Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

The Last Hurrah; Lauretta Godbee Helps Rally the Troops for One Final Veterans' Luncheon

Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

The Last Hurrah; Lauretta Godbee Helps Rally the Troops for One Final Veterans' Luncheon

Article excerpt

MOST are on the wrong side of 85 but the Clarence Valley's Second World War veterans are being invited to answer the call one more time.

Grafton RSL Sub-branch has sent out invitations to men and women who served from 1939 to 1945 to be guests of honour at a Veterans' Luncheon to be held in Grafton on April 4.

The veterans are members of the Valley's six RSL sub-branches Co Grafton, South Grafton, Ulmarra, Maclean, Yamba and Iluka.

The luncheon will also mark the 90th anniversary of the formation of the Grafton RSL Sub-branch and a 90 Years Certificate will be presented by NSW State Branch of the RSL

It's not the first time the Grafton Sub-branch, the largest in the Valley, has hosted a Second World War veterans reunion but it is the first time it has been extended to cover all Valley sub-branch members.

The first gathering, five years ago, was an unquestionable success bringing together a large group with shared memories of wartime experiences and never-ending comradeship forged under the toughest of circumstances.

Grafton RSL president Brian Bultitude and secretary Denis Benfield have led the team of volunteers organising this year's repeat performance.

C[pounds sterling]We always thought we should hold another luncheon but in the past two years I have helped do so many funeral services for World War Two blokes, I decided if we were going to do anything, we had better make it soon,C[yen] Brian Bultitude said.

Age, illness and debility have cut swathes through the ranks of veterans everywhere.

Many wartime units have held their C[pounds sterling]finalC[yen] official reunions, simply because members were too few and survivors physically unable to make the journey to take part.

But the bonds of wartime mateship remain strong Co tighter, many veterans insist, than the ties that unite families over time and distance. C[pounds sterling]They might not see each other for ten years but when they do get together time drops away . …

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