Anzac Spirit through rain, hail or shine for ex-serviceman

This Anzac Day why not show your respects by getting up early and heading to a dawn service?
This Anzac Day why not show your respects by getting up early and heading to a dawn service? Renee Pilcher

PAUL Collis might be working this Anzac Day, but he still holds the national day of respect close to his heart.

Collis is an ex-serviceman, he was in the army for about nine years and in that time as a freight handler or "glorified wharfie" he circumnavigated Australia.

Always interested in transport, it seemed destiny was set to repeat itself as Collis' dad was a truck driver and now he is too.

"I grew up with it," he told Big Rigs.

The Collis family came out from England when he was six, but he has been naturalised and he has called himself Australian for many years.

As an interstate truckie he traded trips on the HMAS Tobruk for the cab of his Kenworth K200 which he drives for Western Freight Services from Adelaide in SA to Buronga in NSW.

Anzac Day for Collis is a time to pay respects.

"It's a time to reflect on all the people in the past that have lost their lives serving this county," he said.

No matter where he is he tries to get to a dawn service every year, rain, hail or shine.

He has worked on Anzac Day in the past.

Where I can I like to get to a dawn service to pay my respects.  A couple of times I've been out in the middle of nowhere.  A couple of times I've been in small rural towns and stopped in for the dawn service. 

For Collis the Dawn Service was when all the old ex-service men went to pay their respects.

"Back in the day I used to march through Brisbane when I was up there and go to an RSL where the old guys would buy you a drink."

He said Anzac Day was more significant as he had served in the Army.

"Unless you've been in there or those that are close to you, a lot of main streamers will take it for granted.

"You give up a fair bit.  I was married with two kids and I missed a lot of moments."

Although Collis never saw any active service in the 80s, when he was in the Army, he was often away on Navy vessels taking care of freight that was coming and going from Australia. 

"I sailed across to New Zealand in '84 on the HMAS Tobruk, when the New Zealand Army took delivery of a heap of Mercedes Benz Unimogs. "

He urges people to get up early this Anzac Day, out of respect, and go to a dawn service.

What will you be doing this Anzac Day?

This poll ended on 27 April 2013.

Current Results

Heading to a dawn service.


Going to a service.


Watching the parade at home.




None of the above.


This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Topics:  anzac day dawn service truck driver

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