Diggers salute mate
QUEEN Elizabeth was there to make a symbolic gesture to all those who had made the ultimate sacrifice in war.
And not long after Her Majesty had laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Canberra's War Memorial yesterday, a group of six Sunshine Coast men said farewell to their mate Bobby Taylor who just weeks earlier had been planning to stand alongside them.
Vietnam Vet Ian Atkinson said the group of seven had decided two years ago to make the trip to Canberra just to "have a look at the War Memorial".
In an amazing co-incidence, they found out only last week the Queen was scheduled to be there on the same day.
"Unfortunately Bobby passed away in Nambour Hospital on Thursday. He was originally from Victoria and his family will hold his funeral in Melbourne tomorrow," Mr Atkinson said.
"We decided to have our own ceremony at the War Memorial.
"The big thing was to go into the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier not long after the Queen placed her wreath. At least we were able to give Bobby a good send-off."
Mr Taylor fell ill only recently and had a bad fall that saw him hospitalised in Nambour earlier this month.
Infection set in and he never recovered.
Mr Taylor served as a forward scout in 4 Platoon B Company 2RAR in Vietnam, always just one step ahead of Mr Atkinson and the rest of the men.
Mr Taylor may have weighed only a little more than 50kg, but Mr Atkinson said every kilo was packed full of courage.
"All my men are alive today because of Bobby," he said.