Lower River out in strength

MORE than 1000 old friends and comrades, relatives and visitors took to the streets of Maclean on Saturday to march and remember those who risked and gave their lives in war.

There were 123 service personnel involved in the march that concluded in ceremony at the cenotaph, and an estimated 300 attended the dawn service in the hours before.

Another 1000 joined the ceremonies at Yamba. At Iluka an astounding 150 people made the early dawn service.

At the Maclean Services Club, young army reserves mixed with World War Two veterans. Stories were told and beers shared once the formalities of the day had passed and the soldiers had time for a chat.

For Peter Esman, Bob Rae and Jim Rasmussen, it's on Anzac Day only that they travel from Sydney and Laos to meet up and keep strong the friendship they forged as apprentices in the army at 15 years of age before landing in Vietnam as 19-year-olds.

Bob Rae made his annual journey from his posting in Laos, where he works diffusing the land mines and bombs that were dropped during his time in Vietnam.

The members of the Maclean sub-branch also mourned the passing of one of their own, with news that Harry Richards had passed away suddenly the night before.

Mr Richards served in Morotai and in the occupational forces in Japan. An active member of Maclean RSL, Mr Richards was best remembered for the care he took in the cenotaph's upkeep.



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