On the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month, while countries across the Commonwealth honour members of the armed forces who have died in the line of duty, Launceston Grammar School plans to pay tribute to one of its own alumni.
Corporal Richard Atkinson was educated at Trevallyn Primary School and Launceston Grammar, before joining the Darwin-based 1st Combat Engineer Regiment of the Australian Army in 2007.
According to the Department of Defence, he was promoted to lance corporal in 2009 and displayed strong leadership in bringing his section together during their preparation for operations in Afghanistan.
His dedication to his section was rewarded with his promotion to corporal just before deployment.
In 2011, while leading his combat engineer section as a search commander, Corporal Atkinson was killed in action at the age of 22.
Corporal Atkinson was the first Tasmanian and 22nd Australian killed in Afghanistan.
His funeral was held at St John's Anglican Church in Launceston and was attended by many noteworthy Australians, including then-prime minister Julia Gillard and federal opposition leader Tony Abbott.
Launceston Grammar headmaster Richard Ford said seeing as though 2021 was the year that the war in Afghanistan officially ended, Launceston Grammar's grade 12 cohort thought it would be fitting to remember a past student of the school, who paid the ultimate sacrifice for his country.
"Throughout the course of this week, students are reflecting on the service of people in our community who have sacrificed for the society that they're privileged to be a part of today," he said.
Head of senior campus Nick Foster reflected on Richard's time at the school and described him as a talented athlete who had a happy nature and was very well respected by his peers.
"He was a leader within the school," he said.
Grade 10 student Thomas Beaumont believed that it was important to reflect on the work that Australian soldiers had undertaken, as well as to appreciate the positive impact that they have made.
"To see he was just like one of us at one stage of his life is just inspiring," he said.
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