TWO servicemen and one woman spoke exclusively to Community News about their experience in the armed forces in the lead up to Anzac Day.
Ray Whitby, Bonnie Atkinson and Bill Jones all embody the spirit of the Anzacs which is said to be “unpredictable, an unquenchable thirst for justice, freedom and peace”.
Mr Whitby was one of eight servicemen sent in 1958 to an atomic weapons testing site on the Montebello Islands off the Pilbara coast to help scientists collect samples.
He is the last surviving atomic veteran…
While Agent Orange rained over the land more than 5000km away, Bonnie Atkinson served her country from an office at Puckapunyal Army Base in central Victoria.
“In those days you were encouraged to leave if you got married and definitely had to go if you fell pregnant,” she said.
As a teenager, Bill Jones (68) had never been to sea before joining the Royal Australian Navy as an air controller in 1966.
“I did a couple of stints in Vietnam and 11 trips up the Far East,” he said, adding he also made a few trips to Hawaii, the Persian Gulf and Russia.