EACH Anzac Day the nation pauses to honour the men and women who gave life and limb serving their country.
Ararat has established Soliders Memorial Park and the war memorial within it to keep their names and actions bright in our collective memories.
But one group of soldiers is still pushing for recognition - something the Ararat RSL is giving after it recently erected a plaque to honour their unique contribution to World War II.
The British Commonwealth Occupation Forces were comprised of soldiers from India, Britain, New Zealand and Australia and served in the repatriation and disarmament of Japan.
The Australian component arrived in 1946 and enforced the terms of Japan's unconditional surrender.
Despite their service these veterans have not received medals and do not qualify for a service pension.
Kevin Cordell, a 92-year-old veteran, is living in Bendigo and served with the BCOF in radioactive Hiroshima from 1946 to 1948.
He is also the president of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (Japan) Association of Australia, which approached the Ararat RSL to ask about putting a plaque up.
He says that no one seems to know what he is talking about when he brings up his service - including staff at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Mr Cordell said that he had been repeatedly knocked back for the service pension.
"No one recognizes anything we've done," he said. "If it happened now we'd be heroes. We'd get all the medals in the world."
The department lists the following in its conditions to qualify for the pension:
'For World War 2 service this means you must have served during the period of hostilities and incurred danger from hostile forces of the enemy. You may also have qualifying service if you were involved in mine-sweeping and bomb clearance operations after the war.'
"I get a disability pension now. I've been lucky because I've only had skin cancer," Mr Cordell said.
"About 85 per cent of our blokes have died of cancer and the government wouldn't recognise it until last year, when they decided to give a gold card to people who had served in a radioactive area."
A gold card entitles the bearer to free access to both public and private health services.
"They (the department) reckon we didn't face the enemy," Mr Cordell said. "I tell you what, if they weren't our enemies they weren't our friends either.
"We had an average age of 45," Mr Cordell said. "I remember the president of our club saying he was a professional mourner.
"But they've been denying it's radioactive for 75 years. Look at Chernobyl - you still can't go there. We were only 17 and 18 (years old) and we had no idea we were going to Hiroshima."
Mr Cordell remembers clearly what they found when they arrived at Hiroshima.
"We couldn't believe the smell that was there," he said.
"They sent me about two or three miles out ... where we repatriated a lot of the Japanese POWs. Those poor buggers came home and there was no city, no home and no family.
"I think the thing that saved us was they were starving. They had eaten all the animals at the zoo and then we fed them. There was no food anywhere. You might see a butcher but his shop was in the gutter. There he was, carving up meat on the side of the footpath.
"All in all it wasn't a great place to be."
Ararat RSL president Frank Neulist said it was common for the focus of Remembrance Day and other efforts at honouring the armed forces to focus on the conflict itself, but the BCOF made just as significant a contribution.
"People didn't give a lot of thought to it because the war was finished," he said.
"The focus is always on the war aspects - the battles and the theatres of war and the soldiers, but the end of the war ... it probably doesn't get as much publicity as it should.
"Most of them did their bit as far as the war against Japan went, and when their job was done a lot of them were put on ships and sent to Korea.
"So as far as our RSL goes, we were quite happy to have the plaque erected and have the ceremony.
"We listened to some of thestories from some wonderful old chaps."
The plaque has been erected at the start of the beginning of the Memorial Walk behind the cenotaph.
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