Driven to commemorate
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.