Alec Skelson reveals the story behind his unique tribute to fallen soldiers
He moved a crowd to tears at the Caboolture Remembrance Day Service when he poured a bottle of brandy on to the grass beside him in silent tribute to the fallen.
Yet it has been the community’s response to the Herald’s story about his tribute that has moved Alec Skelson to tears.
“I just could not believe that people could be so kind, that they cared so much” Mr Skelson said.
The 76-year-old veteran, of Burpengary, fought with the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry in Borneo and Brunei, a British protectorate, with the British Army after World War II.
He moved to Australia in 1968 and served 10 years with the army reserve.
But he said it was his father Albert and his brother George’s contribution in World War II, as well as the mates he fought beside, that prompted Mr Skelson’s return to the Caboolture Remembrance Day and Anzac Day services year on year.
“My father came back with one leg shorter than the other. My brother was captured in Burma and spent time in a Japanese camp building a railroad … he came back with malaria.”
At each service, Mr Skelson takes a sip of brandy before pouring the remainder on the ground, despite rarely touching alcohol himself.
He also lays down poppies as well as a poem, after turning to writing to cope with post traumatic stress.
This year he was running late and forgot the poem. We’ve published it below:
Lo! I walk upon the sand,
No footprints in my wake,
Did I then just this journey make?
This wine upon the earth I pour,
To wet the lips of those who passed before,
Afore I crush the pearls of dew upon the grass,
I downturn an empty glass!
“Last Post” adorns my ears,
As my soul doth fade away,
Yet, in another tomorrow,
At “Reveille” I shall again awake!
Source: Quest News