An Anzac story rarely told
Anzac Day, 2011 and this morning I was proud to again accompany my Dad to the Dawn Service, to remember those who served, including those who paid “the ultimate sacrifice”.
I want to speak of my Dad’s military service, someone who fortunately returned home again, but who was part of a group that has received very little acknowledgement.
My Dad was a member of BCOF, the British Commonwealth Occupation Forces. He joined the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as soon as he was old enough, but he was just finishing training when “cessation of hostilities” was declared. When he was sent overseas, it was to Japan, as part of the occupation forces. He served 3 years in Japan, including time in and near Hiroshima, very shortly after that city was hit by a nuclear bomb. He too saw and had to do some horrific things as part of that service (only once has he really opened up and spoken about some of them).
He too has health issues as a result of that military service, but there has been very little acknowledgement for military service “after the war was over”. Only fairly recently was BCOF service even acknowledged at the War Memorial. After his return from Japan Dad joined the Citizen Forces and, when it formed, the Citizen Air Force, as “an original” (one of those who joined in 1948).
Our first thought at Anzac Day may rightly be for the Diggers and the debacle and lives lost in 1915 at what is now known as Anzac Cove. We remember also too many other battles when our young men and women served and perhaps died for their country.
But we should remember also the contribution of all those others who also “answered duty’s call” and served in other ways, the peace makers and the peace keepers.
Lest we forget.
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