Terry Kerlin on Anzac Day in Frenchville.
Terry Kerlin on Anzac Day in Frenchville.

Surprise spin in a vintage jeep on Anzac Day

Terry Kerlin usually commemorates Anzac Day at the dawn service but, this year, due to the coronavirus, he was going to spend a quiet few minutes in his Frenchville driveway.

That was before his neighbour's brother-in-law came by for a spin in his Army jeep and offered the Vietnam veteran a ride.

The vintage car (and a motorcycle) were owned by the late Howard Weier who, for more than 20 years, volunteered to transport veterans to the Anzac Day ceremonies.

Since Howard passed the vehicles down to his children, son Troy has taken over the role.

He was taking a spin past his in-laws' house when he saw Mr Kerlin taking part in the Light Up the Dawn campaign.

Mr Kerlin, who went to Catholic Boys College in Rockhampton, enlisted with the Third Battalion which disembarked from Adelaide in December 1967.

The battalion was awarded a citation for its part in the Battle of Coral Balmoral.

"I remember the all-night attacks, the massive power involved as our tanks fired over the perimeter line into the enemy area," he said.

 

Troy Weier and Jodie Edwards carry on their late father's tradition of driving his vehicles to escort veterans on Anzac Day
Troy Weier and Jodie Edwards carry on their late father's tradition of driving his vehicles to escort veterans on Anzac Day

 

"And there was the air support from the old DC3 which was designated with the sign 'Spooky'."

Mr Kerlin, who married two weeks before he left, didn't receive a hero's welcome when he got back in August 1968.

"We were flown back to Sydney at midnight and told we weren't going to be allowed out on leave because there were protestors in the street who would get into fights with us.

"It was an unpopular war and we got a kick in the guts coming back to our country to be treated like that."

Mr Kerlin made a special trip back to Sydney in 1987, when the government gave a belated parade to thank the Vietnam veterans for their service.

"It was the best thing to happen, at long last, to get a thank you".

Father of two, Mr Kerlin said he was grateful to Troy Weier for giving him his first jeep ride and hopes that, next year, he might hitch a lift in the Harley sidecar.



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