War memories still painful for veteran

THE horrors of war are still painful for Arthur Hibbert.

The 102-year-old Second World War veteran, who will lead Friday’s Anzac Day parade in Bendigo, fought from July 23, 1940 to 26 October, 1945.

He served in areas including Colombo, Palestine and Syria as a gunner in a Crusader tank.

While the war ended almost 70 years ago, Mr Hibbert is still moved when talking about his experiences.

“There was a thing in the paper one time – I cried when I left, and I cried when we come home,” he said fighting back tears.   

“And I’m still crying.

“We lost some good boys.”

Mr Hibbert said he was proud to participate in Anzac Day and proud of his service overseas.

“But I’ve seen a few things I don’t like talking about,” he said.

The former soldier met his wife Olive shortly before leaving for the conflict and married her shortly after returning.

“As I was leaving she said ‘I’ll wait for you Arthur’,”he said.

“I didn’t take much notice of it. Anyhow, I went away and then when the war was over we came back home and she met us at the train .

“She said, ‘when are we going to get married?’, I said, ‘well, whenever you like’.

“I was happy for years.”

Mr Hibbert has not participated in the Anzac Day march for about a decade and is looking forward to leading the procession.

“They reckon I’m the oldest returned man in Bendigo at the present day that’s registered with the RSL,” he said.  

“Of course in our group there wouldn’t be too many left.” 

Mr Hibbert will be joined by hundreds of soldiers in Friday's march, which starts near McRae Street and Pall Mall about 10.30am. 

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