|One of the many plaques - WW1 digger|
Wandering around Caloundra a few weeks ago was a pleasant exercise in nostalgia, but it also revealed a fitting way of honouring war service.
There is a picturesque walk running along the Caloundra Esplanade. From a point about halfway along this path, the Golden Beach RSL have instituted a memorial walkway.
Brass plaques describing the service of hundreds of soldiers, sailors and airmen are embedded in the pavement. I’ve seen something similar in the streets of Roma.
It’s an interesting way to commemorate service, in the sense that each plaque is separate and distinct. Traditional memorials provide a list, which to me is a little impersonal, although it’s obviously the most practical way of doing it.
My dad, like many other young Aussies of the time, enlisted in the RAAF shortly after the bombing of Darwin. He wanted to be posted to aircrew, but ended up as a radio fitter after it was discovered that he had sinuses completely unsuited to flying in unpressurised aircraft.
My parents had been married only a few years at the time, and they must have found the long separation (1942 – 1945) pretty difficult. Dad was posted to squadrons in Port Moresby and Lae and spent his war fitting and repairing radios in Kittyhawks and Beauforts.
Mum ran his small school whilst he was away, and as a married woman could only be a temporary employee. She was obliged to resign when dad came back.
Dad loved Caloundra enough to buy a house there in the sixties, and we spent some great times as a family using it as a weekender.
It struck me as fitting to have a plaque installed on the walkway, as the only other place at which Dad’s service is recognised is on his grave. He died in 1991.
My five siblings also think it’s a good idea.