Youngsters join this time-honoured tradition

SITTING down to the gunfire breakfast at the Wodonga RSL sub-branch yesterday with his three grandchildren, Mark Thompson continued a tradition honouring the war service of his father and grandfather.

Jacob Frauenfelder, 13, his sister Emma, 12, and their cousin Patrick Sommerfeld, 13, got out of bed in the dark to join their grandfather at the Wodonga dawn service, and they would later accompany him marching to Woodland Grove wearing the service medals of both men.

As a child in Wodonga, Mr Thompson had joined his grandfather, Wilfred Edgar Thompson, who was wounded while serving with an artillery regiment at Gallipoli.

Wilfred Thompson had made the journey to Wodonga each year from Port Stephens on his way to Melbourne to meet up with members of his old regiment.

Joining them at the Wodonga march during those years was Mr Thompson’s father, Bruce Edgar Thompson, who had served with the Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in New Guinea during World War II.

Mr Thompson was not a soldier but he did work as a civilian with the army at both Latchford Barracks and Bandiana for 34 years as a storeman and in transport.

“If it wasn’t for men such as my father and grandfather, where would we be now?” Mr Thompson said.

“I march with my grandchildren because it is important we teach them what our forefathers have done, allowing us to enjoy the life we have.”

Hamish and Jessica Robinson, of Wodonga, had to rouse their children Lachlan, 6 and Matilda, 4, from their beds for their second dawn service but they were happy aft-erwards as they stood in line awaiting breakfast at the RSL clubrooms.

Mr Robinson said for him, attending the service and march in Wodonga was the way to honour his grandfather, Ray Want, who had served in New Guinea in World War II, as well as the service of uncles on his father’s side of the family.

In Havelock Street at the Vietnam and Associated Veterans Club, the queue for breakfast wasn’t as long but there were still plenty of veterans and their families enjoying a meal after the earlier service.

Vietnam Veterans Mot-orcycle Club members Peter Reilly, of Baranduda, and Jaimie Yates, of Wod-onga, shared a coffee before they were due to join other riders from Party Unlimited yesterday to ride to three secret locations to raise money for Legacy.