Second World War veteran Col Connors will march for his mates on Anzac Day.
Second World War veteran Col Connors will march for his mates on Anzac Day. Brenda Strong

Lest We Forget: Old soldier is a true trooper

COL Connors remains one of the few Second World War veterans mobile enough to march on Anzac Day in Gladstone.

Patriotism and a sense of adventure compelled him to enlist at age 16. Five years of service in the army aged him beyond his years.

"I remember lying on a stretcher when someone asked me what the date was," he said. "It was my 21st birthday."

A birthday was an occasion barely worth celebrating during the war, although none of the men knew whether it would be their last.

Mr Connors, the Yaralla Sports Club president, realises the importance of instilling the message of Anzac Day into younger generations.

"Since then a lot has changed in the world and in war," he said.

"It is important that we bring kids to Anzac Day and we visit schools to show them what it means."

Anzac Day is a time of commemoration for Mr Connors.

"It's a sentimental day to think about everyone I have lost," he said. "For everyone who was involved in the war effort back home too."

As an artillery man during his first tour in Papua New Guinea and a second tour in Japan, Mr Connors concedes he was not the same person once he returned home.

"I grew up very quickly. When someone is shooting at you and you shoot back, that's what happens," he said.

"My experience in the war made me a better man."

In a sense, Mr Connors has been blessed to live to a ripe age of 89 years.

He remarks that he has outlived many of his fellow war veterans.


Boyne Island: A dawn service will be held at Stirling Park. A morning service begins at 8.30am.

Gladstone: Ceremony at the Valley car park from 5.20am. Another parade and service outside the council office with a march at 10.30am.

Turkey Beach: Dawn service on the beachfront at 5.30am, followed by service and march at 9am.

Calliope: March will be held at 10.45am with a service to follow at 11am.

Agnes Water: Dawn service at 6am at the Cenotaph. A morning service will begin with a march at 9.45am from the Agnes Water Tavern followed by a 10.30am service at the Agnes Water Cenotaph.

Bororen: Dawn service at 6am at the Bororen Memorial Park Cenotaph.

Mt Larcom: Anzac Day service 10.30am for 11am start.

Rosedale: Dawn service at 5.30am at the Memorial Hall followed by a march to the cenotaph for a 5.45am ceremony.

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