Army officer remembered

Army officer remembered
A traditional surfer’s paddle out was held across Australia on February 14 to honour the late Major Matthew Carr.

Major Carr was a former president of the Army Surfriders Association and passed away on January 31 after a long battle with cancer.

The paddle outs were an indication of the feeling of loss in the wider Defence community from Maj Carr’s passing. 

They were held on the waters of Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra, Cronulla in Sydney, Currumbin on the Gold Coast and Glenelg in Adelaide to remember the popular officer, surfer, friend and mentor to many.

Maj Carr was born in Dubbo, NSW, in 1976 and following training at ADFA and RMC he was commissioned into the RAAC and posted to 2 Cav Regt in Darwin where he began a promising career in the ADF. 

At the age of 25, while posted to ARTC Kapooka, he was diagnosed with advanced stage three testicular cancer, which had spread through his lymphatic system and had established a number of secondary malignant tumours in his abdomen, lungs and neck.  

In the following years, Maj Carr battled with cancer on-and-off, enduring life-threatening operations and holding an unenviable record for blood transfusions at the Royal Price Alfred Hospital in Sydney.

Despite the severity of his cancer, treatments and complications since his original diagnosis, Maj Carr was able to continue his service and deployed to the Middle East on active duty. 

In 2009 he published a book about his battle with cancer and was later awarded a CA Scholarship, graduating from the Australian National University with a Masters in Applied Anthropology in July 2013.  

He generously gave his time to the Cancer Council, speaking at functions and sitting on an advisory panel to help communicate with men about cancer.

In his book Battle Scars: A Soldier’s Strategy for Fighting Cancer, Maj Carr detailed his years of rolling battles fought across his body and across the globe: “I was going to be cut open several times and be submitted to chemical warfare through chemotherapy. Contrary to any heroic ideal, the battle I fought was going to see me taking hits and being knocked down – injured over and over again. My only solace was going to be a determined spirit that allowed me to constantly pick myself up again, dust myself off, and get ready for the next round.”

At his funeral in Nelson Bay, NSW, on February 9, Chap Kerry Bartlett, a friend of Maj Carr’s for almost 20 years, said his last conversations were with “a man of an established wisdom and immaculate courage”.

“He had walked the long road of illness with poise, grace and calm,” he said.

“I gave thanks for his life and for his great and generous presence. 

“He was a mana-personality: one who could energise, empower and inspire. His spirituality was as broad and as encompassing as his character. Matt was a warrior in the truest sense of the word.” 

Maj Carr is survived by his wife, Michelle, and two young children, Mason and Monique.  

An online memorial has been created at www.heavenaddress.com/Major-Matthew-Carr/914658/ and more information regarding his book is available at www.battlescars.com.au

Last updated
6 September 2016