Centenarian celebrates milestone with rescuers
World War II veteran David Shannon had a particularly special surprise on his 100th birthday.
Mr Shannon celebrated his milestone on February 4 with two of the soldiers who came to his rescue during the Townsville floods of February 2019.
Mr Shannon’s 100th birthday coincided with the second anniversary of his rescue from the rising floodwaters.
Lance Bombardier Jarrod Colliss and Gunner Matt Freegard, of the 4th Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery, were deployed on Operation North Queensland Flood Assist in February 2019 and were part of the team that rescued Mr. Shannon from his home.
Mr Shannon remembers the day he was rescued.
“I remember them coming through the door that day and the day after I was rescued, the water in my house was over chest height,” he said.
Mr. Shannon opened birthday cards from the Queen and members of parliament while chatting to the soldiers and friends at his Ozcare Villa Vincent residence.
“I didn’t expect so many people to be here. It’s overwhelming,” Mr Shannon said.
Lance Bombadier Colliss said he was honoured to celebrate such a significant milestone with Mr. Shannon and to present him with an engraved 105mm cartridge case embossed with the 109th Battery coin as well as a regimental flag.
“David was in one of the worst-affected streets in the area and we were lucky to get there in time as the water was rising really quickly,” he said.
“We present cartridge cases to all of our members.
“So this gift makes David part of the regimental family and it’s been awesome to get out here and see that he’s doing so well.”
Gunner Freegard said he enjoyed hearing the stories Mr Shannon shared during their chat.
“David remembered Jarrod and myself, and it’s great to hear him telling us stories about his time in the Royal Air Force and his experience in Egypt,” he said.
Defence deployed 2800 personnel to support the emergency response to the flooding, including a combination of armoured, protected and amphibious capabilities from across the 3rd, 17th and 16th Brigades as well as 1st Division and RAAF elements.
As proud part of the Townsville community, 3rd Brigade units, including soldiers from the 4th Regiment, displayed an unwavering dedication to assist the community through the severe weather event and continued their support after.