Although Warrant Officer Class One (WO1) Allan Ryan, of 2/14 Light Horse Regiment, wasn’t born in Lismore, NSW, he is heading to his “hometown” for Anzac Day to spend it with his partner and ex-Army mates as part of a new initiative.
He is one of many soldiers taking advantage of the program sending soldiers to their hometowns to share the special occasion with family and friends.
WO1 Ryan fell in love with the Lismore community after posting there in 2013 as the quartermaster at 41 Royal NSW Regiment.
“I just liked the place. It's a country town and it's a great place to live.”
WO1 Ryan connected with the locals immediately due to the strong veteran community and sense of pride for those who serve. His family even continued to live there while he worked at Gallipoli Barracks, Brisbane.
“I have my partner in Lismore, as well as a lot of retired soldiers that live that way, some of them who have only retired in the past few years who I’m still good friends with,” he said.
“[Anzac Day] is the only day of the year we really get to catch up.”
WO1 Ryan has served many years in the Army and said it was important to be able to spend Anzac Day at home.
“It’s a time to reflect on not only my service but the service of my friends, and those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice, learning about the history of how we came about,” he said.
“It’s a very special day for a lot of people and it’s the only day of the year that we can get together and celebrate something that’s a common cause for a lot of people.
“My family and friends are happy that I’ll be home for it this year. It gives them a tangible link, my current service and the past service of others.”
This Anzac Day, around 120 Army soldiers will return to regional home towns around Australia to represent Army in uniform for Anzac Day Dawn Services and parades.