ANZAC legend lives on at RACQ
History was today recreated at the ANZAC Day march when more than 30 RACQ volunteers transported returned servicemen and women through the streets of Brisbane, 104 years after it first occurred.
The State’s peak motoring body said it was proud of its long history of supporting returned veterans, which began in 1914 when Club volunteers helped ferry wounded soldiers from the train station and port up to the Kangaroo Point Military Hospital.
RACQ CEO Assistance Glenn Toms said it was an honour to recreate that duty at the 2018 ANZAC Day Parade, when servicemen and women travelled in golf buggies through Brisbane today.
“We’re commemorating more than 100 years of history here, and thankfully, instead of taking these brave Australians to hospital, we’re honoured to be taking them through the streets of Brisbane,” Mr Toms said.
Mr Toms said the Automobile Club of Queensland (ACQ) members, as it was known in 1914, started the Returned Soldiers Transport Corps program (RSTC) to contribute to the war effort, and would have been happy to see the tradition recreated.
“A total of 30 RACQ volunteers turned up to help out this ANZAC Day, but it’s a small price for the sacrifice that our Diggers made at Gallipoli, and in every conflict since,” he said.
Glenn Toms said during the First World War the RSTC service was so successful it was decided to create a separate Club offshoot to co-ordinate it.
“By 1918 the RSTC was born, and over the course of the Great War thousands of soldiers were transported in members’ cars,” he said
“It sparked a long legacy of companionship and helping others, and this community minded spirit lives on within the Club to this day, and we’re proud of that.”
Mr Toms said the efforts of the Club’s founding members helped shaped the RACQ of today.
“In 1921 His Majesty King George V awarded the ACQ the use of the “Royal” prefix for its patriotic service during World War One, and thus, the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland was born,” he said.
Former Women’s Auxiliary Australian Airforce (WAAAF) servicewoman Maureen Souter said the ANZAC Day Parade each year gave her the opportunity to honour those she served with in the 1960’s.
“We were some of the first women to join the Airforce in the WAAAF and remembering those ladies I served with is something I look forward to very year on ANZAC Day,” Mrs Souter said.
Mrs Souter was ferried by RACQ Volunteer Craig English who said he had a special and personal connection to Australia’s Defence history.
“I served in the Army for 14 years in East Timor and in Cambodia, so I truly understand that ANZAC day is the most important day on the calendar for returned servicemen and women and I’m proud to be volunteering my time,” Mr English said.