Dannevirke: Support for veterans will never fade

By Christine McKay

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World War II nurse Beatrice (Betty) Wakely, 98, and her son Dennis wearing his father's World War II medals, at yesterday's Anzac Day civic service at the Cenotaph. Mrs Wakely is the last surviving female member of the Dannevirke and Districts RSA in Dannevirke who served overseas during World War II. Photo / Christine McKay
World War II nurse Beatrice (Betty) Wakely, 98, and her son Dennis wearing his father's World War II medals, at yesterday's Anzac Day civic service at the Cenotaph. Mrs Wakely is the last surviving female member of the Dannevirke and Districts RSA in Dannevirke who served overseas during World War II. Photo / Christine McKay

Age may have wearied him, but Dannevirke World War II veteran Ivan (Bonnie) Bodley wasn't about to miss the Anzac Day dawn service - he was there to remember his mates who have passed away.

"I'm going on 96 and I attended Dannevirke's first dawn service. I was here under that tree waiting for my mates to arrive," he told the Dannevirke News. "I'm still here, but all the others have gone."

Dannevirke World War II veteran Ivan (Bonnie) Bodley - "going on 96" - at the Cenotaph at 5.30am  for the dawn service.
Dannevirke World War II veteran Ivan (Bonnie) Bodley - "going on 96" - at the Cenotaph at 5.30am for the dawn service.

Mr Bodley has only missed one dawn service in Dannevirke - he was in England that year - but attended there.

"All my mates have gone and I miss quite a few after all these years and I wonder why I'm left. There is sadness, but it's part of growing old," he said.

With hundreds turning out for Dannevirke's dawn service and 101 years on since Gallipoli, Mr Bodley said he was amazed to see so many turn up at 5.30am yesterday.

"I thought we'd just fade away," he said. "Yes, I've got memories but you can't live in the past. However, this is terrific. I'm amazed to see the support, fading away isn't going to happen."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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