New Zealand contingent travelling to Gallipoli includes the Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant General Jerry Mateparae, New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel, veterans, students, and representatives from the Returned and Services Association, Ministry of Culture and Heritage and Veterans Affairs New Zealand.
The Defence Force group will include a ceremonial Guard of Honour, a Maori Cultural Group and a tri-Service band.
The Anzac Day ceremonies in Gallipoli begin on Saturday 24 April with the Turkish International Service and conclude with the New Zealand Service at Chunuk Bair on 25 April. The services will be attended by the Prime Minister John Key, Lieutenant General Mateparae, as well as dignitaries from Australia and Turkey.
For further information please contact Ally Clelland, Defence Communications Group 04 496 0273 or 021 569 130.