Anzac Day: 'life of difference' leads Ian to honour mates

IAN Allsop was only 17 when he joined the Australian Navy in 1959. And in his own words, "it was a life of difference" moving through the service until today.

The Hervey Bay RSL sub-branch member, who has served a decorated 12-year career through the naval service, is marshall for this morning's parade through Hervey Bay as part of his ongoing service to the region's Anzac celebrations.

His work with the RSL has lasted longer than his service history, with Mr Allsop about to recognise 15 years of service for the RSL celebrations.

Former naval serviceman Ian Allsop will lead the parade at the Hervey Bay Dawn Service.
Former naval serviceman Ian Allsop will lead the parade at the Hervey Bay Dawn Service. Blake Antobus

"I'm out there representing the people of the sub-branch and helping our older diggers.

"It means I'm doing my job, what I volunteered for," he said.

"It brings back memories of my day in the service."

By age 18, Mr Allsop was tackling piracy in the South China Sea on the Destroyer Dutchess 154, something he remembered being "exciting" for himself and the young recruits he was stationed with.

In addition to this, he served on escort duties to Vietnam and served as a gunner instructor until 1971, where he was responsible for the discipline of recruits and for instructing firearms use.

But even before he became a decorated serviceman, he had a family he needed to support.

 

Ian Allsop and Harry Smith at the Light Horse Statue Dedication in 2014.
Ian Allsop and Harry Smith at the Light Horse Statue Dedication in 2014. Valerie Horton

"My family was very poor back in the day, I needed special permission from the government to work and support my family," he said.

"I left school at 13-and-a-half to work and earn money to support my family.

"Back then, you needed special permission from the government to leave school and work."

But Mr Allsop doesn't regret his decision.

He said today's celebrations gave him the chance to work with his real mates and honour those who passed through history.

"Anzac means to me, as I get out with fellow mates that I served with, and those that served in different services, we all get to have a chat and bring back memories, chatting to the real old diggers," he said.



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