If there was only one reason to go to next week’s Anzac Day services, 99-year-old Max Hammond would be it.
The World War II veteran, who served in both the Middle East and the Pacific, marks April 25 as a sacred day on the calendar.
“To me, it’s to honour the chaps you went to war with who didn’t come home. We left some awfully good people behind who laid their lives down for this country,” Mr Hammond said of the significance of Anzac Day.
“We did it hard and we remember the fellas that didn’t come back. That’s what it’s all about, mateship. We just remember those fellas, we come in their honour.”
Mr Hammond said the younger generations were showing a growing interest in the ceremony.
“It shows to me the respect that the citizens of Warrnambool, schools in particular, show to we veterans. It’s amazing the respect these kids show towards us,” he said.
Mr Hammond turns 100 in December, which would make him the first Warrnambool veteran to reach the milestone.
Fellow veteran Margaret Morton served in the Women's Royal Australian Naval Service at the Cerberus training base during the Second World War.
“It was the best time of my life. It was the meeting of the people, the other girls, I made some fantastic friends and I still keep in touch with a few,” she said.
“I march in Warrnambool and Dennington (on Anzac Day). I’m very proud, actually, of the service, because I was there myself but also because of my family, my siblings.”
Now 91, Mrs Morton has been selling badges for a local Anzac Appeal for many years.
RSL president John Miles said badge sellers were out in force at Warrnambool’s shopping centres and main streets.
Mr Miles said all money raised from the appeal would go towards veterans and their families.
“We’ve got younger veterans coming in seeking assistance. We just need penny to help them,” he said.
“We’re hoping people will dig deep and support our appeal. Every cent that is raised will go to what it is meant to go to.
“If people donate $1 that $1 will go towards RSL welfare.”
- Warrnambool’s Anzac Day commemorations will begin with the dawn service at 6am next Wednesday. The march will gather at 5.45am outside the library before making its way to the war memorial. Due to the Liebig Street works, the march before the 11am service will begin on Timor Street outside the bowling alley at 10.45am.