POIGNANT VISIT: Dianne Melloy is off to Gallipoli for Anzac Day.
POIGNANT VISIT: Dianne Melloy is off to Gallipoli for Anzac Day. john mccutcheon

Diane will walk with late husband in Gallipoli

DIANE Melloy knows her late husband Bob, a soldier in the First World War, will be with her when she sets foot on Gallipoli's Anzac Cove.

Diane was 23 years old when she married Western Front survivor Bob Melloy in Brisbane in 1967.

She described their 46-year age difference as "fabulous".

"We just knew right from the start it was the right thing to do and we were married for 28 years," she said.

Mr Melloy was an original member of the 42nd Battalion and served on the front line at Flanders and on the Somme.

He was injured when a shell exploded near him, the impact parting him from his gas mask.

"Then they sent over the gas," Mrs Melloy said.

After the war, Mr Melloy worked in many jobs but settled in real estate.

His first wife, Violet, with whom he had five children, sadly died. Mr Melloy married Diane 19 years later.

They were together until his death in 1995.

It was while in France she met her second husband, Jacques Follet, a banker who owned a museum in the village of Vieux-Berquin.

"I have a great responsibility, I feel, to honour Bob's comrades," Mrs Melloy said.

"I'm very, very fortunate that I knew quite a few of them. I can see their faces in front of me - I still have the letters they wrote."

Mrs Melloy is the youngest member of a group of 10 widows heading to the peninsula for Anzac Day.

Noting it was impossible to put oneself back in the boots of those soldiers, she used a phrase coined by her grandfather Joseph Lock, who served in the Boer War: "All we can do is read, learn and inwardly digest."


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