Proud to serve, sorrow for suffering

FOR retired navy warrant officer Des Harper, Anzac Day means more than remembering the fallen soldiers who sacrificed their lives for their country.

"There are those who returned home from war who still suffer mentally and physically," he told the Star.

"I think a lot about all the young women who became widows and the children left without a father."

The Rooty Hill resident, 83, has vivid memories of serving on HMAS ships in the Korean War (1953) and the Malaysian Emergency (1954-63).

"In Korea, the tide was out and there was a smell of dead bodies in the water," he said.

"Another time in Malaysia, our ship was being 'straddled' with shells landing on either side of us."

He was on naval escort duties during the Vietnam War.

"Our role was to escort the American supply ships, which never got attacked," he said.

Mr Harper has been the parade commander of Penrith RSL sub-branch services since 1992. He will travel into the city after the dawn service to participate in the Anzac Day march.

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