Banner day for veterans’ group

November 18, 2022 BY

Meaningful: Sam McGowan, Tim Hughan, Bill McIlrath, Peter Swandale, Glenn Ludeman and Tim Armstrong with the donated banner. Photo: STEVE WOMERSLEY

A BANNER used by former Australian military personnel who served with the armed forces following the end of the Vietnam War was donated to the Bendigo Military Museum last Saturday.

The standard was used by members a group known as the Post 1975 Veterans Central Victoria and comes following a name change to the more inclusive Central Victorian Veterans.

“This banner was used for many years to acknowledge post ’75 veterans,” said Peter Swandale, group member and Bendigo District RSL Sub-Branch president.

“Young and old veterans have march behind it. It’s a symbol of who they belong to, recognition of who they are.

“It’s been an important banner for many years. We wanted to acknowledge the symbol of that banner and hence why we gave it to the museum.”

The banner was primarily used by group members at events like Anzac Day and Remembrance Day and represented all branches of the military, army, navy and air force.

Unlike veterans of larger conflicts, who would often march behind their unit or battalion banners, military personnel who served in more recent conflicts can lack that opportunity.

“I’m one of them,” said Mr Swandale. “The majority of the operations I served on I was with by myself. You’re plucked out of your unit and you are sent overseas.

“The banner is a symbol of group of veterans who were pulled from their units, and they marched behind it as an acknowledgment of their service.

“I never got a welcome home parade. It’s a symbol to me and many veterans that that banner is who we are.”

However, the banner is more than a visible representation of the now Central Victorian Veterans, it tells the story of the support and belonging the group offers.

“The actual group, the Post 1975 Veterans Central Victoria is a support group,” Mr Swandale said.

“That banner represents a group of veterans have come together to support each other.”