WE WILL REMEMBER: Hervey Bay's Anzac Day march will be lead by the newly formed, female veterans' group 'By the Left' and co-ordinator Roz Robertson says it will remind everyone veterans are both men and women and are old and young.
WE WILL REMEMBER: Hervey Bay's Anzac Day march will be lead by the newly formed, female veterans' group 'By the Left' and co-ordinator Roz Robertson says it will remind everyone veterans are both men and women and are old and young. Valerie Horton

Women are war vets too: Bay march to honour all who serve

IT HAS been 34 years since Roz Robertson joined the navy and still to this day, she is questioned over the medal she wears proudly on her left side each Anzac Day.

This year, she will join a number of other female veterans leading the main march on Anzac Day in an Australian-first.

"People questioning their status has stopped a lot of women from wanting to march," Ms Robertson said.

"If you're wearing medals on behalf of your family, you wear their medals on the right, if they are yours, you wear them on your left but many people think women, or younger veterans get it wrong.

"Medals don't define the fact you're a service person but the perception in our community is if you're wearing a medal, you're a service person."

In October 2017, the Female Veterans and Families forum started a group, By The Left, a group of active and past female veterans.

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With support from the Hervey Bay RSL sub-branch, the women will join together and march in Hervey Bay on Anzac Day.

"We're trying to broaden the perception of what a veteran in society is today," she said.

"The meaning of veteran has changed in recent years and it's gone from being a person who has served and come back from war to now being anyone who has served or is serving whether they've been to a war zone or not.

"There's a lot of young men who are questioned about their medals and this sort of march shows our veterans come in many forms."

It was in 1984 when Ms Robertson joined the Royal Australian Navy as a leading hand electrical fitter.

She was discharged after giving birth to her second daughter in 1996.

That same daughter, Celine Lang, now 22, went on to join the navy as a seaman medic.

With many past family members a part of the navy and army, Ms Robertson said she was proud of the younger generations raising their hand to serve their country.

"I know the issues I had to deal with in the navy and I want it to be much better for her and the young men as well," she said.

"I would really love it if as many people came along as possible to the march on Anzac Day to show their support."

For more information visit Facebook at facebook.com/ByThe Left/.


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