For many World War II Veterans the ANZAC Day March is over

David Trist’s handwritten contact cards for the WWII Veterans who were members of the 15th Australian Infantry Brigade NSW Association. The large stack of contact cards on the right are the deceased, and the two cards in the other stack are the living.

Every year for 60 years David Trist would call around all his World War II veteran mates from the 58th/59th and 57th/60th Battalions of the 15th Brigade to organise their participation in the annual ANZAC Day March, and a big lunch afterwards at a nearby club.

David was the secretary of the 15th Australian Infantry Brigade NSW Association. So contacting all the members for the annual ANZAC Day March reunion event was his job.

“Call me David”

He insists on first meeting — “call me David”, with a smile. An accompanying dismissive wave of his hand clearly spelt out “don’t be ridiculous” when I start our conversation by addressing him as Mr. Trist. You’d think your best bet going in cold was Mr. Trist, given he is a 91 year old World War II Veteran who served with the 58th/59th Battalion, 15th Australian Infantry Brigade.

If ever there was a Mr. Anybody, Mr. David Trist is that man.

Partly but certainly not only because we are inexorably running out of his generation. His generation did a lot to shape the character, and identity of Australia.

So in my heart it was “Mr. Trist” all the way, while outwardly it was a conversation with David - the 91 year old World War II Veteran, who subsequently managed a suburban bank branch for four decades, helping individuals and small business owners reach their goals. At a time when your relationship with your bank manager was personal.

Mr. David Trist

Handwritten Contact Cards for the 15th Australian Infantry Brigade NSW Association Members

David motioned “you might want to see this” and retrieved two piles of handwritten contact cards. Old school, no CRM here, and rightly so.

15th Australian Infantry Brigade NSW Association member contact cards. Deceased on the left, living on the right.

It wasn’t immediately apparent to me why there were two bundles of old contact cards with his handwriting. Or why there was only a couple of cards in one bundle.

David knew the story of these two bundles of contact cards would tell itself.

He didn’t speak, he just smiled while waiting for me to notice the largest outsized bundle of contact cards had a sticky note clipped to it with a single underlined word “deceased”.

Every year the 15th Brigade Association member’s “deceased” contact cards stack grows, as the “living” contact cards stack grows smaller.

There are now just 2 contact cards in the “living” stack.

Contact cards. Used to organise World War II Veteran Annual ANZAC Day March Event held every year. The small pile are the current living.
The 15th Brigade never lost a battle.
David is most proud of his Infantry medal. He fondly refers to the infantry as PBI — “poor bloody infantry”

ANZAC Day 2016 is upon us

ANZAC Day — 25th April 2016 is upon us. It is difficult to exaggerate the importance and reverence afforded ANZAC Day here. Remembrance matters to us, and we know ANZAC’s significance won’t diminish over time. We won’t let it.

David Trist’s 15th Brigade Association member contact cards are a compelling story, containing many stories — of lives we remember this ANZAC Day.