THERE'S a tinge of sadness in Jim Vick's proud smile as he is presented with a special military clasp for his World War II service with Bomber Command.
The 91-year-old Warrnambool resident is the only surviving member of his 10 Squadron crew who flew throughout the legendary European operation, which carried out thousands of raids against German and Italian forces and cost the lives of more than 55,000 aircrew.
"There were seven of us in the crew and I'm the last man standing," he said as Wannon MP Dan Tehan presented a special Bomber Command ribbon clasp which will be displayed with Mr Vick's five military service medals.
"Hopefully the families of all eligible men in Bomber Command will also be able to receive a clasp. It's important for them."
Two years ago Mr Vick and his wife Patricia went to England with 108 other veteran Australian veterans for a Bomber Command reunion.
A total of 10,000 Australian aircrew served in the multi-national operation 3486 of them were killed in action and 650 in training operations.
Mr Vick still has a piece of his parachute used when he bailed out on his last mission in 1945 after an engine caught fire, plus the ripcord ring, a silk map, flight plans and compass.
After the war he returned to the family farm at Framlingham, raised a family and became involved in various community organisations, including 60 years with the fire brigade, 50 years with the RSL and 40-plus as a Legatee.
Mr Tehan said he was honoured to present the clasp.
"Thank you for your efforts in World War II they were incredibly important," he told Mr Vick.
"I'll contact Veterans Affairs Minister Michael Ronaldson to make sure efforts are made to notify families about eligibility for the clasp."