Brian’s back for the big day

Former Ellenbrook RSL sub-branch president Brian Dillon.  Picture: Bruce Hunt   d436140
Former Ellenbrook RSL sub-branch president Brian Dillon. Picture: Bruce Hunt d436140

It was the first Anzac Day service for the fledgling township, with no more than 15 people in attendance.

Ellenbrook has since blossomed. So has its dawn services. On Saturday, the Ellenbrook RSL is expecting more than 4000 people to pay their respects at the now renamed Woodlake Memorial Amphitheatre.

In fact, the Anzac Centenary is going to be so big that the RSL is organising scaffolding to seat a large portion of the crowd.

The Ellenbrook RSL sub-branch, while organising one of Perth�s fastest-growing dawn services, is also an important fabric for nearly 60 members in the region.

Founding member and former president of the Ellenbrook sub-branch Brian Dillon has just returned from a six-year trip around Australia to be among his mates for the Anzac centenary.

�It�s my baby; I couldn�t miss this for anything,� he said.

�From humble beginnings, the local support has been fantastic. I�m so proud of what the boys have done.�

Mr Dillon joined the army when he was 17 and was sent to Vietnam at 22, leaving a pregnant wife and child at home in Australia.

He was deployed in 1966 and several months later he was fighting for his life in the notorious Battle of Long Tan in Phuoc Tuy province of South Vietnam.

�I was mainly on the guns and we were doing fire support for the battalions when they were out on patrols,� he said.

There was no parade when Mr Dillon came home; in fact, he was spat on at Perth Airport in his uniform by a protester.

�I got told by people it wasn�t a war when we go back � we weren�t recognised,� he said.

It would be two decades later that the veterans were officially recognised with a welcome home parade.

Mr Dillon said he hoped the community would turn out in big numbers to support the local dawn service.