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Trucks on show at Townsville ANZAC Day parade

Neil Cameron sat in the passenger seat of a military Jeep which was part of the huge Anzac Day celebrations in Townsville on April 25.

Cameron, 81, served in the RAAF for over 20 years and is also part of a family that owned one of the best known historical trucks in the North Queensland capital for 55 years.

It was a trusty old Ford truck which was affectionately named “Henry”.

“When I was young I drove Henry a lot including from Townsville Port with loads, including to Charters Towers. I was in the RAAF from 1965 to 1985 and loved it. I was a carpenter and my rank when I left was Flight Sergeant. I am a bit slow on my feet these days due to old age and was glad to get a lift in the Jeep,” he told  Big Rigs.

The Rural Brigade Engine in the parade.

His father, the late Alex Cameron, purchased Henry from Magnetic Motors in Townsville in 1946 for 695 pounds and the pair were well known throughout the north and beyond.

Henry even carried the logs Alex cut down from trees near Reid River to the suburb of Wulguru where they were used as supports for his house.

The truck was a common sight driving around Townsville and was parked for decades in a shed at the back of Alex’s house.

Neil Cameron lives next to his father’s home and drove Henry thousands of times.

“Henry played a big part in our lives and I have fond memories of that truck,” he said.

The north Queensland capital is home to the giant Lavarack Barracks Army base and RAAF base at Garbutt and in World War II was a garrison city where many American servicemen were stationed.

The parade and march made its way down The Strand.

Though rain was falling, it did not dampen the spirits of the Townsville people who turned out in their droves for the Anzac Day Dawn Service at 5.30am and the parade/march along the scenic Strand that commenced at 9am.

As current and ex-servicepeople marched, an estimated 30,000 men, women and children lined The Strand right next to the azure Coral Sea and golden beach, with Magnetic Island eight nautical miles away in the background.

“As a proud garrison city, Townsville is home to thousands of current and ex-servicepeople. Anzac Day is a day for us to reflect on the sacrifice that the members of our military have made in the years that have passed and the commitment they have made to our country into the future,” said Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill.

“Council has worked closely with the Townsville RSL Sub-Branch and the Thuringowa RSL Sub-Branch to deliver this year’s Anzac Day commemorations, paying respect to those who have lost their lives in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations.”

Trucks were also an integral part of the parade and on show was a restored fire engine, a state of the art RAAF aviation fire and rescue vehicle, army vehicles and a flashy yellow Isuzu light rig used by the rural fire service.

The old restored fire engine in the parade.

Henry had been inducted into the Million Miler Club by the now defunct national magazine Truckin’ Life.

Known as the “Honest Woodman”, Alex was born in 1915 and died aged 87 during 2002. He wanted to keep Henry in the family.

Since 2002 Henry has been located at Abermain in NSW, where it has lovingly been restored by Alex’s grandson – also named Alex Cameron.

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