Still reporting for Anzac parade duty, 45 years on

Bill South, Warrant Officer Class 1, a veteran of Malaya and Vietnam, has led the dawn parade in...
Bill South, Warrant Officer Class 1, a veteran of Malaya and Vietnam, has led the dawn parade in Invercargill for the past 45 years. PHOTO: GIORDANO STOLLEY
Every year for the past 45 years there has been only one man leading the Anzac dawn parade in Invercargill at the Cenotaph, and that man is Warrant Officer Class 1 Bill South.

The veterans yesterday laid their wreaths at the Cenotaph in Invercargill on his command.

But it was not not a task that the the veteran of Malaya and Vietnam signed up for. It happened by accident.

"The first time I did it, the parade marshal had got the flu and I was roped in.

"Been doing it ever since. They haven't sacked me yet."

WO1 South signed up with the army in 1963 and served in various capacities in the 1st Royal New Zealand Infantry Battalion.

He became a senior weapons instructor and ultimately served in the reserves.

During that time he was posted to Malaya and then on the "Thai border", before serving in Vietnam.

And every year without fail he has attended an Anzac parade, even before he became parade marshal.

"It's a matter of respect for the fellas who paid the supreme sacrifice."

No-one has been appointed yet to replace him at next year's dawn parade.

"They will eventually have to. The body's slowing down and the knees are not what they used to be."

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