Old soldiers never die... They just take up art and produce amazing works. Since retiring many years ago, former British paratrooper David Burns has been turning out highly-detailed military works to commemorate the fallen.
His latest offering, to Geraldton RSL Club members who served in Vietnam, is in the pipeline. David, 73, of Mount Tarcoola, hoped to have it ready by next Monday's Vietnam Veterans Day ceremony, but sometimes schedules just don't work as planned.
"I'd only just recently finished a work honouring the ANZACS in time for ANZAC Day, so to have another one ready in time for this month was just a bit rushed," David said.
The research alone took David more than a month and he estimates the finished product is another three months away. That's understandable, given the planning and detail that goes into each work.
Measuring a metre by a half metre, the works are a cross between art and heraldry, incorporating layered paint and embossing. It's immensely detailed work but is a labour of love for David, who spent more than 10 years in the British Army, serving served in Germany, Cyprus and Libya. An engineer by profession, David now devotes his time to his love of the Military through the Geraldton RSL.
"We only moved to Geraldton a year ago and the club has been really supportive of my work," David said.
Once the Vietnam tribute is finished, David will produce a tribute to the Mid West's aboriginal servicemen and women.
"It's really keeping me busy but I don't mind, as it's a great hobby and it's serving a valuable purpose, with everything going into the club's museum," David said.
The club is likely to have an official unveiling at next year's Vietnam Veterans' Day. Meantime, next Monday's (18 AUG) Dawn Service starts at 7am at the city's War Memorial, outside the club at 46 Chapman Road. Members of the public are invited to attend, with the address to be given by club president Ross Davies, a Vietnam Veteran.