John O'Shea on his trike at the South Grafton Anzac day service
John O'Shea on his trike at the South Grafton Anzac day service Tim Jarrett

Bad knees fail to slow march

BEING a little less mobile didn't stop John O'Shea from continuing a long standing Anzac day tradition.

The ex-bus driver from South Grafton enlisted in the Citizens Military Forces and had been coming to Anzac day services since he was much younger.

"This was a tradition with my father, and Anzac day was just for me and him,” he said.

Mr O'Shea said he didn't want his bad knees stop him from marching at South Grafton today and was proud to be towards the front of the march on his trike.

"I fell down a bloody great hole and I stuffed both knees,” he said.

"When I woke up this morning I was aching all over but I got up and got mobile.

"I did the dawn service and it was beaut, I have enjoyed the whole day.”

It was also a busy day for Corporal John Moss of the 41st Royal NSW Regiment, who had been to three services around Grafton as leader of the catafalque.

"This is my third service today, but I have been doing this for 12 years.

"We are always looked after by the R.S.L., especially the South sub-branch they really take pride in looking after us as soldiers coming up through the ranks.”

Corporal Moss did not have military history in his family, so participating in Anzac day was not something he had done before he enlisted, but it now mean a lot to him.

"Anzac day is about getting amongst the diggers and looking at the medals on their chest and seeing what they have overcome to be here today,” he said.

"I suppose you could say I have started the generation of service in my family, which I am proud of.”

The morning service was well attended by the South Grafton community, who heard South Services president Bob Hayes discuss the role of the "chocos” at Kokoda.

Mr Hayes said the soldiers were given the name by some in the army who thought they would 'melt like chocolate' when they faced combat, however this was far from the truth as they made a significant contribution at Kokoda.

"They helped save Australia and we need to remember the sacrifice they made,” he said.