Victoria Cross recipient Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith. Photo: Melissa Adams
Victoria Cross recipient Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith will join three children whose fathers were killed in Afghanistan in next week's Anzac Day veterans' march at the Australian War Memorial.
The Memorial announced today the children of Sergeant Matthew Locke MG and Sergeant Blaine Diddams will travel from Perth for the ceremony.
Corporal Roberts-Smith said it was a great honour to march with the children of his soldier mates, Sergeant Locke's son Keegan, 17, and Sergeant Diddams' daughter Elle-Lou, 16, and son Henry, 14.
"[They were] both outstanding soldiers, who have made the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan, and who were my mates," he said.
"These children will never again feel their fathers' touch or hear their kind words, but they will be proud of their service and the legacy they have left.
"Their sacrifice is enduring, and we can never forget that."
Corporal Roberts-Smith said the march signified an important understanding by the general public that freedom is not free.
"As a returned serviceman, I know that all those who march do so for those who can't," he said.
"It is our responsibility to remember our fallen and the sacrifices that they have made.
"Equally important is remembering the sacrifice of their families."
Australian War Memorial director Brendan Nelson has encouraged veterans of recent conflicts and their families to participate in the Memorial's Dawn Service and the National Ceremony next Thursday.
"Anzac Day is about coming together with loved ones, to remember those who are no longer with us and to honour those who have served or are still serving on our behalf," he said.
Dr Nelson said the three children represented all the families who feel the daily impact of lives lost at war.
"In marching they are demonstrating the courage of their fathers and we owe it to them to show that we admire and deeply appreciate what they have given for our nation," he said.
The children of Locke and Diddams will march wearing their fathers' medals.
Sergeant Matthew Locke was killed by Taliban insurgent small-arms fire in October 2007, and was awarded the Medal for Gallantry in December 2006.
Sergeant Blaine Diddams was killed during a small-arms engagement with insurgents in July last year