Anzac Day 2017: Guyra veteran Ron Vickress recalls the Japanese surrender on board the Missouri

ANZAC DAY: WWII veteran and RSL Sub-Branch treasurer Ron Vickress served in the Australian Navy and witnessed the ending of the war on the Missouri. Photo: Rachel Baxter.

ANZAC DAY: WWII veteran and RSL Sub-Branch treasurer Ron Vickress served in the Australian Navy and witnessed the ending of the war on the Missouri. Photo: Rachel Baxter.

For World War II veteran and Guyra’s RSL Sub-Branch treasurer Ron Vickress, Anzac Day is a time to remember his own experiences and those of his family members who served. 

“I had two uncles killed in the First World War and my father served and he was wounded at Bullecourt,” he said.

Mr Vickress also has his own stories. 

He joined the Navy in 1943 and remembers witnessing the surrender in Tokyo that officially ended World War II.

“We were only about half a mile away from the Missouri, where the surrender was signed, so we could see it through our binoculars,” Mr Vickress said.

“The day after we got a signal to say the first Australian prisoners of war were going home on an aircraft carrier and they came alongside us and we sang Waltzing Matilda.

“There were tears on both decks, I think … it was the first time they’d seen an Australian flag in three years.

There were tears on both decks, I think … it was the first time they’d seen an Australian flag in three years. - Ron Vickress

One hundred and two years since the legendary landing by Australians at Anzac Cove, Anzac Day continues to be an important day to commemorate the sacrifices made by servicemen and women for our benefit.

And each year the spirit in Guyra continues to grow stronger, RSL Sub-Branch president Hans Hietbrink said.

“We’ve got many returned servicemen and women in Guyra,” he said.

“While we don’t get a huge crowd at the dawn service, it’s the main service that gathers the biggest crowd.”

Even the younger generations are becoming more and more involved in ceremonies as the years go on.

“We have the schools very much involved,” Mr Hietbrink said.

“We’ve got many school children taking part in the service this year.

“That includes one child from Black Mountain, Bald Blair and one from St Mary of the Angels School. 

“Each will be delivering a prayer during the main service.

“We have Hunter Davidson from Guyra Central School making the Commemorative Address.”

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop