High school history buffs who won the educational trip of a lifetime, farewelled family and friends on Thursday at a special reception at the Anzac Memorial Auditorium before leaving on the ClubsNSW Premier’s WWII Memorial Tour.

Minister for Transport and Veterans David Elliott and ClubsNSW CEO Josh Landis hosted the reception for the six students who scored top marks to win a seat on the 11-day tour which will take them to historic WWII sites in Hiroshima, Japan and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Mr Elliott said he was impressed with the enthusiasm of the year 11 students who had to write a 1000 word essay answering the question ‘Are the lessons of WWII still relevant today?’

“These students are from wide ranging backgrounds but all share a common interest in WWII history and the importance of understanding how the past helps shape our future,” Mr Elliott said.

Mr Elliott said the ClubsNSW Premier’s WWII Memorial Tour gives students opportunities to develop their knowledge and understanding of the history of World War II including the attack on Pearl Harbor and atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

A highlight of the trip has already included travelling to Hiroshima on the Bullet train with Premier Dominic Perrottet followed by a tour to the Atomic Bomb Dome before walking to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. The group will also take a guided tour to the Children’s Peace Monument, Peace Memorial Park.

“While on this trip, these young leaders from their school community have the opportunity to represent not only their schools but also their country as they pay their respects at significant sites that represent the most pivotal moments in the Second World War,” Mr Elliott said.

Mr Landis said the tour provided an incredible opportunity for these Year 11 students to learn about history first-hand, and witness the sacrifices made by those on both sides of World War Two in the Pacific.

“ClubsNSW is thrilled to fund this program once again and proud to teach a new generation about significant moments in history,” Mr Landis said.

“The six winning students really impressed me with their essays discussing the lessons of World War Two and whether they are still relevant today — they are all very deserving of this incredible educational opportunity.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the students immerse themselves in Japanese culture in Tokyo and learn more about World War II first-hand on our visits to Hiroshima and Pearl Harbor,” he said.

Highlights of the trip will include:

 Yokota Air Base – opened by the Imperial Japanese Army in March 1940. In September 1945, American forces took charge of all weapons, and base security, and have since used the air base for numerous operations.

 Yokohama Commonwealth War Cemetery – the final resting place of Australian service personnel who died while interned in Prisoner of War camps in Japan during World War II. Established in 1945 by the Australian War Graves group it is the only war cemetery in Japan administered by the Commonwealth
War Graves Commission.

 Wreath laying at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific – a memorial in Honolulu which honours those who have served in the United States Armed Forces.

 US Pacific Fleet Remembrance Barge – tour of Fort island and USS Arizona Memorial – built over the remains of the sunken battleship, the final resting place for many of the 1,177 crewmen killed on December 7, 1941, when their ship was bombed by Japanese Naval Forces

 USS Missouri – Japan formally surrendered aboard this vessel in Tokyo Bay, ending World War II. The “Mighty Mo” was the last US battleship ever built and the last to be decommissioned.

The group will return to Sydney on Sunday 31 July.

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