Sim­ply un­for­get­table

Townsville Bulletin - - OPINION - DON MOR­RIS, Cran­brook.

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.

Pic­ture: MICHAEL CHAM­BERS

GREAT CEL­E­BRA­TION: The VP50 train ar­rives in tri­umph at Townsville sta­tion in 1995.

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