STEVE Price’s column “Reliving memories of war heroes” brought back memories to me also, along, no doubt, with many others lucky enough to have been part of that heart- wrenching re- enactment.
I was there on the platform of the old Townsville railway station to welcome that nostalgic VP50 steam- driven troop train that night with the old wooden Sunlander carriages, belching smoke and clanging side rods, the same as during the war years, just as if time had stood still.
Tears ran down my cheeks as they had when as a young boy, I stood many times on that same platform in the dark days of 1942- 44, when troop trains going north and south were a daily occurrence, along with the white painted hospital trains as they travelled south with their sombre human cargo.
In those days, Townsville was virtually a frontline city and the railway station was the hub of military activity in North Queensland. I will surely carry the memories of those solemn war years to my grave.
As Steve said, the accompanying celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the war’s end was absolute perfection and a better script to highlight the event could not have been written.
I was also a spectator during the VP60 march along The Strand, where once again tears streamed down my face as the veterans who were able, marched proudly, and those who could not march, rode in jeeps or similar, and I can remember the tears that flowed to match mine on many of the lined faces of those heroes who must never be forgotten.
“Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.”
No doubt VP70 will be just as memorable, but sadly a lot of those faces from VP50 and VP60 will be missing, but their souls will march on.
The march of time they call it.
GREAT CELEBRATION: The VP50 train arrives in triumph at Townsville station in 1995.