The tears will flow

Southern Gazette (Belmont) - - NEWS - Aaron Cor­lett

JACK Matthews will get emotional dur­ing the pe­riod of si­lence at to­day’s Anzac Day Dawn Ser­vice in Vic­to­ria Park.

The Vic­to­ria Park RSL sub­branch war­den and Bent­ley res­i­dent (90) said when he re­flected on his on war ser­vice and that of other vet­er­ans, he could feel the his­tory and emo­tion.

“I have a bit of a cry; it comes up on you,” he said.

“It’s a bit like if you are with friends and some­one says some­thing you do not like; it up­sets you and you get up­tight.”

Mr Matthews served in the Korean War with the 1st and 2nd bat­tal­ions.

“My dad had been in World War I and my brothers had been in World War II, so I fol­lowed on,” he said.

“I spent most of my life in the bush and I wasn’t used to dis­ci­pline.

“I lived across the Top End in cat­tle sta­tions, drov­ing down to Queensland from the Kim­ber­ley and the North­ern Ter­ri­tory.

Mr Matthews said he felt “full of beans” when he ar­rived in the Korea penin­sula in July 1952.

“I saw the lat­ter part of the war when they were in a static sit­u­a­tion,” he said.

“We used to sleep at night and take pa­trols dur­ing the day. You had to look af­ter your­self and your mate’s back.”

Mr Matthews said when the war was over and he came back to WA to drive trucks, he felt a bond with oth­ers who had served.

“I went into a pub and spoke to a World War II bloke; you can pick up a con­ver­sa­tion with them be­cause they had been where you’d been,” he said.

“Any­one that’s been un­der fire will never be the same when they come back.

“I just went back to work. The men­tal health is­sues did not come back un­til later if you keep your­self busy and I was try­ing to make money out of my truck. That suited me.

“The only thing about the DVA (the Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans’ Af­fairs) now is that they get onto them early so whether that helps them, I don’t know.”

Mr Matthews helped form the Kelm­scott-Pinjarra 10th Lighthorse Me­mo­rial Troop, which helps re­mem­ber the reg­i­ment that served dur­ing World War I.

“It started in 2001; dur­ing the cel­e­bra­tion of the con­fed­er­a­tion we rode down to Al­bany,” he said.

“It took nine days and we got there on Anzac Day for the big com­mem­o­ra­tion.

“We came back and my mate (Merv Wilson) was a Vietnam veteran and we de­cided be­tween us to start up the re-en­act­ment troop.”

Veteran Jack Matthews.

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