Anzac Day brings family together for special day
DON Campbell will soon celebrate his 99th birthday, and for the first time yesterday, the former pilot was joined by his daughter, son and grandson at the Anzac Day march in Maclean.
A life of military service runs in the blood for the Campbell family, with Mr Campbell taking after his father and signing up at just 20 years old in 1940.
"I was a minor before I joined, and for some time after I joined," he said.
"It was the thing to do in those days, everyone did it."
His father served in World War I and was a recruiting officer when it came Mr Campbell's turn to sign up.
"I went down to sign up and they said, 'If you were a miner before you came down here, get back to the mines', so I said, 'Just a minute mate' and I went across to the recruiting officer and said 'These blokes won't let me join'.
"So, he stomped across and laid the law down to them in no uncertain terms and walked back and I said, 'Thanks, Dad'."
Mr Campbell served five years as a pilot in the Royal Australian Air Force.
He was deployed to Europe and Africa not long after entering the service. He left behind his fiancee after being called to service before a wedding could be arranged. "We got engaged in November 1940 then I got posted overseas the following month," he said. "We didn't have a chance to get married, we had to wait four years."
And four years later, when the boat pulled in at Melbourne, his soon to be wife of nearly 70 years was waiting.
The tradition of serving has been passed down, with Mr Campbell's grandson Marcus Webb a former member of the RAAF airfield defence guard.
"Each one of the family members have been in the service at some stage, so these days are important for our family and extended family," Mr Campbell's daughter Jann Webb said.