Editor honoured to play at service
GRAHAM Broadhead isn't sure exactly how he will feel on Sunday morning when he plays his bagpipes at Sydney's North Head.
But he's happy to be able to say "cheers", in a way, to a man he never knew but one with whom he shares a special connection.
The editor of the Ballina Shire Advocate and member of the Ballina RSL Sub-Branch has been asked to play his pipes at the unveiling of a plaque and opening of a memorial walkway to the Aussies who served in the 7th Division engineers in teh Second World War.
The Governor of NSW, Professor Marie Bashir, will officiate at the event.
Mr Broadhead's great-uncle, Bill Graham, served as an engineer with the 2nd/6th Field Company during the war, but died as a prisoner of war in January, 1945, aged 29.
He is buried at the Labuan war cemetery.
Bill Graham, from Bega, also was a piper and on Sunday Mr Broadhead will play the same pipes that Bill had brought out to Australia in 1938.
"I've always felt there was something in the blood when I started learning the pipes," Mr Broadhead said.
"Bill's brother George kept those pipes for years and years after the war and when they were offered to me when I was aged about 10, I didn't think twice about learning them.
"So I'm sure I will feel pretty emotional on Sunday when I play Bill's pipes.
"To me, it's just a simple way of saying to a bloke I never knew: 'Cheers, mate'."
Bill played the pipes with the 2nd/6th Field Company's pipe band, which called themselves The Scotch Pipers.
Mr Broadhead followed in Bill's footsteps and served in the army for four years as a piper with the 3rd Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment.
Another descendant of a veteran piper, Jim Birss from Scone in the Hunter Valley, will play his pipes with Mr Broadhead.
Mr Broadhead got involved with the ceremony after telling Ballina man Phil Steeles the story of the pipes. Mr Steeles will also be attending.
President of the Seventh Division Engineers' association, Colin Tindall from Casino, is the son of veteran Harold Tindall, who served with the 2nd/5th Field Company.
Col Tindall said it was a "wonderful thing" that the relatives of veterans will be playing the pipes at the service.