Tears will flow at Anzac Day Dawn Service for Victoria Park RSL sub-branch warden

War veteran Jack Matthews  with his medals. Picture: Marie Nirme
War veteran Jack Matthews with his medals. Picture: Marie Nirme

JACK Matthews will get emotional during the period of silence at the Anzac Day Dawn Service in Victoria Park.

The Victoria Park RSL sub-branch warden and Bentley resident (90) said when he reflected on his on war service and that of other veterans, he could feel the history and emotion.

“I have a bit of a cry; it comes up on you,” he said.

“It’s a bit like if you are with friends and someone says something you do not like; it upsets you and you get uptight.”

Mr Matthews served in the Korean War with the 1st and 2nd battalions.

“My dad had been in World War I and my brothers had been in World War II, so I followed on,” he said.

“I spent most of my life in the bush and I wasn’t used to discipline.

“I lived across the Top End in cattle stations, droving down to Queensland from the Kimberley and the Northern Territory.

Mr Matthews said he felt “full of beans” when he arrived in the Korea peninsula in July 1952.

“I saw the latter part of the war when they were in a static situation,” he said.

“We used to sleep at night and take patrols during the day. You had to look after yourself and your mate’s back.”

Mr Matthews said when the war was over and he came back to WA to drive trucks, he felt a bond with others who had served.

“I went into a pub and spoke to a World War II bloke; you can pick up a conversation with them because they had been where you’d been,” he said.

“Anyone that’s been under fire will never be the same when they come back.

“I just went back to work. The mental health issues did not come back until later if you keep yourself busy and I was trying to make money out of my truck. That suited me.

“The only thing about the DVA (the Department of Veterans’ Affairs) now is that they get onto them early so whether that helps them, I don’t know.”

Mr Matthews helped form the Kelmscott-Pinjarra 10th Lighthorse Memorial Troop, which helps remember the regiment that served during World War I.

“It started in 2001; during the celebration of the confederation we rode down to Albany,” he said.

“It took nine days and we got there on Anzac Day for the big commemoration.

“We came back and my mate (Merv Wilson) was a Vietnam veteran and we decided between us to start up the re-enactment troop.”

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