Not many men join the Army thinking that they will deliver a baby in the midst of a ferocious battle in Italy.
Nor do many young men set off to sail the seas and return the pilot to a newly built landing ship, tank.
Or learn to fly a Tiger Moth on a tiny airfield in rural New Zealand, only to become part of a squadron in Bomber Command.
These are the stories of our residents who have served our countries in the armed forces during times of conflict.
The dreams and enthusiasm of the young were theirs as they were grasped by the thrill of travelling to far-away countries, sometimes buoyed along by a few beers with their cobbers before they arrived at the office to sign up.
Other were already experiencing the destruction of their homes and separation of families first-hand and felt a duty to ‘do their bit,’ to save their homeland.
But most of those young men and women leaving our peaceful shores, had no understanding of what war would really be like. And how could they?
As we compile the Ryman Stories of Valour book for its fifth edition, new memories and wars closer to our homeland enter the pages. Korea, The Malayan Emergency, and the Vietnam war are all remembered by our residents.
Code-crackers recall how their lives were changed in New Zealand and England, nurses, farmers and accountants are all part of our Ryman community who have served us so selflessly and answered the call of duty when it was required.
All of them have stories to tell.
Some of the memories have been held onto tightly for many years, some of the participants have been supported in telling their stories by family. There have been tears and there has been laughter.
For some it is the first time they have ever spoken of their experiences, but they wanted to do it now.
For some the wounds will never fully heal.
All have had their lives interrupted by conflict.
In the spirit of the Anzacs, these brave men and women sacrificed what should have been the best years of their lives and replaced them with obligation and duty.
One thing shone through above everything else – loyalty. To their country and to their mates, the camaraderie that was built during battle was like no other.
We thank all the participants who shared their memories to create this book and we thank all our residents who served in so many ways contributing to the freedom we enjoy today.