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Why today is ‘a lot about mateship and all about respect’ – with a veteran penning a reflective poem

Samuel McKim, 90, grew up in Scotland and enlisted in the National Service, when he was just 17 – serving in the British Royal Air Force in the Suez Canal, Egypt.

On Thursday, he will proudly read a reflective poem during an Anzac Day service in Highercombe Residential Care Home in Hope Valley.

“We remember the sacrifice made,” he wrote in his poem.

“Of the dead and the wounded row on row.”

“In the fields that are silent where red poppies grow.

“We say please!! Let us not forget!!”

When Mr McKim travelled around Scotland for work after his time in the RAF, he would send letters to his wife from every place he visited – and after they got married he continued the tradition.

“I always put a verse in those letters,” Mr Mckim Said. “For 65 years we’ve been married and I’ve always been writing poems for birthdays and anniversaries.

“I wrote a poem for Remembrance Day last year and people seemed to enjoy it, so I got asked if I could write a poem again for Anzac Day. Now, I’ve become a well-known around ACH Group for my poetry – people that I haven’t even met know my name.”

During his tme in the RAF Fayid, Mr McKim worked as a clerk in the air traffic control department and afterwards he undertook 19 months of voluntary service with the air force and began work in road transport. Eventually, he went on to train in real estate and ended up owning his own real estate business.

In 1958, he met his wife Nancy at a dance in Glasgow and the two married a year later, before moving to Australia in 1970 with their six children. “After the war, we decided to come to Australia for a better life. Before we left Scotland we decided on Adelaide for its location,” he said.

“We came to Australia by plane in 1970 – costing us 25 pounds – it was my wife and six children. My eldest daughter was 10 and youngest child had just been born.”

Another ACH Group resident, Fred Jackson, 88, was born in Adelaide and attended Peterborough Primary School as a child.

He enlisted in the Citizen Military Forces cadets when he was just 14 and soon progressed to National Service where he was stationed in Woodside and Port Augusta – working in artillery.

“I wanted to do something,” Mr Jackson said. “I wasn’t going to sit idle.” When he returned from his initial three months’ service, Mr Jackson continued to serve for a fortnight each year.

He then started working in a service station before becoming a spray painter and, eventually, he started his own business.

Speaking on the importance of Anzac Day, Mr Jackson said it was “all about respect”. It’s a lot about mateship and all about respect,” he said. “For all those who have and are serving, we have to show them respect.”

Stephen Monks, 93, was born in Ireland, and enrolled in the British royal Air Force when he was 21.

He served in Borneo in operations and returned home after three years, before eventually moving to Australia after he became good friends with some Aussies during the war.

“When I was in Borneo I served with the Australians and made good friends with them,” Mr Monks said. “They were good people. They told me all the time when we finished I should come to Australia to live, so I did.”

Mr Monks migrated when he was 36 and worked as a buyer for a large furniture firm.

ACH Group CEO Linda Feldt said Anzac Day was “significant for many within the ACH Group community”.

“ACH Group is very proud to support many veterans as they age, including Sam, Stephen and Fred,” Ms Feldt said.

“Among our residents, customers and workforce, you will find ex-service people, war widows, widows, parents, children of service personnel and many others who have a personal connection to our defence forces.

“Anzac Day will be marked with services across the ACH Group Community to pay respect.”

This article was published in The Advertiser, page 20page 21, Thursday 25 April 2024.

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