Meaning of Remembrance Day not lost on Como veteran

South Perth RSL branch president Justin Reagen (right) with veteran Graham Dolton (left) at the South Perth Memorial Park, which will host the annual Rememberance Day Commemoration on Saturday. Picture: Matt Jelonek www.communitypix.com.au d475729
South Perth RSL branch president Justin Reagen (right) with veteran Graham Dolton (left) at the South Perth Memorial Park, which will host the annual Rememberance Day Commemoration on Saturday. Picture: Matt Jelonek www.communitypix.com.au d475729

REMEMBRANCE Day is a time to stop and reflect on the sacrifices made by Australian service personnel, a notion not lost on veteran Graham Dolton.

The Como resident (94) and South Perth RSL member joined the army at 16 years old.

He served for six years during World War II, two of them as a commando in New Guinea on the Wewak campaign.

Mr Dolton served in the 6th division and said he witnessed the signing of the San Francisco Peace Treaty with his general Cornel Robinson.

“We lost a lost of men during the (Wewak) campaign; my very best friend got killed,” Mr Dolton said.

“Every night we had to put out booby traps, so any enemy coming would trip a wire and a hand grenade would go off; a very dangerous thing setting up booby traps and every man had to do it, taking turns.

“It came to my turn once again and I had an urgent message coming through on the radio so I said I could not do it; my friend said he would and I don’t know what happened. Nobody will ever know what happened, but he blew himself up.”

Mr Dolton said he had visited his friend’s grave a few times and always wondered what if it had been him and whether he did the right thing.

The City of South Perth, together with the South Perth RSL, will commemorate Remembrance Day at the South Perth War Memorial on Saturday from 10.45am to 11.45am.

South Perth RSL president Justin Reagen said he hoped about 200 people would attend the service commemorating the 99th anniversary of the cessation of hostilities in the Great War.

The City of Belmont RSL will unveil a plaque during its Remembrance Day service, following a century since the Battle of Beersheba, which is considered as one of the last great cavalry charges.

The Town of Victoria Park will once again honour and remember fallen servicemen and women at a ceremony in the Memorial Gardens.

MORE: Woman who uses walking stick convicted of assaulting a police officer

MORE: PM Malcolm Turnbull pledges $5.5m for Willetton Basketball Stadium

MORE: Top tips for creating a beautiful, low-maintenance garden