Veterans gathered with friends and family at War Nurses Memorial Park on Saturday to observe the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Pacific.
Three commemorative plaques were unveiled — 75th anniversary of the end of WW II; Australia’s War Nurses, Roll of Honour WW II and Comfort and Care WW II.
One of the Bundaberg Region’s World War II veterans Fred Bainbridge attended the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Pacific to remember.
He also saw his granddaughter Bailee Baldwin call the Honour Roll of Bundaberg and Burnett nurses who paid the supreme sacrifice during World War II.
Mr Bainbridge said it was almost 80 years ago when he lied about his age and enlisted in the army at 17 years old.
Mr Bainbridge served in Dutch New Guinea and recalls being shot in the shoulder as if it was yesterday.
“Yes, I was shot in the shoulder, it missed my heart, lung and hit the shoulder when there was an ambush on,” Mr Bainbridge said.
“I woke up and they said ‘Fred it’s 10 o’clock, we are taking you back to hospital'.
“I got back at 6 o’clock and they said ‘Fred you’re next on the list’ and that’s all I remember, before I woke up again and there was the doctor who said ‘Fred here’s the bullet’.
“I was one of five brothers to go, and we all came back. My mother got a medal for having five sons in the army.
“I spent 1896 days in the army and 896 days out of Australia. When we returned nobody spoke about the army, so it's good to commemorate it today.”
Now after celebrating his 96th birthday earlier this month, Mr Bainbridge said he was honoured to have served his country, and even more proud to watch on as Bailee stepped up to call the honour roll during the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Pacific.
Bailee said she had always attended the significant ceremonies, and it was nice to now be able to pay tribute by calling the roll of honour.
“I am very proud of my Pop,” Bailee said.
“I have always attended these events, but now it's very nice to be asked to take part and show my respects this way.
“It was nice today to be a part of this and show our respect not only for Pop but for all who served.”
VP 75th anniversary a chance to remember
MC for the Service of Remembrance for the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Pacific was Bundaberg District Women Veterans president Jennifer Waldron, who welcomed distinguished guests, veterans, nurses and community members.
Ms Waldron said the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Pacific was a day to remember the men and women who served during the Second World War, and to commemorate those who did not return to their families.
“These men and women gifted us our freedom, they defended Australia and provided us with the enduring legacy of courage, sacrifice, endurance and mateship – a legacy that we all should aspire to uphold,” she said.
Mayor Jack Dempsey said he was honoured to unveil a plaque to remember the 27 nurses, three of whom paid the supreme sacrifice.
“They were either born, grow up or served at the hospital here before they enlisted and they will always be remembered by this community,” he said.
“So, whilst 75 years ago people may have been dancing in the street in celebration of the end of the war, now is a time to remember the sacrifices that were given for our nation and families.”
Three new bronze plaques dedicated during 75th anniversary of Victory in the Pacific:
- Honour Roll of Nurses from the Bundaberg/Burnett Region who had active service during World War II
- Care and Comfort recognising the men and women who served in the Australian Defence Force medical services during World War II
- VE/VP 75 marking the 75th Anniversary of the end of World War II, 15 August 1945.
Other news: Anzac Day 2020 remains significant for Ula