Veteran Kiwi medics' incredible story of finding love in war
THROUGH the worst kind of death and destruction in war can sprout the most unlikely story of a lifetime of love.
Nestled inconspicuously in the crowd at the Ipswich RSL Anzac Day dawn service was New Zealand defence veterans, Christine and Watson Young.
They are two of the dwindling number of veterans who have seen first-hand the effects of war.
Christine served as an Aircrafts Woman in the air force and Watson as a corporal on the ground with the army.
He joined the New Zealand Army as a medic.
Not too far away, ACW Young joined the air force in the same role, hoping to help the young men returning injured.
"I nursed a few boys coming back from Vietnam and just did some general duties on base when pilots were training," she said.
"A medic always had to be in the town in case a plane went down they could instantly be in the chopper."
CPL Young had returned from two years in Malaysia when he was then deployed for active service.
"I flew on medium transports as a medic because they had to have a medic onboard going over war zones," he said.
He was attached to 41 Squadron and remembers the feeling flying over Saigon in the days after the Vietnam war.
"It was unique because it was after the combat troops had pulled out, this was early 1973," he said.
"The North Vietnamese were actually in the streets of Saigon and so that was quite eerie because we weren't allowed to carry weapons because it was an armistice."
During the war, CPL Young was seconded as a medical staffer to a remote military base on New Zealand's north island where Christine Neil was working.
"He thought he was my boss," she laughed.
"I knew it was love, meant to be straight away
"We got married within five months... that was 44 years ago."
The couple's military history goes back well before their love began.
CPL Young's grandfather was killed during the Battle of Hill 60, an ambitious plan to advance on the Western Front.
His two uncles were killed in the First World War and his father, a glider pilot in the first airborne division during the Second World War, was captured by the Japanese.
The couple now sits hand-in-hand on Anzac Day remembering family who served and have fallen.
"My father-in-law meant a lot to me and it means I can see him on Anzac morning quite clearly," ACW Young said.
"It's the stories that he told that come to mind.
"He was very proud of anyone who served."
"To me, it's remembering the servicemen who have served, especially those who forfeited their lives," CPL Watson added.
"It's also about the civilian casualties as well."