Aaron Bunch Journalist with Australian Associated Press | Collection of published work | + 61 484 008 119 | abunch@aap.com.au

Aaron Bunch
ANZAC vets march with pride in Brisbane

Crowds have cheered as thousands of serving and ex-servicemen and women marched through Brisbane’s streets on Anzac Day.

April 25, 2019

Veteran Paul La Forest says he owes it to his mates, who were killed in Vietnam, to march in Brisbane’s Anzac Day parade.

The 74-year-old spent a year and a day near Nui Dat with Tiger Battalion after he was conscripted for service in 1965.

“Marching is my tribute to my mates who got killed – I just feel like I owe them that to turn up today,” he told AAP.

“I was there on the first day of battle when Errol Noack, the first national serviceman to die, was killed from our platoon.”

Mr La Forest said remembering his fallen mates on Anzac Day leaves him feeling sombre about his time in Vietnam.

“Pride and sadness, it’s a whole mixture but it’s always good to see my mates,” he said.

He joined about 3000 serving defence force personnel, veterans and other commemorating members of the public to march down Adelaide Street on Thursday.

Sandra Davis, 71, marched to remember her father, Bill, who captured in Singapore during World War II.

Mr Wharton spent three and a half years as a prisoner of war at Changi Prison before returning to Australia with a secret diary and sketches now housed at the Australian War Memorial.

“I used to march with my father until he passed away in 2009.”

“Now I march for him,” she said.

Ms Davis was cheered on by thousands of people who lined the streets to watch the parade as she marched with other descendants of Australian servicemen and women.

Standing on the footpath and waving a small flag, Kerry Thompson said she rarely missed an Anzac Day parade.

“I’ve had a grandfather serve, I’ve got two nephews serving – you wouldn’t miss this,” she said as hundreds of uniformed servicemen and women marched past to the tunes of a brass band.

“I love getting involved, it’s great seeing so much Australian pride.”

Retired nurse Honorary Colonel Wendy Taylor said was an honour taking part.

“It’s unbelievable, all you hear is cheering and clapping from the side of the road,” she said.

Colonel Taylor said she’s also looking forward to catching up with the people she’s served with during her 24 years with the Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps after the march.

“These are people you served with and it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been apart you’re always friends,” she said.

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