Myall Coast veteran Rodney Brayne honoured with WWII medallion

WWII veteran Rodney Brayne led the march in his mobility chair.

A SPECIAL presentation took place during the ANZAC Day 11am Service at Tea Gardens this year, with WWII veteran Rodney Brayne receiving a rare honour in recognition of his service.

Tea Gardens RSL sub-Branch’s Terry Munright took a few special moments to share a recap of Mr Brayne’s story that led him to join the war effort as soon as he legally could.

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“Rodney’s father, Cyril Brayne, enlisted in the AIF at eighteen years of age, and served as a signaller using basic radios and Semaphore, serving at Gallipoli and the Western Front, however, he was gassed and wounded, and returned home bearing the physical and mental scars of war, later marrying and having four children, two sons and two daughters.”

Those two sons, Allan and Rodney, both followed in their father’s footsteps by enlisting as soon as they were old enough, both joining the RAAF.

Alan served as a radar and radio operator in Darwin and New Guinea, and was sent behind enemy lines as a coast-watcher, while Rodney joined a couple of weeks after his eighteenth birthday, on Christmas Day, 1944.

“He arrived at the recruitment office in his Scouts uniform, and when the recruitment officer noticed the First Aid proficiency badges on his sleeve, he said that as a young Rod had qualifications in first aid, and he would make a good Medical Orderly, and was enlisted as such,” Terry explained.

“Following his training, he was deployed to serve in military hospitals in Victoria, Cootamundra and Goulburn, caring for the badly wounded soldiers returning from the front.

“He spent much time in the psychiatric wards, caring for those returned men suffering from ‘battle fatigue’, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, as we now know it, and the terrors and horrors of war experienced by the men under his care, their eternal suffering, impacted this young man, and those experiences were to remain with him for the rest of his life.”

A young man then, on ANZAC Day 2024 Mr Rodney Brayne was 97 years young, and is now among the few WWII veterans still going strong – he even led the 10:30 am march down Marine Drive, in what was apparently his first ever time doing so.

The Medallion was announced by Mr Munright, and formally presented by Tea Gardens RSL sub-Branch President Mal Motum, and is the same honour bestowed upon fellow WWII veteran and valued member of the sub-Branch, Roy Day, last week, for his service as an Instrument Fitter with the RAAF.

By Thomas O’KEEFE

Tea Gardens RSL sub-Branch President Mal Motum presenting Rodney Brayne with his special WWII Veteran’s Medallion at the 11am Service.

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