The power of love

Ted and Phyl Properjohn. Picture: Elle Borgward www.communitypix.com.au d418466
Ted and Phyl Properjohn. Picture: Elle Borgward www.communitypix.com.au d418466

Today, the couple will head the Anzac Day march through Rockingham, some 72 years after their lives collided.

Ted was a Flying Officer in the Royal Australian Air Force and Phyl a Corporal in the Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force during World War II.

The Warnbro veterans, both ’92 years young’ are in their 69th year of marriage.

They are the oldest surviving former air force veterans in the Rockingham area, with Mr Properjohn one of only five men, and the youngest, still living of the 113 signed up in July 1941.

Both endured numerous postings across the country from 1942 onwards, with Mr Properjohn encountering 18 hostile strikes against Japanese forces, including near misses in thick cloud over Papua New Guinea.

‘The RSL thought it would be fitting for us to lead the march,’ Mr Properjohn said in reference to his service history.

‘We felt quite honoured when we were asked,’ Mrs Properjohn added.

‘We have done a lot at the RSL club and still attend on Anzac Day when possible, but given our advancing years, that hasn’t always been possible.’

Married in 1945 and discharged in 1946, the couple embarked on their lives as civilians in Western Australia, where they have raised three children.

Mentally sharp and with lively personalities, the pair throw in a joke about survival and the longevity of their marriage.

Mrs Properjohn cannot stand for long periods without a rest, but she is proud to be leading the march.

The Ode of Remembrance came to Mr Properjohn as he explained how they could often feel their age had caught up with them.

‘They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old, age shall not weary them’