Ques­tions still haunt vet­eran

Southern Gazette (Victoria Park) - - News - Bron­wyn Dono­van

RE­MEM­BRANCE Day is a time to stop and re­flect on the sac­ri­fices made by Aus­tralian ser­vice per­son­nel, a no­tion not lost on vet­eran Gra­ham Dolton.

The Como res­i­dent (94) and South Perth RSL mem­ber joined the army at 16 years old.

He served for six years dur­ing World War II, two of them as a com­mando in New Guinea on the We­wak cam­paign.

Mr Dolton served in the 6th di­vi­sion and said he wit­nessed the sign­ing of the San Fran­cisco Peace Treaty with his gen­eral Cor­nel Robin­son.

“We lost a lost of men dur­ing the (We­wak) cam­paign; my very best friend got killed,” Mr Dolton said.

“Ev­ery night we had to put out booby traps, so any en­emy com­ing would trip a wire and a hand grenade would go off; a very dan­ger­ous thing set­ting up booby traps and ev­ery man had to do it, tak­ing turns.

“It came to my turn once again and I had an ur­gent mes­sage com­ing through on the ra­dio so I said I could not do it; my friend said he would and I don’t know what hap­pened. No­body will ever know what hap­pened, but he blew him­self up.”

Mr Dolton said he had vis­ited his friend’s grave a few times and al­ways won­dered what if it had been him and whether he did the right thing.

The City of South Perth, to­gether with the South Perth RSL, will com­mem­o­rate Re­mem­brance Day at the South Perth War Memo­rial on Satur­day from 10.45am to 11.45am.

South Perth RSL pres­i­dent Justin Reagen said he hoped about 200 peo­ple would at­tend the ser­vice com­mem­o­rat­ing the 99th an­niver­sary of the ces­sa­tion of hos­til­i­ties in the Great War.

The City of Bel­mont RSL will un­veil a plaque dur­ing its Re­mem­brance Day ser­vice, fol­low­ing a cen­tury since the Bat­tle of Beer­sheba, which is con­sid­ered as one of the last great cavalry charges.

The Town of Vic­to­ria Park will once again hon­our and re­mem­ber fallen ser­vice­men and women at a cer­e­mony in the Memo­rial Gar­dens.

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