108-year-old veteran leads Christchurch's Anzac parade

For those who fought for the allies, reaching Anzac day each year is a feat in itself and it's especially the case for two returned servicemen in their centenarian years.

At 108-years-old Bill Mitchell has attended many Anzac Day services. This year he led Christchurch's parade.

"I never thought I'd ever reach it, [Anzac Day 2021] but I did, and I don't think I'd like another one," he says. 

For the World War Two veteran who served in the Air Force's engineering service in the Pacific, it was an early start: "It went good this morning, but god it was cold." 

In the warm at the RSA, he reveals the secret to a long life is garlic and rum.

Up north in Auckland's Glenfield, there was no booze, just "tea and a piece of toast if you're lucky" according to Bruce Powell.

It's the last year 102-year-old Powell will be organising this event which he started in 1997.

He says it's "special because it's people, it's for the people, by the people".

Bruce served in the British army in three campaigns, but was saved by lucky timing, and antibiotics: "I missed the fighting in France, and I was saved by M&B 693, and I missed the torpedos." 

He'd never seen a tank before joining the forces, but his first job was to repair them.

"I stopped at the first tank, and they said 'well do you know anything about putting tracks back on?' and I said no I'm willing to learn," he laughs. 

His can-do attitude has helped create the success that is the Glenfield service today.

While this April 25 could be the last one he marches in, he says if he's in a wheelchair next year he'll gladly attend.