VETERAN Bill Hosking might be 95 years old, but memories of his service are still vivid.
Seated out the front of Bendigo's Soldiers Memorial Institute, during a quiet moment ahead of the community's Remembrance Day service, the Darwin defender shared some of his recollections.
Like being one of six men selected out of a line-up to guard a military hospital during the Second World War, only to find out later the hospital was full of American servicemen with venereal disease.
And travelling to Alice Springs on a train laden with equipment and troops.
Mr Hosking could still remember how many carriages were devoted to what, and where the troops and cookhouse were.
He could recount how fast the train went, and how long the journey took.
The tragedy that struck during the journey onward was also fresh in his memory as he sat in that white outdoor seat, with wife Ruth by his side.
Mr Hosking said a vehicle flipped and burst into flames, with the driver trapped in the cabin.
"That's one of the things you never forget - his screams for mercy," he said.
Precious few veterans of Mr Hosking's era remain.
Watch Bendigo's 2019 Remembrance Day service, below:
But Bendigo District RSL sub-branch president and Warrant Class 1 Officer Peter Swandale said Remembrance Day ensured the region's service was commemorated and appreciated.
He spoke of the day's importance to families with veterans and serving members, such as his.
"This is an opportunity for all of us to remember our ancestors," Mr Swandale said.
He said he would be remembering two uncles, who he recently discovered served in the First World War.
One came home. The other did not.
Mr Swandale spoke of the sacrifice of the Barger family, of Bendigo, which lost many sons to war and to illness.
"If there ever was a local Bendigo family that paid a high price for their freedom, this is one of them," he said.
Mr Swandale said Remembrance Day was an opportunity not to glorify war, but to commemorate, to remember, to honour and to give thanks to those who had given their lives in the service of their country.
From a personal perspective, the soldier of 37 years said: "It ensures I never forget what occurred over 100 years ago".
About 400 people attended today's service in Bendigo, including school students, families and dignitaries.
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