australian-diggers

Aussie soldiers trek South Pole with Harry

Two Australian soldiers who’ve overcome injuries sustained in Afghanistan will race against Prince Harry in a trek to the South Pole.

Private Heath Jamieson, who was shot in the neck in 2011 and had to learn to walk again, is one of two Australian diggers competing against the USA and the United Kingdom - led by Prince Harry - in an international challenge for wounded soldiers in December.

He and Brisbane’s Corporal Seamus Donaghue, who was shot in the leg during an insurgency in Afghanistan, will join two wounded Canadian soldiers to make up the Commonwealth team.

The trek is a partnership between Australian charity Soldier On and its British counterpart, Walking With The Wounded.

During the expedition to the South Pole, the three teams will race across Antarctica in temperatures of minus 45 degrees Celsius and 90km/h winds.

The Aussies have already undertaken cold weather training in Iceland, with another training camp scheduled before the trek in December.

Corporal Donaghue says the challenge is similar to rehabilitation - as much mental as it is physical.

“It’s a long road, and you can start to doubt yourself,” he said on Monday.

“It’s important that you push yourself beyond your injury.

"Going on these treks will hopefully inspire others who are in rehabilitation and tell them that amazing things are still possible.”

In the spirit of friendly competition, Prince Harry has already offered to have cups of tea waiting for the other soldiers when they cross the finish line behind the British.

But the Australian diggers have other ideas.

“I don’t drink tea,” Corporal Donaghue said.

“I think we’ll have one waiting for him,” Private Heath Jamieson said.

“A beer would be much better to have than tea.”

Nine Australian soldiers of 1 Section, 1 Platoon, A Coy, 10th Battalion from South Australia who all enlisted in 1914. Six would die either at Gallipoli, France, or as a result of war experience:

No. 159 John Rutherford Gordon. After Gallipoli he returned to Australia medically unfit in April 1916. On 1 May 1917 he enlisted in the Australian Flying corps and served in France.

No. 40 Francis Herbert Stokes, a clerk. He was killed in action at Gallipoli on 27 April 1915.

No. 33 Guy Fisher, a law clerk. He was wounded in action on at Gallipoli 27 April 1915 and returned to Australia. He died on 27 August 1968.

No. 41a Eric Douglas Meldrum, a civil servant. He received a shrapnel wound which fractured his left forearm at Gallipoli. Meldrum returned to Australia but committed suicide on 8 April 1922.

No. 638 Philip de Quetteville Robin, a bank teller. He was killed in action on 25 April 1915 at Gallipoli.

No. 47 Thomas Anderson Whyte. He was wounded at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915 and died of his wounds on H.M.T. Gascon. He was buried at sea.

No. 31 Arthur Seaforth Blackburn VC received the Victoria Cross for most conspicuous bravery at Pozieres in France. He enlisted again in World War Two and served in the Middle East before being posted to Java to take command, was captured by the Japanese and became a prisoner of war. He survived both wars, dying on 24 November 1960.

No. 38 Wilfred Oswald Jose was born in China and was killed in action in France on 3 April 1917.

No. 268 Malcolm Teesdale Smith, a clerk. He was killed in action on 27 April 1915 at Gallipoli.