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Retired Royal Australian Navy Chief Petty Officer Kel Bryant attended Emmerton Park’s Anzac Day service on Monday to reflect on his family’s history. Picture: Ashleigh Force.

Experience. Emmerton Park commemorated Anzac Day with a service on Monday, hearing from a special guest.

Stanley resident and retired Royal Australian Navy Chief Petty Officer Kel Bryant shared what April 25 means to him.

“I go back a long way to when I was just a young boy and I remember my father getting me up early to attend the dawn service,” he said.

Mr Bryant said his father, James Edward “Ted” Bryant, was deployed with the 2/5 Australian General Hospital to Greece in the Second World War.

“My father was captured when the hospital he was working in was overrun. He was a prisoner of war for four years,” he said.

“He never spoke of that time much but I do know that he was very keen for us to know the meaning behind Anzac Day.”

Mr Bryant said his grandfather and great-grandfather were also involved in military operations during the First World War.

His grandfather, Edward William Bryant, enlisted in New South Wales before his great-grandfather, Albert Edward Bryant joined the following day. The pair were both dispatched for France with the 19th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment.

“To me, Anzac Day is getting up early and always going to the dawn service, every year, wherever I am to commemorate the sacrifices my family and other servicemen have made,” Mr Bryant said.

“To think of what my father – and my grandfather and great-grandfather – endured in the prisoner of war camps.

“Or when you’re in the trenches, constantly wet and muddy, surrounded by shells and fighting hand to hand, it’s kill or be killed.”

Mr Bryant’s own Australian Defence Force career has spanned more than four decades.

Joining the Royal Australian Navy at the age of 15 out of Tamworth, New South Wales he studied engineering before boarding HMAS Vendetta in 1974.

Retiring last year, Mr Bryant continues to work as a recruitment officer

“I always remember coming back home and talking to my school mates,” he said reflecting on his career.

“At the age of 17 I had already been halfway around the world with the Navy.

“It has been a fantastic life, a career which I have thoroughly enjoyed.”

Emmerton Park’s Anzac Day service also welcomed guests in Circular Head RSL Sub Branch president Jason Chatwin, Circular Head Christian School captains Kurtis Maher and Jessica Hutton, reverend Lorna Crole and bugler Barry Smith.

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