John Atkinson: Anzac Day tragedy as World War II veteran dies on way to dawn service

The Nightly
1 Min Read
A World War II veteran has died on his way to his local dawn service.
A World War II veteran has died on his way to his local dawn service. Credit: Bianca De March/Getty Images

A World War II veteran has tragically died while making his way to his local dawn service.

South Australian local newspaper the Yorke Peninsula Country Times reported that Port Broughton veteran John Atkinson fell off his gopher on his way to the service.

His son Russell told the Times that passers-by helped him to get back onto his gopher, but he fell again. An ambulance was called but despite the paramedics’ best efforts he died at the scene.

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“He was very much looking forward to taking part in the dawn service, and later leading the local march from the RSL, as he has done many times before,” Mr Atkinson said.

“He was so independent and resilient.”

According to the Times, Mr Atkinson enlisted as soon as he could after turning 18 in September 1943.

He served as a transport driver in the Pacific with the RAAF.

Heartbreakingly, the local paper featured the veteran on its front page on Tuesday.

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The front page of The Nightly for 17-05-2024

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