Veteran takes final march after unveiling city memorial
WITH the sound of the bugler behind them Ipswich veterans took centre stage at the unveiling of the city's newest war memorial.
Thousands packed into the grounds of Workshops Rail Museum at 7.30am for the dedication and blessing of the All Conflicts Memorial.
A solid panel of marble pays tribute to those who served our nation in World War II and all conflicts in the Australian Armed Services or as Queensland Railway employees.
RAAF ground crew veteran Doug Simonds helped remove the Australian flag draped on the memorial, which he has taken some credit for.
A few years earlier the 94-year old put his hand up and asked if a plinth could be establish to "commemorate those who worked in the railway prior to going to service".
"I don't think there are too many of the old railway employees alive," he said.
As the hour-long dedication and service continued, the crisp morning air was broken by the rays of a warm sun creeping high into the sky.
Veterans stood side-by-side with school children - whose futures are secure thanks to their past military service.
Ipswich Railway RSL Sub Branch president Ray Watherston praised the turnout and said the new plinth would ensure all conflicts were remembered.
"There's no memorials really for anybody from World War II, since," he said.
Another six marble panels will be established to cover conflicts from World War I to now.
The RSL sub branch will spend the next few months locating photos and securing support for the extra plinths.
Funerals are common and each year Mr Watherston notices the fewer diggers who attend Anzac Day commemorations.
"A lot of my mates from Vietnam, they're gone - you've got to remember them," he said.
"One of the things that draws your attention it is when you get the RSL newspaper - the deaths in the back. There's pages of it.
"We did about six funerals this year from our members and I think we've got about 13 over 90s in our sub branch now."
Mr Simonds has decided to scale back his involvement in commemorative services and said this year's walk through the city would be his last.
"I'll still keep coming to the RSL Anzac Day service but I won't be marching any more," he said.
After Mr Simonds joined the RAAF he was sent to Sydney, Nowra, Melbourne and Adelaide.
"Eventually they put us onboard a ship and took us on a sea voyage and put us on an island for a holiday," he laughed.
"That is all I ever told the wife."
We now know that "island holiday" as the Battle of Morotai - part of the Pacific War against Japan.