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Trading old war stories

This year's Anzac Day in the Whitsundays will mark as a renunion for RAR A Company Six Battalian Vietnam vets Ian Lade (Sugarloaf), Ernie Dare, Mal Nicholls, Chris Weigand (Sugarloaf) and Ray Corry.
This year's Anzac Day in the Whitsundays will mark as a renunion for RAR A Company Six Battalian Vietnam vets Ian Lade (Sugarloaf), Ernie Dare, Mal Nicholls, Chris Weigand (Sugarloaf) and Ray Corry.

ANZAC Day is arguably Australia’s most important national day.

It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.

This year is very special for Proserpine RSL sub branch members Ian Lade and Chris Weigand.

The two Sugarloaf residents will be joined in the Whitsundays by 80 other diggers who served their country in the Vietnam War, most of whom served in the same unit, between the years of 1966 and 1970.

Every two years the Royal Australian Regiment (RAR) Alpha Company 6 Battalion reunion is held at venues throughout Australia. This year it has come back to the site of the first reunion held in 1993.

The reunion guest of honour is former 6 Battalion Commander, Lt. Co. David Butler, now Major General AO. DSO. ’retired’, who was the recipient of an American Silver Star during the Korean campaign.

Also attending is Mick Storen the brother-in-law of Redgum singer John Schumann who tells the story of Frankie Hunt in the Vietnam War through the eyes of Storen in the classic Australian song “I was Only 19”.

Mr Lade said he was looking forward to catching up with old mates.

“We’ll let a few stories loose,” he said.

“It wasn’t nice [Vietnam], but it’s all the good things we remember.

“I could probably fill a book with all the silly things we got up to while we were over there.”

The official A Company reunion will be a military style dinner at the Proserpine RSL sub branch on April 23. Money raised from the auction and money left over from ongoing costs will go directly overseas to A Company soldiers currently serving. The dinner will be partly funded by the Whitsunday Regional Council. On Anzac Day the A Company members will attend services in Proserpine.

Anzac Day Services and Times

Proserpine: Dawn Service, 5.30am at Proserpine Cenotaph (outside Proserpine Entertainment Centre). March: Meet at Proserpine RSL sub branch at 9.30am for 9.45am march followed by Main Service at 10am (Proserpine Cenotaph.)

Airlie Beach: Dawn Service, 5.45am at Cannonvale Cenotaph (Altmann Avenue). March: Meet at Broadwater Avenue car park (Airlie Beach) at 8.30am for 9am step-off, with the Main Service being held at the foreshore at about 9.15am.


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