THE bonds forged on blood-soaked battlefields remain long after the conflict is over.
So it is no wonder a group of mates from Third Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, decided to reconnect for the 100th anniversary of the campaign that shaped the country’s identity.
Minyip’s Gary Liersch was joined by four mates from B Company as he headed the town’s annual march down the main street.
‘‘I had a call from Jim Stark, asking what I was doing for Anzac Day, considering it was the Gallipoli centenary,’’ he said.
‘‘I said I’d be marching at home and there’s only about three of us who march.
‘‘He sat there for about 10 minutes and said, ‘I think I might come and join you’.’’
Mr Stark, who lives in Sydney, said his idea quickly gained traction.
‘‘I wanted to get out of the big smoke, so I said let’s go to beautiful Minyip. The other blokes thought it sounded like a good idea,’’ he said.
The other three men also travelled from interstate, with John Charter making the trip from Queensland, Barry Joyce from Hobart and Ron Larcombe from South Australia.
The five men toured Vietnam in 1967. Mr Larcombe said Anzac Day was a day close to their hearts.
‘‘I never marched for a long time,’’ he said.
‘‘A mate turned to me one day and said if we don’t march, there won’t be a march any more. So I started marching.’’
Mr Charter said it was important to remember the men who did not make it home. ‘‘We were the lucky ones,’’ he said.
Mr Stark said the group started Anzac Day commemorations at a dawn service at Sheep Hills.
‘‘There was about 350 people there and we boosted the number by a few,’’ he said.
‘‘Then we came to Minyip. I think we’ve seen all the sights.’’
More than 200 people attended a commemoration service in Minyip’s memorial hall.