Ride to hon­our the fallen

Southern Telegraph - - Front Page - Ai­den Boy­ham

A Viet­nam vet­eran from Meadow Springs will take off on a unique ride this Satur­day, with 71-year-old Rob Eade set to be­gin a three-year jour­ney which will see him lay flags across Aus­tralia in hon­our of those who have per­ished in com­bat.

Mr Eade will lay flags at war memo­ri­als in ev­ery town where a Dig­ger from Viet­nam through to present con­flicts paid the ul­ti­mate sac­ri­fice, ei­ther in the town they en­listed or the town of their birth.

Trav­el­ling with his trusty com­pan­ion Ginge, a red heeler, Mr Eade’s jour­ney is fully self-funded and will see him lay about 600 flags dur­ing a jour­ney which is ex­pected to last al­most three years.

The first known ride of its kind in Aus­tralian his­tory, Mr Eade said he was in­spired by a video of Amer­i­can man Mike Ehredt, who ran across the United States lay­ing a flag ev­ery mile for each life lost in the Afghanistan con­flict.

“He’s laid over 6550 flags,” Mr Eade said.

“He ran a marathon ev­ery day for 81 days to com­plete his task and by the end of the video I had tears in my eyes see­ing him do it.

“No­body has ever thought of do­ing it in Aus­tralia, so I thought to my­self I’m go­ing to do this.”

Orig­i­nally from Cess­nock in New South Wales, Mr Eade served 21 years in the Aus­tralian army as a cook.

He spent al­most 12 months in Nui Dat dur­ing the Viet­nam War and re­flects grate­fully on the fact he made it through the con­flict un­scathed, but never for­gets those who lost their lives.

“I was a cook, I was lucky,” he said.

“I did have to per­form other du­ties — I’ve done a cou­ple pa­trols and they were ex­pected of us.

“They weren’t big ones but they did scare me, not know­ing what was go­ing to hap­pen.

“But I’m still here and there are 520 of us that didn’t come home.”

His ride will also co­in­cide with the 50th an­niver­sary of the Bat­tle of Long Tan.

Mr Eade will start his jour­ney in Bal­divis from the To­tally and Par­tially Dis­abled Veter­ans Club­house on Satur­day at 9.30am.

Mem­bers from the Rock­ing­ham Sub Branch of the Mil­i­tary Brother­hood Mil­i­tary Mo­tor­cy­cle Club will join him on his way down to Col­lie.

Af­ter lay­ing flags in the South West, Mr Eade will then travel to Kal­go­or­lie be­fore cross­ing the Nullar­bor into South Aus­tralia to con­tinue his jour­ney across the East­ern States.

Pic­ture: Ai­den Boy­ham

Viet­nam vet­eran Rob Eade and his trusty com­pan­ion Ginge will de­part this Satur­day on a three-year jour­ney lay­ing flags at war memo­ri­als around the coun­try to hon­our those who lost their lives in com­bat.

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