ANZAC Day - 2002
Phil Bond reports from Brisbane
I struggled with Anzac Day; the feet and legs felt up the creek as I have only been off the crutches for 3 weeks. We had some of the boys come from WA, Mackay, Bribie Is., and the Gold Coast. It was a great day but long.
Four of us marched at Dawn Service and it was the biggest crowd that I have ever seen. The Service was VERY plain with no Chaplain present; the choir was great.
The main march was 120 strong and the largest assembly ever. We had several WW2 Diggers, SVN, Peace Keepers and East Timor personnel; it was a good cross section.
The parade was headed with the RAEME banner with the Australian Flag following, carried by young Luis Bond, my son, and led by the Brig Bob Millar. 106 was led by Frank Maloney.
In the front row, next to the right marker, was a WW2 veteran Maurie Maunsell who was a carpenter and ended up as a fitter and turner with 116 BDE Workshops. As we rounded the corner into Elizabeth Street before commencing the march, there was a shout from the side “Is that you Maurie?” With a clasp and a hug from his mate Vincent, young Maurie told his mate, Vincent Chataway, to get into line.
Record crowds again lined the streets of Brisbane and welcomed all the troops: although many Units' numbers fading with only the Unit banners being carried.
At the end of the Parade, both Maurie and Vincent faced each other with a slight tremble and short for words as this was the first time that they had seen each other since September 1945 when both had served with 116 BDE Workshops and Vincent being a motor mechanic.
Young Maurie who is now 76, headed home in September 1945 and started a furniture factory at Banyo and Vincent who is now 77½, ended up in Japan, Korea and moving to higher places as a Chaplain who is presently with the Department of Veteran Affairs. It was a one fantastic ANZAC Day for all including these two WW2 veterans.
Ross Grant came to the Victory Hotel later in the day to say hello to all the boys.
Milton Pearson reports from Frankston
Well I survived another Anzac Day.
Received a call from Roly Lanham at 1540hrs 24th April that his party of John "Abdul" Bailey - Peter "The Miner" Umina (Pete`s from Bendigo) and Roly`s Dad, Jack, were departing Kealba in the Western Suburbs for Frankston and would arrive in one and half hours.
I duly outfitted their motel room with beer, soft drink, cheese and bikies, barrel of port, bacon and beans, home made chips and more and put up a few posters to make them feel at home. I then filled in the wait with a few stubbies making sure the temperature of the beer was OK.
Some 3 hrs later they arrived and by this time I was in the lounge of the motel owner; now eating his pre-dinner nibbles and trying out his beer also. The boys were treated to a cold stubbie on arrival and we all sat in the lounge of the Manager of the Beach Motel and told yarns, stories and a few home truths.
If there is a better bush poet than Abdul Bailey then I`m yet to meet him/her. After a few hours drinking the "The Miner" was getting hungry. However, the CSM simply said unwind, have a few beers and relax. Peter then said he was hyperglycaemic and needed barley sugar-and within 45 seconds to the rescue came the CSM with a handful of barley sugar. By this time we had taken over the lounge completely and dined on a chinese take-away in their residence.
Back to our room - Bailey top bunk - Jack bottom bunk - Peter on a fold up -Roly "Sleep Apnoea" Lanaham in a single bed and Milt in the double bed. Prior to lights out we tried out the Port (or two). However, the boys were restless so down town for a night cap to the Sportsman`s Bar of the Grand Hotel and it wasn`t long before Milt was drinking triple Irish Whisky.
Back to the motel at two am 25th and jokes were flying till about 2.30+. Fortunately Abdul had to test the bladder at 5.30am and in a flash we headed for the dawn service with the 14degree temperature clearing a few foggy heads.
From the Dawn Service which was very well attended we rolled down the hill to our new home "The Robin Hood" which is a Pommy Pub located in a basement in the heart of Frankston. We sang the "Duke of York had ten thousand men" as we announced our presence.Straight into the beer - The owners May and Michael put on a typical Pommy breakfast of bacon, eggs, black pudding,scotch sausage and more.
At about 9.30am the Lads headed back to the Motel to clean up for the town march and formal service; I stayed on till 10.15am. When I arrived back in our room the four of them were in bed. Another reveille and off to the town march.
The salute was taken by ex-AIF Captain Max Armstrong (92yrs); being Victoria it rained during most of the service.
At the end of service we simply rolled down the hill again to the Robin Hood. Lunch of Beef and Pork spare ribs - potatoe salad and other salads was prepared and donated by "Flowers Brown Junior the 3rd" USMC. "Flowers" thats his christian name was from the Deep South migrating to Oz in the eighties. Flowers was a Drill Sergeant so a demonstration took place using an umbrella - then yours truly doing fancy .303 drill - then a Scots Guard and a ex Sigs Corporal "Dave Hilliers" did rest on arms reverse.
The rest of Anzac Day became blurry.
The CSM was up bright an early on 26th and cooked bacon, beans, toast, orange juice for brekky
Then followed a sight seeing tour of the Mornington Peninsular that took in "Morning Star Winery" - "Arthurs Seat" - "Red Hill Winery" - "Seawinds National Park" where we had morning tea provided by CSM, then "Sorrento Back Beach" - "Delgranny House Portsea" - "London Bridge" finally stopping at the "Portsea Hotel"
I farewelled the Lads at 1430hrs
I look forward to catching up with more 106 soldiers when I attend the 1 Armd Sqn Wksp function in Brisbane in September 2002.