ANZAC Day - 2003
Phil Bond reports from Brisbane, Sunny Queensland
It was 0300 hours and time to rise for preparation to attend dawn service in Brisbane, the morning started off cool with a few clouds and light breeze blowing, with only a couple of hours sleep after having a shit night.
I arrived at King George Square at 0405 hours to see
- Ned Schafferius who had traveled down from Mackay.
- Wayne (Skin) Bingham (or "Jack" as he was called in SVN due to his ability to get out of performing duties and swinging the most trips to Saigon.) was also there with his daughter Amanda to greet us.
- Coming from the other direction was John (Abdul) Bailey, with his son Maurie wearing his Great Grand Dads WW1 medals.
- Roly (Radar) Lanham also made the effort to travel from Melbourne the previous day with his old dad Jack, who served during WWII and of cause at the tail end was young Jodie Lanham, Roly's daughter.
This was a typical to a 106 dawn service gathering each year. After we got past the greeting stage and complementing each other about our physiques at 118 and 120kg (Bond and Lanham) it was time to line up for the morning march to ANZAC Square.
The Parade Marshall lined us up in 3 rows and it should have been 4 rows, and the Lord Almighty just sent several drops down to let us know he was thinking of us.
Some 220+ marched from King George Square to ANZAC Square, with the area totally congested with people in ANZAC Square, surrounding area, and walkways were packed to capacity and the largest attendance for who know when.
Dawn Service kicked of at 0428hrs with the bugler playing the last post (missed some notes) but otherwise did a good job.
The address was by Major General Peter Arnison, kept it short and sweet, with a boys school choir did a great job.
The wreath laying ceremony was also short and to the point. (looking at some of the senior officers and their shiny spit polished shoes, I just wondered who really did the job, some poor batman I suppose!!!).
ANZAC Day dawn service was another success and attended by record crowds who have come out to support all veterans and the present forces in IRAQ and around the world.
It was then off to Gaythorne / Michelton RSL for a few rum and milks (which I had to leave due to never-ending health problems) with the 106 lads enjoying more rum and milks for another half hour before their leisurely stroll around the block for another dawn service / more refreshments.
At 0930hours, I received a phone call from the CSM (Milton Pearson) who had just cooked breakfast for his small band (Peter Galagher, Rocky Camps and retired Major J.J Smith MC & Bar) after attending the service in Frankston. Once again the CSM was checking up on his lads and conveyed the best to all for the ANZAC Day gathering.
The ANZAC Parade in Brisbane commenced at 1030hours, with a fly by of F111's.
Claude Palmer was there as always to say good day to all his boys but rarely marches.
Others in attendance were
- Frank Maloney,
- Kevin Chase (Charlie to his mates who also spent 1 in 6 days on CB in country / and always reminds Claude that he could have had him for life, instead of the 3 days CB he received for sticking his rifle muzzle into the mud on a snap rifle inspection after or several AD's at some nogs, on return trip from Vung Tau.
- Other's at the parade were
- John (Abdul) Bailey
- Roly Lanham
- Trevor Henderson
- Ned Schafferius
- Doug Goetze
- Danny Gablonski
- Ernie Hartshawn
- Alex McMaster
- John Power
- Ken Leckenby
- Neil Brewer
- Les Edis
- Graham Leslie
- Bob Ludlow
- Les Pederson
- Gary Sargent
- Brian Daley
- and many more that I know the faces and forget the names.
Behind the RAEME Banner, the Australian Flag was carried by my son Luis Bond and the parade was led by the John Power.
Record crowds again lined the streets of Brisbane and welcomed all the troops, with many carrying signs of THANK YOU
Although the older veteran numbers are fading, many family members are now marching with their Father's, Grand Father's and Great Grand Father's medals which is good to see.
Again it was a one fantastic ANZAC Day and at the end of the Parade we adjourned to the Port Office Hotel for drinks and meeting old friends.
ANZAC Day always brings back a memory of some 8 years ago when we were gathered at the Embassy Hotel; typical of officers, Frank Maloney, Les Edis and Jim Host were having a drink with their own group when Roly Lanham walked up placing his arms around Frank Maloney and Les Edis shoulders
Les "And what rank did you hold Roly?"
Lanham "Lance Corporal,Les".
Rod Bowen reports from Melbourne
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