LEST WE FORGET: Hervey Bay RSL president Brian Tidyman and secretary Kev Collins examine the evolution of the rising sun hat pin from World War I to the present day.
LEST WE FORGET: Hervey Bay RSL president Brian Tidyman and secretary Kev Collins examine the evolution of the rising sun hat pin from World War I to the present day. Cody Fox

Sacrifice not just physical: Parallels of wars across our history

WHEN the crowd falls silent to pay their respects tomorrow morning, Brian Tidyman will be thinking of his fallen mates.

The jungles of Vietnam are a stark contrast to the sewer trenches of Gallipoli but the sense of mateship and Australian spirit spans the five decades separating the different battlefronts.

It's been another five decades again since the 21-year-old solider pictured in the black and white photo on the Hervey Bay RSL president's desk returned home from war.

But it would be another 15 years on Australian soil before he would participate in an Anzac Day event because of the RSL's previous stigmas surrounding Vietnam veterans.

However, today, Mr Tidyman is a proud leader of the local echo of more than 100 years on since the first Anzac dawn service in Albany in 1916, before Australian and New Zealand troops left for Egypt.

"The dawn service is aimed at our returned servicemen and the 9.15am morning service is for everyone," he said.

"At the end of the day we have our freedoms today because of the sacrifice made by our service people."

Mr Tidyman draws parallels between all servicemen from World War I to the present day because the sacrifice is not only physical.

"Those guys had to do the same things we did, pick up our lives - raise their families and get on with their mortgages," he said.

"But they did it without the support we have today as far as medical advances. It was shellshock in WWI, battle fatigue in WWII, Korea was the forgotten war although they fired more bullets than a lot of places and today it is PTSD - it is all the same symptoms. You send a normal person to war you never come back the same person as when you left.

 

Hervey Bay RSL's Brian Tidyman and Kev Collins.
Hervey Bay RSL's Brian Tidyman and Kev Collins. Cody Fox

"It's like the old saying. When we left we were 10 foot tall and bulletproof, mate. We were just going to do a job like our forefathers did. And then you come home you have a different perspective because you have seen things other people will never see in their life.

"Having the young ones participate is so important because they are the ones who will carry the mantle. A lot of RSLs have stopped children marching for various reasons. I won't here because of the simple fact they are our future."

Like Mr Tidyman, Anzac Day has a special place in the heart of Hervey Bay RSL secretary Kev Collins, a fourth generation serviceman.

His great-grandfather was in the Boer War, his grandfather was an Anzac at Gallipoli and the western front, and his father was in the Korean War. And Mr Collins followed his father's footsteps into the navy for 12 years.

In the moments of silence he will be thinking about his grandfather.

"He got to Gallipoli a month after it started. Because his ship was torpedoed they had to drag him out of the water and send him back over. He was pulled out of Gallipoli to the western front.

"Eight months to go in the war he was shot in the neck. He made it but he was paralysed and on the dead pile for two days. He was the next one to be buried and the preacher noticed he was still breathing.

"He was sent to England and then sent home, all at age 21 or 22.

"He passed away in 1986, he got to see me join the navy which was pretty special."

SERVICE TIMES FOR THURSDAY

  • Hervey Bay: Parades leave the RSL Club at 5.15am and 9.15am, followed by services at Freedom Park 5.30am (dawn) and 9.45am.
  • Maryborough: Parades start in Adelaide Street at 5.30am and 9am, services will be at the cenotaph in Bazaar St at 5.45am (dawn) and 9.30am.
  • Tiaro: Dawn Service starts at the cenotaph beside the Memorial Hall at 6am.
  • Tinana: Dawn service at the Tinana War Memorial on Gympie Rd starts at 5.40am.
  • Tinnanbar: A dawn service at the flagpole in Pioneer Dr starts at 5.30pm.
  • Toogoom: Service starts 5.45am near the Community Hall, Toogoom Rd.
  • Howard: Dawn service at the cenotaph on William St from 4.28am, the ceremony at Lone Pine, Howard Cemetery starts 6am and the main service at the cenotaph starts 7.30am.
  • Brooweena: Service at the war memorial in Lahey St starts 9am.
  • Burrum Heads: March starts at 8.15am from the boat ramp and makes its way to the memorial in Howard St for an 8.30am service.
  • River Heads: Dawn service from 5.50am at the Community Hall, Ariadne St.
  • Poona: Service starts 5.45am at the memorial in Boronia Dr.


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