Anzac Day ?the greatest
The death of a good friend more than 50 years ago is a tragedy which Coffs Harbour's Max Gant doesn't discuss easily.
Max was a servicing unit chief on the HMAS Sydney flight deck when the accident happened in January, 1954, just after the end of hostilities in Korea.
"I lost an excellent mate. John was a sublieutenant pilot sent over from England," Max said.
"We were there to fly aircraft off when he walked into a propeller.
"He was a real beaut bloke and a good drinking mate. That's one thing that's always affected me."
But ask Max, who turns 79 in June, what Anzac Day means to him, and he'll tell you it's the 'greatest time in my life'.
"I'm just so proud of the fact our soldiers were so great," he said.
"In each war, no matter what, they have always been the best. They led the way, and they never gave up.
"There's been a huge resurgence in Anzac Day everywhere. A lot of fellas are coming out of the woodwork."
Max was 18 when he joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1945. He did so 'to carry on the tradition'.
His grandfather, George, was with the RAN before World War I, while his father, Rodney, served with the navy during that conflict. Max, the Mid North Coast branch of Korea War Veterans president, was also guest speaker at yesterday's 9.30am Coffs Harbour service.