Vet couldn't march but still there for his mates

By John Maslin

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STANDING PROUD: Air Signalman Jock Hannaford who served in several theatres of war. PHOTO/STUART MUNRO
STANDING PROUD: Air Signalman Jock Hannaford who served in several theatres of war. PHOTO/STUART MUNRO

Every Anzac Day, returned serviceman Jock Hannaford has marched at the Dawn Parade.

And it was only a back problem that barred him from marching again yesterday - but he was there, bedecked in medals earned from serving with the Royal New Zealand Air Force in several theatres of war in the 1960s.

He was an air signalman with 41 Squadron which flew in Borneo, Malaya, Thailand and Vietnam.

In 1964 New Zealand was helping Malaysia to fight Indonesia's attempt to wrest control of the North Borneo territories.

It was known as the "Confrontation" and was a role which saw New Zealand soldiers mount covert cross-border raids into Indonesia.

"I flew 119 missions in Borneo. Our planes were dropping supplies to Kiwi soldiers and Gurkhas on the border," he said.

That was from 1965-67 and after that conflict ended his squadron was sent to Vietnam.

"We were operating in Malaya between times doing drops there as well, but in Vietnam we were flying supplies to the Kiwi medical staff manning the hospital in Qui Nhon province."

Jock celebrates his 80th birthday in a couple of months, and recalls Anzac Day services when the participants were mainly returned veterans like him.

Nowadays he is "thrilled" to see so many young people turning out every year.

"It's great seeing the kids and families here ..."

Jock's voice trails away, emotion stopping his words.

He may not have marched yesterday, but he was there for his mates who couldn't be.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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