Keith Grandy joined the Armoured Division during World War Two in 1941 and was ready to deploy to Libya when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour in December that year.
Instead, Mr Grandy served in the Northern Territory ensuring supplies of food, fuel and munitions to Darwin and helping to evacuate the injured when the city came under attack. He recalls being in Darwin in two occasions when the city was bombed by the Japanese and other close calls with enemy aircraft targeting Australian convoys.
The 97-year-old from Lake Bunga this week became one of five Gippslanders to be the first to receive a special honour.
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Gippsland MP Darren Chester presented Mr Grandy with a medallion commemorating the 75th anniversary of the end of the war on August 15.
“As we approach this special date, we recognise that it will be one of the last opportunities we have as a nation to publicly acknowledge the remaining veterans of the Second World War, of which there are around 12,000 still with us today,” Mr Chester said.
“These brave Australians served our nation in the far corners of the world, fighting in theatres of war from Europe to North Africa, the Mediterranean and the Middle East, to Asia and the Pacific, as well as the Australian mainland.
“As a nation, we can never fully repay the debt we owe these amazing men and women but, to mark their service, the Federal Government has produced this Commemorative Medallion and Certificate of Commemoration for our remaining living Second World War veterans.
“This is a way we can say ‘thank you for your service’. It’s a gesture of appreciation from a grateful nation to those who, like Keith, were part of the war effort and worked to protect our way of life.”
Second World War veterans can apply online to receive the Commemorative Medallion and Certificate at dva.gov.au/medallion. Those without internet access can call 02 6191 8217 during business hours. Families may also apply on behalf of a living veteran.
The medallions and certificates will be distributed during August.