By Rowan Forster
A Pakenham war veteran and one of the last remaining ‘Rats of Tobruk’ will embark on a lap of honour during Anzac Day’s AFL clash between Essendon and Collingwood.
Harry Crick, 98, served Australia for five and a half years during World War II – battling in the notorious Siege of Tobruk, New Guinea Campaign and Battle of Tarakan.
Despite his heroic feats, the Pakenham RSL representative still does his part to give back to the community.
Mr Crick was interviewed by television media on Friday while he was selling commemorative pins in Main Street.
He remained humble when reminded of his accolades and accomplishments.
“There’s not much to it – we don’t want to fight in wars, we just want peace,” he said.
The 98-year-old said he was extremely excited to participate in a lap of honour at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, despite not barracking for either team.
“I’m a Cats man, but it’ll be a great experience and it’ll be on TV,” he said.
For eight long months, Mr Crick lived in the desert trenches of the North African campaign – fighting off German and Italian troops along the frontline through multiple air raids, tank attacks and constant shelling.
He can recall each attack in extraordinary detail, including the sirens of the German Stuka dive-bombers during the 1941 siege.
“They would fly over every afternoon, and the siren made a horrible noise,” he said.
Tobruk’s guardians – made up of about 14,000 Australian soldiers – refused to give in or retreat during the battle.