Driven to com­mem­o­rate

Central Otago Mirror - - OUT & ABOUT - DEB­BIE JAMIESON

The only sur­viv­ing World War II veteran to attend the Queen­stown An­zac Day cer­e­mony drove al­most 2000km to be there.

Raymond (Ray) Dunn, 96, and his wife Col­lette have made the jour­ney from Kaitaia to Queen­stown for An­zac Day each of the five years they have been mar­ried.

Once in Queen­stown they re­turn to the RSA and sell pop­pies. They have a rep­u­ta­tion as one of the best sell­ing teams on the street.

Ray served as a Wing Com­man­der with the Royal Aus­tralian Air Force in WWII, fly­ing through­out the Pa­cific cam­paign, be­fore be­ing ’’loaned’’ to the United States Fifth Air Force and serv­ing in 529 Squadron.

‘‘Quite a few times [I thought my num­ber was up] es­pe­cially when I was at­tached to the Amer­i­can ser­vice,’’ he said.

Sev­eral hun­dred peo­ple at­tended the pa­rade and ser­vice, where guest speaker Queen­stown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult spoke of the im­por­tance of re­mem­ber­ing.

‘‘For most peo­ple war is some­thing far, far away that hap­pens to other peo­ple in an­other place at an­other time.’’

His own grand­fa­ther had com­mit­ted sui­cide after serv­ing as a pro­fes­sional soldier in the Boer War and World War I and suf­fer­ing post trau­matic stress dis­or­der.

An un­cle died after the war as a re­sult of his treat­ment in a Pris­oner Of War camp.

Ray and Colleen Dunn drove from Kaitaia to Queen­stown for An­zac Day.

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