At just 22, Able Seaman Robert Filmer spent his time diving into murky waters in search of bombs placed under ships by enemy forces. Robert had the immense responsibility of dismantling those bombs between 1965 and 1966 during the Vietnam War.
Originally a butcher from Sydney’s eastern suburbs, Robert followed his cousin’s footsteps and joined the Navy to become a ship’s diver.
“I did an induction course at Rushcutters Bay in Sydney, and they taught me to dive there,” he said.
“We were trained to look for bombs in all conditions, even at night time.”
Robert spent 82 days at sea on HMAS Sydney putting his life on the line to protect his comrades. Now aged 75, Robert is living at Uniting AgeWell’s Noble Park Community with his wife, Pam.
In an initiative by the RSL Victoria, RACV Victoria and Uniting AgeWell, Robert will this year lead the Anzac Day parade in vehicles with other veterans through Melbourne to the Shrine of Remembrance. Significantly, it will be the first time Robert has participated in the parade.
“In the 50 years I have known him he hasn’t marched,” Pam said.
“He got the letter inviting him to be in the parade and I think he has been proud of his service ever since.
“I think he deserved it for what he did.”
Uniting AgeWell supports many veterans who have served Australia at home and overseas.
The aged care organisation commemorates the service of these men and women on Anzac Day with their own events and services at sites across Victoria and Tasmania.