Lance Cooke isn't short of a war story to tell when in company.
The 94-year-old will probably be doing just that when he attends an Australian War Memorial event commemorating the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II.
The August 15 fixture includes a televised service at the memorial, followed by a lunch at Parliament House.
Mr Cooke is just one of the surviving veterans the Department of Veteran Affairs is inviting to the event. It will remember the 39,000 servicemen and women who lost their lives, the approximately 30,000 taken as prisoners of war and those who made their contribution in on the home front. The service will be closed to the public to observe coronavirus social distancing rules.
"I'm looking forward to it and I don't know if any of my mates will be there," Mr Cooke said.
"When I passed the course and came out, I was paid sixpence a day, which was a couple pence more than what I was getting," Mr Cooke said.
"After six months of being good, I was made leading air-craftsman and I got another sixpence. I was rich!"
A posting to Central Flying School followed, first at Parkes in NSW and then further north west, in Tamworth, where he worked on Tiger Moths.
But soon Leading Air-craftsman Cooke was posted to Borneo with No. 93 Beaufort Squadron. He was based on Labuan Island off the west coast, working on the Air Force's "workhorses".
"At the end of the war we had a lot of work to do. Many of the planes had to go back to the US and they couldn't navigate over wide stretches of water so our aircraft accompanied them," Mr Cooke said.
"I was on one trip and there was an oil leak. The motor pumped out 20 gallons of oil in one hour. It was lucky I was with a pilot who got us down okay."
He was discharged at the end of 1946. In 1960 Mr Cooke joined the Gunning RSL sub branch and when that folded, transferred to the Goulburn branch.
He was made a life member of the latter, and in 2007 Gunning sub branch awarded him a Meritorious Service Medal.