Residents to hold street services for Anzac Day 2021

Jake DietschSound Telegraph
Theo Bushe-Jones will hold a driveway service in Waikiki
Camera IconTheo Bushe-Jones will hold a driveway service in Waikiki Credit: Jake Dietsch/Sound Telegraph/Jake Dietsch/Sound Telegraph

Driveway and local street dawn services were a necessity last year as WA overcame the first wave of COVID-19.

But the huge success has meant these intimate tributes to war heroes, which brought in thousands who had never attended an Anzac Day service, have now become a trend.

Due to COVID safe restrictions that remain, dawn services across Rockingham have been cancelled even as services throughout Perth including in Mandurah and Kwinana return in 2021.

Korean war veteran and 91-year-old Waikiki resident Theo Bushe-Jones was determined to continue honouring the sacrifice of those who have served in his community.

Mr Bushe-Jones joined the navy in 1950 and served aboard aircraft carrier HMAS Sydney as an air ordnance mechanic.

“My father was in the air force, my uncles were in the army and my brother was in the navy,” he said.

“I thought ‘it’s about time I did something’, so I went.

“We went to Japan first and then on to Korea, we would come back to Japan to refuel and rearm.”

One particularly harrowing experience Mr Bushe-Jones recalls was when the fleet endured the fury of Typhoon Ruth in 1951.

“We had to ride it out. We lost all of our lifeboats and much of our aircraft was smashed to pieces,” he said. “That was very bad. We had no radio or radar. We were completely lost to the world until it was over.”

No one on board the ship was killed, but there were injuries and the typhoon claimed 572 lives with hundreds more missing.

Mr Bushe-Jones left the defence force in 1956 and joined the police three years later.

As well as his own service, Mr Bushe-Jones said travelling to Anzac Cove in Turkey and to the mass graves of Europe “brought home” the need to honour and remember those who have served.

Last year Mr Bushe-Jones held a dawn service in his driveway and has decided to do so again with services in Rockingham being cancelled.

Mr Bushe-Jones will again raise his flag and bring it to half mast, recite the ode and have a two-minute silence before playing a tape of the bugle sounding the Last Post.

His driveway on Baltic Mews is open to neighbours who want to come along on April 25.

Vietnam War veteran Mike Nicoll is also hosting a service for his cul-de-sac at Carrick Cross in Greenfields, near Mandurah.

Mr Nicoll will also host a barbecue and offer tea and coffee as well as the dawn service from about 6am.

The veteran — who served in the navy across six ships and a submarine between 1971 and 1983 — said a “trend emerged last year” which he was keen to continue.

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