Anzac Day: Wanneroo veteran rallies servicemen for march

Graeme Woodford. Picture: Martin Kennealey www.communitypix.com.au d492271
Graeme Woodford. Picture: Martin Kennealey www.communitypix.com.au d492271

ANZAC Day commemorations will continue this weekend for navy veteran Graeme Woodford.

The former football player is organising a march for servicemen at West Perth Football Club’s Anzac memorial match against Swan Districts on Saturday, April 27.

Mr Woodford said he hoped to get as many servicemen as possible to march around the oval at HBF Arena in Joondalup.

It will follow the Merchant Navy Association member’s trip to Albany this week with a group of veterans to commemorate Anzac Day.

“I had a couple of mates on the Voyager when she was sunk – it’s a time to remember them,” he said.

Vietnam veteran reflects on war sacrifices

Mr Woodford served as an able seaman in the Royal Australian Navy from 1958 to 1961, including as a gunner during the Malayan Emergency.

“We used to travel up the rivers in our small boats; keeping an eye out for any smuggling,” he said.

After the Indonesian president Sukarno closed the straits to all ships in 1960, Mr Woodford said he was on the first ship to go through to break the embargo.

“We were followed by two Indonesian gun boats,” he said.

Another memory that remains with him was when his ship rescued the crew of a boat who were guarding rubber.

“We had another night at sea where we saw a boat in trouble – the engine had broken down,” Mr Woodford said.

“We took them on tow back to Singapore.

“That night there was a storm; if it had not been for a flash of lightning I would not have seen that the tow was going under – we got them all aboard.”

Q&A at West Perth Football Club with Navy veteran Graeme Woodford ahead of Anzac commemorative march at HBF Arena. Read more: bit.ly/2DrgwDR

Posted by Joondalup-Wanneroo Times/Weekender on Friday, 26 April 2019

Mr Woodford’s father served in Citizens Military Forces in World War II and grandfather was in the gun turrets at Leighton.

He continues the tradition, having transferred to Wanneroo RSL from Nollamara about 18 months ago when he moved to a retirement village in Wanneroo.

To join the Anzac memorial game march, call 9404 8272.

Wanneroo RSL and the City of Wanneroo will host a dawn service from 5.45am on Thursday, April 25 at the Wanneroo Memorial on Civic Drive.

There will be a march from 7am followed by a gunfire breakfast for gold coin donations.

Email jack.lecras@ozemail.com.au or call 9409 1014.

Full list of Perth Anzac Day services