Holzberger, Simmonds hold audience in thrall at RSL

Aiden BoyhamSound Telegraph
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The Port Kennedy Returned and Services League hosted a special breakfast last Sunday, with special guests veterans Martin Holzberger and Troy Simmonds enthralling members with respective speeches.

Mr Holzberger, a former seventh warrant officer of the Royal Australia Navy with 29 years experience, addressed the 43 RSL members in attendance in his current role as operations manager of the State headquarters for RSL WA.

Fellow speaker Mr Simmonds, a former SAS patrol commander with service in East Timor, Somalia, Iraq and six tours of Afghanistan, also captivated the audience.

Mr Elliott said Mr Simmonds described firsthand the endeavours Australian troops faced in Afghanistan, in particular the 2008 battle of Khas Uruzgan which at the time was the bloodiest battle since Vietnam.

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“It was in this conflict that Trooper Donaldson earned his Victoria Cross — the first issued since Vietnam,” Mr Elliott said.

“Troy had nine of the 11 Australian Troops engaged in the battle wounded, including him(self).

“To further set the scene, Troy was able to show ‘helmet cam’ of the battle which had the audience riveted.”

The elaborate breakfast also served as a special occasion for attendee Peter (Bazil) Hackett, who was presented the number-one membership from the RSL.

Mr Hackett, who was an anti-aircraft gunner in Darwin during the infamous bombings in 1942, was presented with the membership by Mr Elliott having already been recognised by the RSL nationally and appointed a platinum member of the RSL having been a member for 75 years.

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